Jiu-Jitsu becoming more prominent at FIU

Luis D. Gutierrez/ Staff Writer

Royce Gracie, the record-holder for most submission victories in Ultimate Fighting Championship history with 11, is widely considered by colleagues and the best of fans alike, as an influential pioneer in the enshrinement of mixed martial arts in the national landscape.

Gracie used Brazilian jiu-jitsu to defeat opponents much bigger in size than his.

In the process, a new attitude emerged within the sport that placed heavy emphasis on one’s technique rather than strength.

To date, jiu-jitsu has inspired many to overcome bigger obstacles and challenges both inside and outside the octagonal ring.

Among the roots of those inspired is Ricky Semiglia, a current FIU student and president of the school’s very own jiu-jitsu club. Semiglia first learned about jiu-jitsu training at a mixed martial arts academy in Weston, where he encountered difficulty at first, but immediately settled in.

“I didn’t immediately grasp the concept of technique in jiu-jitsu at first,” Semiglia said.  “But as I kept on training and learning technique after technique, I started growing a strong passion for the art and when I started teaching young children, it fueled my passion even more.”

Semiglia grew a certain fondness of the form during his time at the academy, acknowledging that it made him more disciplined as a person and if practiced in the right form, it could make any person a better individual.

Jiu-jitsu is a martial-art that generally deals with ground combat. According to Semiglia, the goal is to submit your opponent by making them tap out using proper chokes, arm manipulations and other techniques that abide by the sport’s rules.

“Part of that discipline is learning as an individual when and when not to submit,” Semiglia said. “I am 100% sure that jiu-jitsu, if practiced in the right manner, can change any person for the better.”

With advanced trainers like Mauricio Huaroto, Jonathan Velez, James Garcia, Andrea Dupre, and Gonzalo Corral alongside Semiglia, FIU’s club practices three times a week with proper technique and discipline in mind.

However, at these practices sparring is also a hot commodity.

“After a brief warm-up, we start what we call ‘specific training,’” Semiglia said.  “We train from a specific position usually correlated to the technique.  Then we do ‘free rolling,’ which is a free match usually starting from the knees where everything is allowed, as long as we abide by proper Brazilian jiu-jitsu rules.”

Although the club does not currently compete in tournaments and does not carry a rank system, Semiglia is looking to build good competition teams in the near future with “free rolling” in practice paving that road.  However, the club alongside a spot on a potential tournament team is open to all members.

“It is not an academy, but rather a place for those with a passion and interest for jiu-jitsu to come and learn,” Semiglia said.  “The best part is that the experienced grapplers come from different academies and they are all willing to share their acquired knowledge and we all grow from each other as a strong family.”

Gracie introduced the concept of Brazilian jiu-jitsu back in 1993 and now Semiglia hopes to bring that same concept to FIU.  With a tournament team looming, this jiu-jitsu club is primed for big success.

But for the time being, Semiglia and his squad continue to overcome their biggest obstacles one submission at a time.

Be the first to comment on "Jiu-Jitsu becoming more prominent at FIU"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.