Emphasizing fitness for both the mind and the body, jujitsu is an ideal sport for Johnnies interested in working their abs as well as their frontal lobe. Colin Lew (A14), a senior from Columbia, Maryland at the Annapolis campus and archon of the jujitsu club, agrees. “Unlike wrestling and other martial arts like aikido, jujitsu is unique because of the special emphasis that is placed on live sparring,” says Lew, who organizes the club’s hour-long practices each week throughout the year. Students of all experience levels study techniques and learn about vital pressure points during practices at Temple Iglehart, the college’s historic gymnasium and unofficial dojo. Guided by books and a background in martial arts, Lew lauds the benefits of sparring as an important part of the learning process. “People can train their creativity by responding to an opponent instead of just repeating the same techniques over and over again,” says Lew.
At St. John’s, all clubs are student-run and beginners are always welcome. “Most students who join the jujitsu club have no prior experience,” says Lew. “It’s tricky starting off, which is something that [new students] should be prepared to experience, but they often end up learning really quickly.” Interested students can join the jujitsu club anytime throughout the year; archons are happy to review the basics for newcomers. “All of the clubs [at St. John’s] are driven by a desire to learn and a desire to teach,” says Lew, who values the combined physical and mental workout that takes place during practices. “People want to share what they know [about a subject] and learn from other people who they recognize know more,” says Lew. He cites this reason as to why the jujitsu club, as well as all clubs at St. John’s, fits with the college’s curriculum. “There’s a great aspect of perseverance to jujitsu because you have to be willing to fail and continue afterward,” says Lew. “[As a group] we practice techniques and figure out what works.”
-By Nutchapol Boonparlit (A14)