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October 21 2021 10:06 PM ˚

Brazilian jiu-jitsu’s rise in Jordan

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Jiu-jitsu master Samy Al-Jamal is pictured at his gym in Amman on Saturday. (Photo: Yaman Al-Helo/Jordan News)
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AMMAN — For many years, Brazilian jiu-jitsu was a little-known martial art. If you knew anything about the sport in the early 1990s, it was usually through word of mouth.اضافة اعلان

However, Brazilian jiu-jitsu was quietly gaining traction in basements and garages while other martial arts were experiencing their glory. Because of its efficient use of leverage, joint locks, and chokes, it stood out among striking-centric martial arts at the time.

The sports deepest roots trace back to Japan in the early 16th century; in 1908, the first of many Japanese jiu-jitsu instructors arrived in Brazil to teach military cadets.

These instructors traveled across the country, giving demonstrations and hosting competitions.

Master in jiu-jitsu Samy Al-Jamal spent 30 years in Brazil before returning to the Middle East and settling in Jordan.

Because it is customary in Arabic culture for the oldest son to remain close to his parents, Samy decided to follow his parents and relocate to Jordan, where he founded the first martial arts academy to teach the sport in Jordan — Source MMA — with his business partner Tarek Kalimat in 2006.

Jamal paved the way for tens of jiu-jitsu gyms in the region. He told Jordan News, in an interview, that the sport’s rising popularity is the dedication it requires and the lessons it teaches that carry over into everyday life.

“In jiu-jitsu we still appreciate the values that are still very much appreciated in the Jordanian community, it’s a fact that we are a small country but with a lot of potential, and I can still remember when I arrived from Brazil; I had a very difficult time when it came to the strength of my opponents even when I was supposed to have the upper hand,” Jamal said.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is notoriously grinding, often requiring 10 years of dedication to reach the level of black belt: a status that can be achieved in under three years in other martial arts. It repeatedly forces you to accept your losses and learn from your mistakes if you wish to progress.

The time it takes to earn a black belt is often compared to completing a doctorate.

The journey is perfect for people looking to challenge themselves with its long term, measurable goals, and that’s how the sport differs itself from other martial arts in truly being a lifestyle.

Being a technique-based sport that relies heavily on processing a lot of moves in seconds, helps adults who decide to start late, as this is almost impossible in other martial arts that require a very young in order to master.

“We have classes that teach three and thirty year olds, which take place every day in the gym for both genders; it’s almost a 50-50 ratio in a lot of classes, and you don’t see that in other martial arts,” Jamal added.

Jamal has also given free classes to the less fortunate, with instructors coaching several students at highly reduced fees. Through these efforts, he was able to open Palestine’s first MMA and jiu-jitsu academy.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu “embraces those who put in the effort, while other martial arts have turned into a totally competition-based sports and the lost art in winning,” Jamal said.

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