UIndy brings Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to campus

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The University of Indianapolis has brought Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to campus, according to University Events. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) is one of the fastest-growing self-defense arts in the world. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a highly effective martial art used in stand-up and ground defense, according to the University Events page. 

This semester is the first year that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu sessions are offered to students and anyone who wants to join, according to Assistant Director and Head Volleyball Coach Jason Reed, who is also a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The martial art involves a person taking down a larger, stronger opponent and neutralizing them, Reed said. There is no kicking or striking and the practice involves all submissions via joints where the other person’s body is in a position that could just prevent them from attacking, according to Reed. 

As part of a campus initiative to provide opportunities for staff and students to get moving and engage in healthy activities, Reed said he and Network & Telecom Technician for Information Technology Michael Smiley were asked to help organize physical activities such as Noon Ball, a midday basketball session on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He said the initiative along with Noon Ball led him to organizing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu sessions with Acting Chief of Police and Director of Campus Safety Brandon Pate.

“I kind of had this same idea of, why don’t we see if we can’t get a group that wants to do some Jiu Jitsu and kind of offer that up to the rest of campus as a wellness initiative,” Reed said. “So I connected with Officer Pate, because I know he trains, and I know that there are people on staff that do Jiu Jitsu, and so it was kind of just, ‘Hey, why don’t we see if we can get together and see if there’s more students that might be interested.’”

According to Pate, sessions are formatted into what is called open mat, which is where there is no class, rather techniques are displayed to people watching and then participants engage in a light rolling session. The rolling session includes people getting into positional moves and getting out and neutralizing the opponent as well as work on competition style training.

“It’s not like a structured cardio style class,” Pate said. “It’s kind of like come together, hang out, show a technique and then just kind of wrestle around and work on the self defense aspect of it.”

Reed said that the perception with martial arts being perceived as violent, like with mixed martial arts, does not show the other side of the arts which involve a technical side to the sport that people do not see often. The mental component of the sport allows for people to be completely present, as opposed to other physical activities where people can disengage mentally, according to Reed.

“It’s you’re trying to solve an ever evolving Rubik’s Cube in terms of another person that’s trying to immobilize something on you,” Reed said.

Sessions are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. in the UIndy wrestling room in the basement of Ruth Lilly Fitness Center, according to University Events.

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