For as long as I can recall I have marvelled at the intensity of boxing training. The level of physicality is unprecedented, the level of dedication is unbelievable, the level of discipline similarly beyond belief.
A few years back I recall thinking how much I would like to become involved in this sport – if for no other reason than to embark upon the training regime – alas, my traumatised brain and injured head were vehement in their instructing me otherwise.
Whichever way one perceives it boxing does require a certain ability to take blows to the head.
Happily, I recently stumbled upon a sport offering a way around this: still teaching skill and discipline but without the desire to render an opponent unconscious; still flaunting an insanely vigorous training schedule but without the inherent aspiration to maim; still categorised as one of the pugilistic arts but without the blind aggression integral to its puffy fisted counterpart…
Brazilian jiu jitsu, or BJJ to its friends, retains the fitness, speed, skill and technique of boxing while tactfully sidestepping the hatred/death-wish components – the manifestation of which can usually be witnessed behind respective eyes of the aforementioned pugilists.
Essentially, BJJ is MMA without the octagon. Originally a Japanese martial art jiu jitsu has since been adopted, also mildly adapted, by the people of Brazil, shifting the focus more to a ground fighting, grappling, technique. Since its conception late in the 19th century, descended directly from judo, jiu jitsu has in fact undergone a number of adaptations, primarily to evolve the technique from strictly a martial art into a less intimidating, more approachable and user friendly sport.
As previously mentioned it’s the physicality factor that so enamours me but there are endless other aspects to love about this sport too; ultimately, whatever you’re into, whatever your level of fitness, BJJ is a marvellous way to keep active, build confidence and self esteem while engaging in the camaraderie of a close team environment, and learning some valuable self defence skills at the same time.
With two Christchurch locations, on Wainoni and Annex Roads, it was difficult for me to find an excuse not to attend classes with Axis and, as for the $18 fee, well, this just means I now forego my weekly TAB account top-ups.
I’m genuinely aghast at how seamlessly that became an advertisement.
Article by Tim Walker
Edited by Cho Cut
Photography by C Norris