PM360 recently spoke to Jason Marshall, Sr. Associate Director, Marketing, Boehringer Ingelheim, about the gentle art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

PM360: How did you get into Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

Jason Marshall: I learned about jiu-jitsu while watching Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) on TV. It’s a unique style in mixed martial arts that was very effective in some of UFC’s early events. I finally gave it a shot a few years ago when I lived in Philadelphia. I trained at a local jiu-jitsu school there for a few months before we moved up to New York. Now I train at Renzo Gracie Rockland in Nyack, where I’ve been for the last two years. It’s a really great academy.

Jason Marshall (in white) training with black belt Omar Jimenez, who is the lead instructor at Renzo Gracie Rockland.

What is the training like?

It can get pretty heavy. I go in on Tuesday evening and I do two 90-minute classes back-to-back. Then I do that again on Thursday. And I’ll go in once more on Saturday morning for another 90-minute class. In addition to training, I also help to coach the kids’ class, where both of my kids are enrolled. I do that Saturday morning and Monday evening.

What belt are you?

Right now, I’m a blue belt. The order is white, blue, purple, brown, black. Working up to a black belt in jiu-jitsu takes longer than a lot of other martial arts—maybe 10 years or so—it’s a big commitment. So, I’m just at the beginning of this whole thing.

What is it like coaching the kids’ classes as you are still learning yourself?

It’s awesome. It’s a great way for them to build confidence and get some exercise while learning self-defense. It’s all about keeping them motivated and excited. We teach them the techniques, and we also help them learn how to use their new skills to avoid bullies and stay out of trouble. That is a big part of the kids’ program.

Jason helping his son, River, and a training partner learn a new technique.

Do you also compete in tournaments?

Yes, in fact, several people from our school recently competed in a big tournament in Paterson, NJ. My daughter, Piper, competed alongside five or six of her teammates from her class. We helped coach and cheer them on, and they all performed very well. And we had a number of adult competitors too. I was in one of the older divisions.

How did you do?

I got a silver medal in my group, but unfortunately I got hurt. My opponent caught me in an arm bar and we fell in an awkward position and one of the bones in my forearm broke.

Ouch! Does that happen a lot in these matches?

No, it’s very rare. In fact, the translation of jiu-jitsu from the original Japanese to English is “gentle art.” The idea is that you put your opponent into a situation where they have to tap to a submission. Once they tap, everyone gets up and shakes hands and everyone is healthy. Fortunately for me, I’m healing up and should be back to normal in a few weeks. I can’t wait to get back to it.

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