The Binghamton Brazilian Jiu Jitzu Club recently took on a different kind of opponent: cancer.
The club took home 11 medals at the Tap Cancer Out tournament on April 13 in Stratford, Conn.
At the tournament, they were able to beat contenders hailing from certified Jiu Jitsu and mixed martial arts gyms around the country.
Miles Dantes, a senior majoring in psychology, said the competition was a great opportunity to showcase his team’s skills and witness Jiu Jitzu aficionados.
“The coolest team moment was when it was getting towards the end of the tournament and we were looking at the medals and we were just getting so many, and it felt great,” he said.
Unlike other martial arts, Dantes said, Jiu Jitsu takes place mostly on the ground and focuses less on striking, and more on chokes, leg and wrist locks and hyper extension of joints. This enables a smaller, weaker person to successfully defend themself against larger opponents by using leverage techniques.
In addition to testing their talents on the mat, some members said they enjoyed the tournament because it raised money for lymphoma and leukemia research.
“Whenever we travel to compete in tournaments it is always a great experience, especially when the competition for a good cause,” said former club president Jaemin Chang, a graduate student studying business analytics.
According to Jesse Cahill, the club’s secretary and a junior majoring in bioengineering, nearly 20 members of the club attend practice regularly four times each week at the East Gym, and new members are encouraged to join.
“All skill levels are welcomed, no experience is necessary and typically there are men and women at every class,” Cahill said.
Cahill said they would like to expand the scope of the club by raising awareness and competing in more tournaments and scrimmages.
“The club started as one person who knew how to do [Brazilian Jiu Jitsu] at home, and then it evolved from there,” he said. “We’re trying to make it more of a real club with more events, more fundraisers, more competitions and more funding.”
Chang said Jiu Jitsu as a great way to stay in shape and improve both mental and physical health.
“If you have any interest in martial arts, physical wellness or self defense, you owe it to yourself to try it out for free at Binghamton University,” he said.