When Justin Terrell discovered a love for Brazilian Ju Jitsu, he thought nothing of traveling to Brandon two days a week to study under the best. Fabio Novaes, a third-degree black belt who gained notoriety under Marcelo Saporito at the Carlson Gracie Academy in Rio De Janeiro, is a master.
Terrell had prior knowledge of the martial arts and had taken classes in various forms. But his interest had been peaked in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the form he considered to be superior in discipline, strategy and technique.
And under the instruction of Novaes, who is a world champion and Pan Am Champion, Terrell started his school, Nature Coast Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
It began modestly out of a facility in Ridge Manor where Terrell accepted the challenge to start a small group and began instructing based on what he learned from Novaes. A few teens took up the sport and the studio grew slowly.
Four years later, Terrell is celebrating a new move to Brooksville where Nature Coast Brazilian Jiu Jitsu will operate twice a week inside the Aikido School of Self Defense. On Tuesday and Thursday evenings, the facility will instruct only in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as Nature Coast Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
While all martial arts combine discipline, respect, control and mental and physical strategies, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is more focused on groundwork, Terrell said.
“It is basically a grappling art, a lot like wrestling but much more involved technically. In all of the modern day MMA or UFC that you see on television, when they go to the ground, you’re seeing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in action.”
Terrell still drives to Brandon twice a week to train with Novaes then offers instruction on those same evenings at his studio.
“I need to do that because people want to come in and test me,” he said. “I need to be ready.”
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a very physical level of martial arts, he said. While other forms teach the “what if” scenario, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is based on a more realistic situation.
“If I’m faced with a problem it becomes a question of ‘how do I get out of this one?’” Terrell said.
Teams of two will grapple, sometimes for hours, and mentally problem-solve situations to gain leverage over an opponent.
“Leverage is power,” Terrell said.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is also a martial art form that allows smaller opponents to overpower their foes and win a fight because it uses mental strategies and physical techniques.
Other forms of martial arts use striking or hitting, he said.
“This is more about mental and physical strategy,” Terrell said. “We exploit leverage to the max.”
Terrell’s first student, Christian Lisk, began training four years ago when he was 13. Lisk, who is now a blue belt under Fabio Novaes, also helps demonstrate drills to a class of about 10 who attend twice a week for about 45 minutes of grappling after a 30 minute stretching and warm-up session.
Each student who trains under Terrell has his own reason for learning Jiu Jitsu. Most have been with Terrell for years, following him from the old location in Ridge Manor to the new studio on Cortez Blvd., just west of Brooksville. All have embraced the art, dedicating at least two evenings a week to learning new techniques and practicing on their fellow students.
After warming up, the students partner to practice grappling where they problem solve to overpower their opponent. Terrell watches closely, encouraging and coaching each pair on areas that might need adjustments or extra attention.
They are grappling, physically training, and exerting both mental and physical exercise. But they are also having fun.
While Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is fighting, the presentation is all art. Each of Terrell’s students demonstrates a certain ease of movement and grace as they glide through each moment.
But make no mistake, Terrell said, these techniques can help get someone out of a predicament safely and with less injury if faced with the need to fight.
Like all martial arts, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu isn’t about violence. Instead, it teaches awareness and confidence where an advantage is immediately established.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a lifestyle, Terrell said.
“Because it is so physical and so mental, it takes a great deal out of a person,” he said. “It becomes a lifestyle.
“And it promotes confidence without building arrogance by sculpting and reducing the ego into something healthy and not a false ego full of arrogance.”
Email Hernando Today correspondent Kim Dame at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Biz at a Glance
Name: Nature Coast Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Address: 18612 Cortez Blvd.; Brooksville, FL 34601