UVM club hits the mat with Brazilian combat


If you’re looking to get in shape and want to try something new or have a yearning for a new challenge, the UVM Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Club just might be the place for you.

  “Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art that involves grappling and is similar to wrestling,” assistant coach Heather Enyingi said. “The difference is that you can win by gaining points based on positions, in addition to tapping out.”

  UVM alum Chris Owen, who is now a black belt at Boston Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, founded the club team back in the late 1990s. The current team practices at the Combat Fitness Gym in Winooski and is recognized by the SGA.

  “Students from every class are in the club, and there are about 30 of us who are regulars,” team member and junior Chris Johnson said. “There are people of all skill levels in our club.”

  New team members said not to be shy about checking the team out.

  “Everyone is really nice and always willing to help you out,” first year Will Donaway said, who joined this semester and had one summer’s worth of experience beforehand.

  Everyone joins for different reasons. Johnson’s motive was that he simply needed something to do at UVM, and it seemed like a good fit since he had always been interested in combat sports and martial arts.

  The club’s trainer, King James, said it’s not all about the combat, however.

  “It’s a great workout even if you’re not interested in fighting,” James said.

  James said that there is opportunity to take the sport beyond just recreation — they’ve had people from the team go on to compete at the state and national level.

  “The majority of people who join have little to no experience with Jiu-Jitsu and the martial arts,” Enyingi said. “I encourage everyone to come out and give it a try. Combat sports can seem intimidating, but we really do have a lot of fun.”