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Some commonly asked questions regarding UMBC Jujitsu:

General Questions
What is Jujitsu?
Why is Jujitsu useful?
Which martial art is better?
Will I get hurt?
Will I have to fight or spar anyone?
Who teaches this class?
Is there any religious involvement or ceremonies?
I've seen Brazilian Jujitsu on TV. Is that what you do?
What belts are there?
How do you get your belts?
What is an average practice like?
What does it cost?
Do I have to wear a uniform(gi) to come to practice??
Where do you practice?
When are practices held?
Can I just show up anytime?

What is Jujitsu?

In brief, Jujitsu is a Japanese martial art containing a wide variety of techniques. These techniques include joint locks, throws, ground techniques, chokes, and some limited strikes.


Why is Jujitsu useful?

Jujitsu is an extremely useful and versatile martial art with the noteable aspect that it has a wide range of control. What is meant is that the practitioner can choose the level of engagement including:

Because of this wide variety, special emphasis is placed on the ability of the practitioner to discern what is a proper level of engagement. For example, dealing with a friend who is drunk and disorderly requires a different response than two violent attackers trying to choke you.
Jujitsu is a preferred tool in teaching self-defense to teachers in problem schools, nurses, police, and a variety of other common settings.


Which martial art is better?

Although some may argue, it is generally accepted that there is no 'best' martial art. However, there are many factors which may make a martial art better for you. Different people, body types, fitness levels and (significantly) what you want to get out of the art greatly influences what you may want to take. The following are the webmasters opinions on martial arts, and by no means are absolute truth:

Tae Kwon Do is a Korean based art centered largely around kicking. Techniques are generally standing, including punches, a variety of kicks, and other mostly striking techniques.
Chuck Norris is one of the best known practioners.
I personally believe (again, just opinion) that this is a good art for martial artists seeking to add kicking techniques to their repertoire.

Aikido is a Japanese art which finds some of it's origins in Jujitsu. Aikido is an entirely, 100% defensive martial art. This is why tournaments do not exist for Aikido. Aikido primarily uses joint techniques, leverage, and internal power, or 'ki' to use an opponents attacking energy against them. Aikido is recommended for less aggressive (defensive) people, both men and women, who are able to dedicate some time to the study. Not as suited for sport enthusiasts.


Will I get hurt?

Honestly, although a 'yielding' art, Jujitsu still has a component of danger. As with any sport, the risk posed to any given person depends largely on the preparedness, control, and awareness of all situations. The Jujitsu class keeps safety as a priority, and make sure to use the proper safety equipment as it is necessary. We have available mats, helmets, gloves, foot protection and first aid equipment. Students only do what they are comfortable with.
Having said that, some techniques may stress a joint's range of motion, resulting in pain. To keep this pain from being more than temporary, or possibly injurious, we emphasize the importance of knowing your limitations, and going with the techniques, rather than fighting against them.


Will I have to fight or spar anyone?

As with all techniques, students need only do what they are comfortable with. In order to promote in belt rankings, some sparring may be required. For more information, check out the syllabus for belt promotion requirements.


Who teaches this class?

Our highest ranked teacher is Stephen Sfekas. He is a fourth degree black belt in Budoshin Jujitsu as well as a black belt in Kung Fu. He works as a judge in the Baltimore area, and (in my opinion) is an excellent person to teach martial arts. We also have other black belt teachers that teach the class,including: Ying, Dave Stuart(third degree black belt), Cameron, Russ, and Chris. Generally, once someone becomes a black belt they are allowed to teach and instruct others.


Is there any religious involvement or ceremonies?

Not really. Some Jujitsu may have spiritual or religious ties, but our dojo (school) does not.
As for ceremonies, the beginning of all classes starts by bowing to the sensei (teacher) as a sign of respect, and it is customary to bow as you enter or exit the class. In other situations, it may be proper to bow as well, such as before and after sparring. These are learned along the way.


I've seen Brazilian Jujitsu on TV.

Brazilian Jujitsu (BJJ) is a derived, more specific form of Jujitsu. The concentration of BJJ is ground-fighting. This may look similar to wrestling. BJJ and our Jujitsu have many shared techniques, and we practice groundfighting, but it is not our entire scope, so we can't go quite as far in-depth.


What belts are there?

Our dojo uses white, yellow, green, purple, three degrees of brown, and a black belt.


How do you get your belts?

Upon entering the class, you are automatically a white belt. Approximately 1-2 times per semester, promotions take place. The person testing for promotion must demonstrate certain techniques at a certain level of proficiency. They may also be tested in Self-defense kata (form), sparring, ground-fighting, and randori (grappling) depending on their belt level. For more information, check the syllabus page.


What is an average practice like?

The average practice starts with everyone bowing to the senseis teaching. Then everyone warms up and stretches, following the directions of the head sensei. Once everyone is warmed up and finished stretching, one of the senseis will go to the center of the room and demonstrate a move or technique. Upon seeing how to do the move or technique, everyone breaks into groups of 2-3 people and begin to try what they just learned on eachother. On mondays this is the general schedule. On fridays, half the class is exactly like above, then the other half is open-mat. Open-mat is basically when people get to fight or spar with other people. Occasionaly on fridays we will learn soely about the basics of fighting(punching, fighting stance, fight zones, etc.).


What does it cost?

The class itself is sponsored through the school via the Sport Club Council. (SCC). There is no cost to join. However, if you wish to promote, you must have a 'Gi', which is our martial arts uniform. An average Gi could cost around $60, and will probably last longer than you.


Do I have to wear a uniform(gi) to come to practice?

You do not need to have/wear a uniform(called a gi) to practice, but if you plan on obtaining a higher rank you will need to have one. Generally once you have gone up at least one rank, you are expected to wear your gi and belt to class. However, the only sensei(teacher) who enforces this is Sensei Sfekas who does not teach on fridays. So even if you have gone up a rank, you can either talk to Sensei Sfekas if you do not want to wear a gi, or just come on fridays.


Where do you practice?

We practice in the Retriever Activity Center (RAC) in the Fitness Studio. Go straight past the front desk, past the cardio balcony, and go straight ahead


When are practices held?

Times are subject to change each semester, but for the spring semester of 2012, the times are Mondays at 8:30PM - 10:00PM, Fridays at 7:00pm - 8:45pm, and Saturdays from 12:00PM - 2:00PM.


Can I just show up anytime?

Yes.

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