Sean Emery, OCCF co-founder, has been practicing BJJ at CMMA for 2 years, but was commuting to the Alexandria location because it was the closest. “There is no place around here that can fulfil that demand,” he explained of the impetus for the partnership.
BJJ is a form of martial arts that is categorized as submission-style grappling – “think more wrestling than kickboxing…like a live fight with pre-agreed upon safety rules,” offered Emery. ‘Jiu-Jitsu’ translates to ‘gentle art’ and is a martial art that places emphasis on technique and leverage to control an opponent, particularly when a fight is taken to ground. Because of this, BJJ holds that a smaller or weaker opponent can defend themselves against someone larger or stronger.
Capital MMA founder Jeremy Lafreniere has four existing DC/VA locations. He believes that BJJ can benefit anyone and everyone. “Our network of blackbelts can provide instruction and training for BJJ practitioners at all levels,” he said. “The H street location will offer classes that cater to all and encourage students to explore all of the benefits BJJ has to offer.”
“With all the different gym options in DC, it’s exciting to have one that has more options than just lifting weights or doing cardio, a place where you can learn an applicable skill while getting your workout in,” stated John Kerman, who plans to take classes at the new location.
Classes will be 1 hour with the first 30 minutes dedicated to standard self-defense or instruction and technique drilling which entails instructor demonstration followed by people partnering up and practicing. The final 30 minutes will be dedicated to ‘rolling’ which Emery describes as a ‘live fight with pre-agreed upon safety rules’ wherein you attempt to get your partner to tap out via a submission, such as a choke hold, leg lock, joint manipulation, etc.
Those phrases may sound intimidating, but are very safe with proper coaching and pairing.
The community focus of BJJ creates an environment where higher level belts in the five-tiered system help lower level belts. “Experienced BJJ practitioners are responsible for keeping you safe while rolling,” said Emery. “They won’t put on a choke and not know that you should be tapping and because of that, both partners are appropriately matched.”
All members will go through an on-boarding process that will vary depending upon prior experience, to teach people the fundamental basics of BJJ and the mechanisms used to keep them and their sparring partners safe. The location will be lined with mats and have a small space in the back dedicated to personal training.
Fighting your fitness can be fun after all.
Early enrollment is open now and for more information head to: Hstbjj.com
Scarlett Salem, M.S., MPH has written in local publications covering area events and happenings. She enjoys public health, fitness, learning, and all things wellness.