A Gripping Demonstration
Putnam County residents got a firsthand look at the intricacies and techniques of jiu-jitsu Friday during a demonstration at the Putnam County Library System’s Palatka branch.
Benjamin Goodrich, lead instructor at Palatka Jiu-Jitsu Academy, rolled out the mats to give parents and children lessons on the history of the martial arts practice and the benefits that come from practicing it.
“It is applicable for self-defense or recreational (use) if you want to compete,” Goodrich said. “Because it is grappling, it is very practical. You can assess whether it is going to work or not.”
Goodrich, along with his students, Peirce Browning, 11, and Joe Theobold, taught the crowd a variety of grips, escapes, blocks and more. Goodrich said it is never too late in life to give jiu-jitsu a shot, and the academy also adapts its program through drills for younger children.
“We do a lot of basic drills,
and then those drills just fit into a technique. Even if it is down the line when they hit those drills solidly, it goes into technique,” he said.
Five-year-old Dioan Chaney took part in Friday’s demonstration, blocking soft strikes from Peirce and performing ground maneuvers with a smile on his face. Theobold, principal of Q.I. Roberts Junior-Senior High, said practicing jiu-jitsu can benefit young children in a variety of ways.
“I think it would be great for all kids,” he said. “It is great exercise, it builds confidence and he is going to be learning. So it is going to be building his brain. … As far as (building) self-esteem for kids and the discipline required to do techniques and stay focused, I think it is wonderful.”
Parents and children also got a front-row seat to see Peirce and Theobold spar using maneuvers they have learned from Goodrich. Peirce has been Goodrich’s student for almost two years, and his mother said it has been a positive influence on him.
“For us, it was more about self-defense. He is getting a little older, and he is heading to middle school soon,” Amanda Browning said. “And it is very good exercise and something to help get rid of some energy. He has really enjoyed it.”
Whether one wants to try his or her hand at jiu-jitsu as a form of self-defense or they simply want to try a new physical activity, the martial art will provide lessons through self-discipline, Goodrich said.
“It gives you goals, and you can see if you are getting better or not,” Goodrich said. “It is goal-oriented in such a way that it does put a demand on you.”