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Friday Night Lights: Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Jiu Jitsu!
Jonathan Donville '17 Senior Writer
October 12, 2016
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Ever since he was a child, Dr. Edrik Lopez has always loved martial arts. While growing up, Dr. Lopez loved watching Rocky films, and by the time he was in sixth grade, he was already participating in taekwondo. Soon he began a lifelong obsession with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a martial arts form that would eventually lead to his black belt. A new member of the English department, Dr. Lopez is excited to start the Deerfield Academy Jiu Jitsu club, and he hopes to spread his love for the art with members of the Deerfield community.

Lilley Salmon '18 practices a Jiu Jitsu take down she had just learned on Siclair Seeligson '18. Credit: Will Briskin

Lilley Salmon ’18 practices a Jiu Jitsu take down she had just learned on Siclair Seeligson ’18. Credit: Will Briskin

Back in 1993, Dr. Lopez began his obsession with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu while watching the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). “What I loved about it was that it was the tournament that settled the eternal question of which martial art was the most effective. There were experts from all different disciplines like Judo, Boxing, and Kickboxing who were going to duke it out in a tournament style setting, and Jiu Jitsu won,” said Dr. Lopez. “Then they had UFC 2, and 3, and 4, and Jiu Jitsu basically won all of them, and it proved to the world the practical power of Jiu Jitsu,” he continued.

One thing in particular that he appreciates about Jiu Jitsu and hopes will appeal to the Deerfield community is the temperament involved with Jiu Jitsu. “You get a clinch on somebody, and then either through a takedown or a throw, you take the fight to the ground,” he explained. “Once you take it to the ground, there is no size advantage, and any sort of expertise in striking arts is rendered useless by the Jiu Jitsu practitioner.”

One of the many benefits that Dr. Lopez sees in Jiu Jitsu is the self defense it can provide for people. He commented, “Most physical altercations end up on the ground, and the idea with Jiu Jitsu is that once you are on the ground and have trained in the art of Jiu Jitsu, you will be in an excellent situation against the other combatant.”

However, the self defense qualities are far from the only benefits that Dr. Lopez sees in Jiu Jitsu. “It is very addictive,” he said. “Once you start doing it, it becomes a sport; it is really fun, and you form easy camaraderie with each other.” He thought that these were some of the many ways that students at Deerfield can benefit from participating in Jiu Jitsu.

Griffin Thomas '17 practices a choke hold during the club's friday night meeting. Credit: Will Briskin

Griffin Thomas ’17 practices a choke hold during the club’s friday night meeting. Credit: Will Briskin

The new Jiu Jitsu Club will meet on five Friday nights during the fall semester in the Kravis room, and Dr. Lopez hopes to establish a strong foundation for the future. “Right now,” he said, “the goal is to do five classes in the fall term… so that in the future, students will know the beginnings of the curriculum and help in teaching others.”

The excitement has already begun to grow around the Deerfield campus in anticipation of the club. Griffin Thomas ’17, said that he is “looking forward to learning more about Jiu Jitsu and learning some new moves and techniques.” He also said that he thinks the balance and body awareness that he can learn from the club will be beneficial for him.

“I was always kind of interested in self defense, and the Jiu Jitsu club was my chance to learn,” commented Sinclair Seeligson ’18 . “While I am better at flipping, I also learned a choke hold as well,” she continued. Although Seeligson is new to martial arts, she is excited to see what this year will provide for her: “I hope that more people will come out and that I will be proficient in the art of Jiu Jitsu by the end of the year!”

Anyone looking for more info can get in touch with Dr. Lopez directly, or consult the Deerfield Bulletin, where there is an informational page with key dates and times, dress code, and expectations.