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In the defensive spirit, Jiu-jitsu can help you

Photo by Evan Glad.

Bradley University is home to a variety of club sports. Perhaps one of the more overlooked of these is the Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and Grappling Club.

Jiu-jitsu is a martial art that primarily focuses on restraining your opponent and completely restricting their movement, essentially trapping or pinning them. This is done through various techniques, such as chokeholds and arm-bars. Successfully pinning someone is known as a ‘submission’ and is required to win a competitive match.

Club president Ashleigh Owens, a junior theatre performance major, contributes much of the club’s importance to the competitive experience.

“In my opinion, it’s really important to have a wide variety of sports,” Owens said. “I’m a really active person, I really enjoy working out. Not everybody does, so having more options for students to be able to get the activity that they need is a great thing to have.”

This fighting style differs from those found within the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Club, which primarily focuses on punching, kicking, blocking, dodging, etc.

Jiu-jitsu Club also differs in that it offers the chance to participate in competitions within the surrounding areas, including Chicago and St. Louis.

Owens also likened the drive to win during a competitive match to the instinct to survive in a life-threatening situation such as an assault or robbery.

“Our club offers both another form of activity for students to do as well as giving students, especially women, protection,” Owens said. “I know how to punch, I know how to kick, I know how to protect myself. And I wouldn’t have known that without jiu-jitsu.”

With fewer members to contribute to the club’s funding, the fewer competitions it can afford to participate in.

Julian Garcia, senior electrical engineering and computing major, as well as an instructor for the club, said he joined the club three years ago alongside a couple of friends who wanted to ‘restart it.’ They introduced the competitive aspect that now serves as the club’s main ideology and selling point.

“I grew up learning jiu-jitsu and martial arts are really a key part of developing into a good human being physically and mentally,” Garcia said. “Jiu-jitsu is really strong to where you’re mentally challenging yourself on thinking what’s going to happen next and what you want to do next … But no matter if you’re big or small, if you can practice a lot, you can be able to take someone down twice your weight and size.”

Those interested in the Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and Grappling Club can contact Owens at The club meets from 4-6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and 12-3:30 p.m. on Friday at Markin.

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