by Job Abraria
There is a place in Peoria that houses decades of world champions in the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. If you go there, you will understand why there is no doubt in my mind they will house decades more.
Housed on Main Street near Bradley campus, Peoria Athletic Club is lead by Professor Brad Peplow. He trains and shapes some of the best practitioners of the general art into formidable opponents.
The sport of Jiu-Jitsu is a movement based is a bit paradoxical in that it is one of the few fighting sport where the smaller person has the advantage.
Someone who can learn. Ego and bullying have to be set aside and you have to be there to learn and honor the sport.
I learned quickly in my adventure that began more than three years ago that all the muscle size and strength in the world was of little benefit in this sport. It is one that it champions the smaller person. Someone who is a weaker, injured, or smaller opponent can still gain the advantage through Jiu-Jitsu as it bears advantages in all tactical defensive situations.
When you are studying the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu you realize how academic it is. You know when you walk into a good dojo because it is a silent space. You know you are in a good school because it is totally quiet, you can hear (and feel) a pin drop in the space because everyone inside is focused and practicing their art. It is an art of the mind in addition being a sport of the body. In order to perform, you must have your mind and body working in unison. You must be in tune with how your body works. Each area working independently with a focus on the end goal.
The practitioners of Jiu-Jitsu are not those you would necessarily excel. Many of the practitioners are very intellectual, as the sport requires one to be thinking strategically about positioning movement.
Movements and techniques need to be practiced and planned strategically. It is a perfect anti-bullying tool, as it is made for the thoughtful. Also, remember that the Peoria Athletic Club actively teaches Anti-Bullying Classes at all age levels.
The Jiu-Jitsu that I created was designed to give the weak ones a chance to face the heavy and strong.” – Helio Gracie
One of the things I have enjoyed is that it is a learning sport. One who is good will have tapped and submitted thousands upon thousands of times. This, in itself, builds practitioners who are very humble and who continue to learn with every movement – understanding capabilities and natural strategies – both of opponents and of oneself.
Peoria athletic club is lead brilliantly by Sensei Brad Peplow who learned under World Champions Jack McVicker and Megathon Diaz. Professor Peplow runs the school in a very humble demeanor and sensibility that allows him to train effectively anyone from 4 to 94. One of the things who sold me on was his honor in a martial arts world and economy where the focus is on money and privilege. This is not the at PAC… The honor which is handed down by Sensei Peplow is formidable and one of the deepest personal achievements.
Fitness Impact: 5 Stars. It is a workout. If you are committed to sparring and training. It is full on cardio.
Learning Curve: 2 Stars. It is an academic mindful environment. To be good you are truly going to have to study the moves to be good at it. The challenge definitely favors brains over brawn.
Social Aspect: 5 Stars. You will not find a more honorable or friendly people to assist you in learning this art.
Cost/Availability: 2 Class times are plentiful but definitively can be restrictive, cost can be prohibitive. It has to be something you budget for when you seek this level of achievement.