There’s more than ‘beating people up’ in it

While two students silently rehearse the previously learned moves, their instructors watch and occasionally call out moves and safety measures until a student taps the other’s shoulder signifying the completion of the submission.With a few simple changes – couches moved to the side, shoes tossed with other personal belongings, and mats laid down – Lewis King and his partner Brandon Brouillette transform the common room of South House into a practice arena for jujitsu.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Brouillette said, adding that people who practice jujitsu “don’t care about beating people up.”

King started practicing jujitsu, a type of martial arts, a year-and-a-half ago while looking for something “different” to do. Since then, he has entered two competitions, which he lost, and is taking a year to hone his skills.

Brouillette similarly stumbled onto it when someone in his town started a similar club. Last year, King and Brouillette would practice together in South House and wanted to broaden the awareness of jujitsu by making it a club at Castleton.

“We can practice our own techniques while expanding knowledge of it,” Brouillette added while warming up on the mat.

While awaiting approval to become a club, they hold informal practices with six members.

“We usually keep the mood light,” King said. “We’re not drill sergeants.”

Practices, in fact, are punctuated by chuckles and laughs at a missed or forgotten step (not to mention a stomach accidentally elbowed).

They begin each practice by having the students go through various positions before moving onto submissions once the students are comfortable with the positions. Slowly, the instructors talk through each step until the students pick up the next step without being told.

“It makes them think until it becomes second nature,” King said.

When new moves are introduced, King and Brouillette show the steps numerous times and then practice one-on-one with a student. When all moves are done correctly, the students practice their new moves on each other, equaling out the playing field. King and Brouillette keep a close eye and emphasize tapping so that no one ends up hurt.

“If she were a normal person, she’d tap,” said Brouillette when Ricky Surmanek was hesitant about hyper extending Yvette Furnia’s flexible arm in Brouillette’s favorite move, the arm bar. Both joined jujitsu practices early this semester.

All emphasized that the appeal is the fact that jujitsu is easy to learn and “anybody could do it.” Brouillette emphasized that it is also practical.

“It’s practical, not like running,” he said. “You get in shape and can apply it to actual self-defense.”

For the two females in the group, that’s the main appeal.

“It’s based on the fact that the little guy can take on a big guy,” Furnia said, “and I’m a little guy.

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