COLUMBUS, Ga. — Hundreds of people in the Fountain City are learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu from black belt Jason Keaton, who’s legally blind. Keaton is one of the owners of Jiu Jitsu Columbus, and he wants to have a positive impact on the community.
Keaton said, “I feel like Jiu Jitsu is something that has changed my life, but now I’m helping other people change their lives. When I have people come to me and they’re like I want to learn how to defend myself or I want to lose weight , this gives me a chance to give back.”
Keaton believes that instilling core values in young people is crucial to their success.
“Things like integrity, honor, being a good person , not using your martial arts to be a bully, but especially making sure they understand what a bully is and what they can do to stop it themselves,” said Keaton.
9 year old Jayla Hernandez says she wants to follow in Keaton’s footsteps.
Hernandez said, “When I came on here I felt like this is what I’m destined to do.”
The goal of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is to use intelligence over size and leverage over strength. Roy Harris, one of the first African Americans to receive a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, showed students how to perform the side mount technique.
Harris said, “While holding a person down in this position you look for certain submissions and a submission is when you move a joint beyond it’s normal range of motion.”
Phil Smith attends the class because it makes him feel young again.
“It gives me an opportunity to really move around and stay mobile as I get older because Jiu Jitsu really helps that and when you join Jiu Jitsu it’s like you join a brotherhood or a sisterhood,” said Smith.
For these students, it’s all about mastering Jiu Jitsu and for Jason Keaton, his sights are set on mastering his disability.
Keaton said, “When you have a disability life is always difficult, but I tend to find that if I really want to do something I’m not going to let it stop me.”
To learn more about Jiu Jitsu Columbus click here.