BENGALURU : It’s one thing to arm yourself with enough research material to interview a martial artist, and quite another to land there absolutely unprepared for what follows the usual handshake. Brazilian jiu-jitsu champion Yuri Simoes causally takes the hand offered, and flings this reporter to the ground, not once, but thrice. The right connect made, Simoes goes on to talk about the ancient link that the sport has with India, and what makes it different from other global combat techniques.
Jiu-jitsu, which has been part of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) for centuries, seemingly had its origin in India during the time of Buddha in the 6th century BC, pointed out Simoes, who was in town for a workshop to guide about 40 skilled Indian jiu-jitsu practitioners. “Jitsu is quite unique when compared to other martial art forms like taekwondo, judo or karate.
It trains an individual to focus on grabbing the opponent by their leg or back, and then grapple them on the ground,” the 28-year-old fighter explained, adding that the bouts involve opponents attacking each other with all possible moves, until one of them is drained in the fight. “Major injuries are very rare in this sport, as you are not directly punching, kicking or thrashing the opponent, but you are numbing them with your strength, mind and pace,” he added, talking about how jiu-jitsu is part of the syllabus for schools students in Brazil, so interested youngsters can grasp the self defence technique.
Agreed Rohit Vasudevan, owner and head instructor, Institute of Jiu-Jitsu Bengaluru, as he said, “This form of martial art is the most sorted form of grappling, as it involves immense discipline and tactics.” Added assistant head instructor, John Fernandes, “Simoes is in India for the first time, and we aim to learn more from him, so we can further impart the skills as trainers to aspiring Jitsu fighters in the city.”
According to Vasudevan, age is no bar for practising this martial art form. “However, unlike karate or judo, people here are less aware of jiu-jitsu, and parents are often hesitant to enroll their children in classes. Yes, it involves immense stamina and moves like locking or choking the opponent in a position, but that is the knack,” he admitted.