In Hart 210 students are learning jiujitsu, which is a fighting and self-defense style of martial arts that consists of grappling, takedowns, escapes and counters.

According to elite sports, jiujitsu was originally started by Indian Buddhist monks, “… who had to cover long distances alone and were frequently attacked by bandits … Since they were against unnecessary violence, they derived jiu jitsu as an unarmed self-defense measure. Fighting with superior knowledge and control of the body to subdue, rather than kill their opponent.”

The fighting style is specifically designed so that you can do it no matter how big or small you are.

“The original idea of modern Brazilian jiujitsu is a smaller weaker person, can take down a stronger, untrained person,” said Joseph Jaco, a BYU-I student and club administrator. “I’ve taught some of the guys, who are smaller than me how to flip me over, how to submit me, how to attach me and win. So you don’t have to be big and strong — you can be any shape, any size.”

Many members of the on-campus group are female.

“Currently, most of the people at the club are women,” Jaco said. “I think that’s super awesome. I can definitely teach them how to take down a larger untrained guy — 100%.”

At the meetings, men and women can get together, make friends, work out and learn a self-defense style that will protect them from significantly stronger people.

“I would 10 out of 10 recommend jiujitsu,” said Emily Raventos, a junior studying software engineering. “I seriously love it so much.”

Jaco did wrestling in high school. As a kid he loved the power rangers, Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. He was hesitant to try jiujitsu but doesn’t regret his choice to learn.

“I was a little scared,” Jaco said. “It’s a little intimidating. It’s intense, but I’ve learned so much, about myself and about life. It really has helped my mental health, helped my physical health, it’s a great workout. It’s super fun. I made some good friends.”

This club ran continuously, but due to COVID-19 and other complications, the club was discontinued. It has only been a year since it was brought back.

“To my knowledge, last spring is the first time it restarted since COVID,” Jaco said. “A few semesters before that, it was also a club. I think it died out because the leaders weren’t here or something and then COVID happened.”

While resurrecting the group, they had struggles with permissions and getting recognized as an official group. Rachel Gonzalez, one of the main club administrators, spearheaded the effort.

“She (Rachel Gonzalez) got permission to do it in a lounge or in a common room in an apartment complex. So they were meeting there doing it, and then, I think she asked them (the school) permission to start and then once we started, more people started coming.”

Several things are needed to become an official club and be recognized by the school. The school needs proof of student interest, such as the signatures of those who would attend the group. A teacher sponsor is needed. And the activity coordinators must approve the group.

“Administrative approval seems to be the biggest hurdle,” Jaco said. “Once (the clubs) have a plan of how they’re going to do it … the administration and the school leadership are more comfortable. So I think they just need a plan, a direction, and approval, and then we can start doing student-led clubs.”

The Jiu-Jitsu Club wrestled against the odds to create a fun, learning environment for students. For more information and updates on when and where they meet, check out their Facebook page.

“Just come, just try it,” Jaco said. “We can do it at your pace. You can ask all the questions you want. If there is something you’re not comfortable with, you don’t wanna do, don’t feel forced. Just come and learn and we’ll help you.”