Courtesy of Angelica Carter
When people think of the words “martial arts,” they often think of karate. Less well-known is jiu-jitsu, a difficult sport which takes years to master. It’s also something sophomore Nora Wells has become increasingly fond of after joining the Aegis jiu-jitsu team in Charlottesville.
There are many types of jiu-jitsu, including Brazillian, classic, and black belt. Wells participates in classic jiu-jitsu, which comes from Japan and can be originally traced back to India thousands of years ago. Associated with Buddhism, jiu-jitsu was the battlefield art of the Japanese samurai, who used it as a method of defense against the Mongols.
Karate generally deals with self-defense from a standing position. In contrast, jiu-jitsu focuses on ground self-defense, meaning they fight on their backs. It also teaches a smaller, weaker opponent to defeat a bigger, stronger opponent by use of technique, leverage, and joint manipulation.
One reason that Wells got into jiu-jitsu is because of her family. “We all have been in or done wrestling. You can consider us a wrestling family,” said Wells. Her brother, Luke, has been wrestling for three years and her younger brother, Jackson, has been wrestling since he was six. Wells’s father also wrestled while he was in high school. She is the first in her family to participate in jiu-jitsu. So far she is very engaged and excited to continue and thrive in the sport, and has even considered teaching it when she is older.
In addition to participating in jiu-jitsu, Wells recently joined a wrestling team in Powhatan. They play all over the country, but mostly in Virginia and Philadelphia.
Regular practice at Aegis involves stretching and getting muscles ready for a day of work. Students practice two-three times a week for a couple of hours. They usually learn three new moves a practice. Wells feels like her two sports mesh well. “I feel like now that I am in wrestling, I am overall better in jiu-jitsu. My skills, patience and all,” she said.