Guest Blogger: Mike Mena of Mena Fitness Training and instructor of all Jiu-Jitsu programs offered at Stow Fitness Center. Contact Mike Mena for more information about Jiu-Jitsu, to register for programs, and explore more.
Aloha, SFC! June 1st is the beginning of my journey to bring Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu programs to the Stow Community. I am proud to begin these classes at Stow Fitness Center that can accommodate all levels of interest and fitness abilities. These programs are accessible for that will strengthen, demand, and develop your body and mind through mental and physical training. Classes are hosted in the Personal Training studio inside Stow Fitness. Stow Fitness Members receive program training discounts.
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What is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) can be described as a mixture of Judo, Greco-Roman Wrestling, and Freestyle Wrestling techniques, mixed with various submission holds. While this may sound intense, BJJ can be practiced with gentleness and controlled flow, like a dance. Despite its appearances, BJJ is not about fighting and brute strength. Rather, it is about strategy, control, and comradery. It is a game of chess played on a mat and practiced over time with your BJJ family.
BJJ traces back to Kodokan Judo, a Japanese martial art, and was introduced to Brazil in 1917 by Mitsuyo Maeda, a traveling Japanese “judoka” (expert in judo). Maeda famously taught the Gracie Family, who were later integral to bringing BJJ to the United States by training military personnel in the early 1970s. The Gracie family began teaching their own students out of their garage in the early 1980s. In 1993, the world saw the power of BJJ over other martial arts with the internationally broadcast Ultimate Fighting Challenge. The rest is history.
Top Five Benefits of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Five commonly cited benefits of BJJ include:
- Self Defense. BJJ has been proven to be one of the most effective self-defense arts. Unlike other self-defense techniques, BJJ focuses on getting your opponent to the ground and controlling or
compromising them with joint locks and chokeholds.
- Self Confidence. Training BJJ can be very empowering for both adults and kids. Having the knowledge that you can defend yourself can help you walk a little taller. Believing in yourself and your abilities leads to a boost in overall self-confidence that can be applied to other areas of your life.
- Increased Attention to Detail. Training BJJ is as much a mental chess game as it is a physical workout. BJJ’s power comes in the small details that are unnoticed by the average person. The more technical control, concentration, and focus you have, the higher the skill you will achieve.
- Coordination. Developing good coordination of your body movements makes everyday tasks easier. Building physical skills through BJJ can carry over into other sports or daily activities.
- Determination. The consistency required to achieve a high level of skill in BJJ can only be developed through self-discipline and determination. Continued practice with your BJJ family allows you to hone your skills over time, learning from each other over the years.
Peter’s ‘Getting Started’ Story
18 months ago, I began with a new student named “Peter.” Peter was in his early 50’s and was looking for something new for exercise. He was tired of just lifting weights and running. In our first session, I introduced Peter to the basic movements of BJJ and a basic, “beginner” sweep. This movement is a reversal of position that results with him on top and me on the bottom. We had a short and light grappling round and Peter said he felt totally confused. He couldn’t comprehend how I was controlling him and reversing his dominant potion to me being on top and dominant. Peter was physically larger than I, outweighing me by 45 pounds and at least 4″ taller.
Peter trained with me 3 – 5 times a week. Through his diligent training, Peter increased his technique, He wanted to develop his ability to dominate physically, as I was able to model with him early in his training. After 3 to 4-months of training, Peter began to have light competitive rounds with other training partners and was thrilled when he found the techniqueswe practiced worked for him. This is the essence of BJJ and what brings people to the mat.
About Mike: Mike Mena is a USBJJF Certified Black Belt and has been involved in sports and martial arts since his youth, training in karate, wrestling, Jeet-Kune Do, and boxing, in addition to competing at an amateur level in mixed martial arts (MMA) and over a dozen Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournaments. Having been raised in Hawaii, Mike is also an avid surfer, surfing all over the Pacific Ocean, including in Fiji, Hawaii, Guam, and throughout California. Email Mike directly to learn more.
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