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Jiu-jitsu the bullies away

Self-defence class teaches kids to diffuse bullies

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It’s almost time to go back to school, and for some kids, it means back to dealing with bullies.

Michael Tavares, owner and head instructor of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Winnipeg, is offering the bullyproof program at his dojo at 827 Cavalier Dr.

Mainly used for self-defence, jiu-jitsu originated in Japan before it was introduced to Brazil. Afterwards, the Brazilians took the sport and put their own spin on it, adjusting the techniques and movements.

In the 1920s, the Gracie brothers learned the jiu-jitsu techniques and later modified them for more effectiveness and ease.

"What made them famous was the way they tested it. They used to have open challenges to anybody," Tavares said.

The bullyproof program originated with the Gracie family.

"They have many, many children," Tavares said. "They had to find some way of training their children."

The Gracies played games with their children. The kids thought they were playing, but they were really learning jiu-jitsu.

The program involves non-violent techniques.

"Instead of punching or kicking, we teach them to use verbal jiu-jitsu," Tavares explained. "If that doesn’t work, if the person is attacking us, we have no choice but to use physical jiu-jitsu."

Physical jiu-jitsu involves bringing the bully to the ground using non-violent techniques. If the bully continues to try to harm the student, the student will apply joint locks to apply pressure until the bully stops fighting back.

"It’s like fighting fire with water instead of fire with fire," Tavares said.

Tavares has taught jiu-jitsu for the past couple of years. He said what attracted him to the sport was how real it was. While he studied and practised many types of martial arts, he found that jiu-jitsu was the most applicable to real-life situations.

"The Gracies’ techniques were proven every single day on the street," Tavares said. "The techniques used are just natural for the body. You don’t have to do a crazy spinning kick. You don’t need to have any great physical strength or athletic ability to do it."

Jaime Torres, father of three kids who all attend Tavares’s dojo, said his son used jiu-jitsu when he was play-fighting with a friend.

"All of a sudden, his friend — taller than him — was sitting on (my son’s) belly," Torres said. "Then I saw him do the counter roll and he ends up on top. It became a jiu-jitsu play.

"It’s just a natural body movement for him. He’s actually applying what he learned."

Kids can try the bullyproof program free of charge for 10 days. For more information, visit graciejiujitsuwinnipeg.com


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