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Get physical and discover the art of self-defence. Jujitsu, meaning 'art of softness' or 'way of yielding', is an umbrella term for many styles of martial arts. A Japanese practice, Jujitsu teaches self defence based on the techniques Samurais used when they found themselves without weapons. As the oldest of the martial arts, Jujitsu isn't just about muscles and aggression. Instead you’ll learn how to use your opponent's energy and strength to your advantage, even if you’re half their size. A great way to keep trim, you’ll soon become a dab hand at protecting yourself from anyone sneaking up on you without so much as breaking a nail.

How does it work?

Jujitsu uses grappling and blocking techniques to use another person's strength against them. There are five main aspects of Jujitsu training:

  • Art of blocking (defence)
  • Art of the Fulcrum throw
  • Art of the Non-fulcrum throw (using little or no contact)
  • Art of escaping
  • Art of striking

The good news is that it's less about strength and fitness and more about timing and mindset, so you can exercise your brain as well as your body. Various techniques such as blocking, punching, kicking, joint locking and throwing (not as painful as it sounds), will keep you fit at the same time as teaching you a fun sport that you can use in real life.

Being such a traditional ritual, there are certain practices in Jujitsu which will be followed in class. After a warm up, students will line up and bow to their instructor before stepping on to a mat. Most classes will then involve falling practice, followed by some new techniques and a cool down. For your first session you'll want to wear loose clothing, or else you might have a few rips and tears and if you decide that the martial art is your cup of tea, you should invest in a Gi - the white suit and its accompanying belt you see the pro’s strutting their stuff in, although you’ll need a new belt each time you advance a level.

Classes can be up to two hours and are usually weekly, but as beginners often mix with the more able, how often you practice is on your terms. You can usually bag a free session to start with and see if the contact sport is right for you.

Is it for me?

Children as young as six can take part in Jujitsu, and it’s perfect for men and women alike. If you'd prefer to exercise in a corner, headphones on and away from others, this martial art is not for you as it’s all about interaction. You don't have to be a fitness fanatic to do it either, and even though it involves a lot of contact, the injury rate is low. Whether you want to know how to protect yourself, learn a new skill or how to fall correctly, Jujitsu is a great way of getting fit, improving your flexibility and boosting your confidence at the same time.

Good to know

Many schools will want you to get insurance - not because you’re likely to break any bones, but just because it’s pretty physical so insuring yourself just in case is probably wise.

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