Brazilian jiu-jitsu is anyone’s game

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is anyone’s game

By Yasemin Pelevan

Docklands is home to the world’s greatest sports. Football, soccer, cricket, ice hockey and now even Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Based at The Hub, Docklands Brazilian jiu-jitsu provides an after-work release for Docklanders.

Director and coach of Docklands’ Brazilian jiu-jitsu Andrew Lai says the sport is anyone’s game.

“It’s a great way to up your fitness while learning useful self-defence techniques,” Andrew said.

BJJ is a popular martial arts form that is effective for its ground fighting technique and grappling.  BJJ is one of the few sports where size does not really matter. It is based on the notion that a smaller person can successfully defend him or herself, and ultimately control a bigger person.

“Being bigger and stronger has an advantage but that can be overcome by technique,” Mr Lai said.

“I train a 45kg guy who beats guys double his size,” he said.

As for the ladies, Andrew says BJJ is the perfect self-defence sport for women. He said that, unlike other self-defence sports, jiu-jitsu did not require as much strength.

BJJ is a sport of technique. Translated from Japanese, jiu-jitsu means “the gentle technique”.

“With the high-level practitioners of BJJ it’s kind of like watching physical poetry. There’s an aesthetic beauty. Their movement and level of technique is amazing,” Mr Lai said.

Docklands BJJ is creating its own elite team of BJJ fighters from regular Docklanders.

Andrew, who works at NAB, opened the Docklands academy for the convenience of office workers.

“Docklands is a good area. It’s very convenient for me, as well as other office workers, to commit to training,” he said.

“There’s a constant stream of competitions throughout the year and we always work on sending teams and being ready."

In the recent Pan Pacific Championships, the biggest regional competition, Docklands BJJ fighters Eddie Sam and Chris Pham brought home gold.

“Doing Brazilian jiu-jitsu is almost like living a dream for a lot of young men. And as a coach it’s great to help people fulfil their dreams,” Andrew said.

“The improvement I see in people in such a short time is just amazing. I have a team and I can coach them to success.”

And success does not necessarily mean winning gold, Andrews says competitions are a great opportunity to test skill but are not the most important part of training.

“While I do value sporting competition as an important aspect of BJJ, I also feel it’s just as important to practise BJJ as a martial art. Our focus is on techniques which are not only applicable for self defence on the street, but are also suitable for competition.”

The next competition is the Melbourne International Open on November 18 and 19, in which the Docklands BJJ fighters hope to compete in.


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