BONNERS FERRY — Bonners Ferry Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BFBJJ) has been able to teach people of all ages self defense. People can view classes and see small children all the way up to adults.
One lady, Connie Kryzanowski, decided to try out the Jiu-Jitsu classes about a year ago, not long after her husband started attending.
She and her husband are from Creston, British Columbia, Canada. The couple had looked into studios close to them and settled on Bonners Ferry as the other class was about the same distance away.
“BFBJJ has a good streak with the Sylvia schools,” said Kryzanowski. “So we started driving. We like attending more than driving though, especially in the wintertime.”
Speaking about what got her interested in Jiu-Jitsu, Kryzanowski said, “I have always had an interest in it, and my husband is really big into it, so he started going to the Bonners Ferry Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes.”
Jiu-Jitsu is not only helpful in learning self defense, but it is also a form of exercise.
“He would come home sweating all of the time, so it seemed like a really good workout,” said Kryzanowski. “He always had a hard time staying with a gym or doing an exercise routine, but this, he loves to go.”
The biggest struggle the ladies at BFBJJ face is that there is not always enough people to make even matches; however, the ladies who attend have gained friendships between each other.
“When I first met her, she hadn’t done a lot of competing, but she is really good,” said Kryzanowski about meeting and training with Shahannah Bushnell.
With concern from her family, Bushnell’s brother attended a class with her and was able to watch her train.
“She competed in her very first competition, and now I think she is just hooked,” said Kryzanowski.
Kryzanowski’s first competition was in Spokane, where she brought home a gold medal and a bronze medal. In her second competition in Coeur d’Alene, Kryzanowski won two gold medals.
“I was tired, it was a big competition,” Kryzanowski said about how she felt after her first tournament.
She fought both Gi and no Gi, making the day more challenging. In the Gi division, contestants wear traditional uniforms and are unable to grab their opponents clothing, whereas in the no Gi division, they don’t wear the uniform and the grabbing of clothing is allowed.
“But I felt really good,” said Kryzanowski. “I was proud of myself.”
Sometimes it is difficult to get a division together, especially if there are smaller groups attending the events. The officials find a solution by lumping divisions together with some height, weight, and experience differences.
“The bigger competitions are nicer, you get more people your size, more people your weight,” said Kryzanowski.
For a lady, to walk into a gym of mostly men can seem daunting, especially when it coincides with a self defense class.
“You get a little intimidated,” said Kryzanowski. “Sam Brown has women’s self defense courses, which brings the ladies in and gives them an idea of what it is all about. It is a good introduction to Jiu-Jitsu.”
For women, knowing how to defend oneself in a situation involving an attacker can mean life and death or hospitalization.
“The chances are a lady is going to be attacked by somebody bigger than them, so that can be a bit harder, and you have to use more technique to outsmart your opponent,” said Kryzanowski.
Like many other things, Jiu-Jitsu is something that is best when practiced constantly.
“You have to do it all the time,” said Kryzanowski. “You kinda lose it, the flexibility and stuff; and if you want it for self defense, then you have to constantly train.”
Kryzanowski went on to talk about the various courses that are available to those interested in learning self defense, or learning an art while working out. There are not only classes for women and men, but children of all ages as well.
Bonners Ferry Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu continues to bring the world of Jiu-Jitsu to Boundary County, encouraging anyone that wishes to participate to do their best, and show family, friends, and future foes what they have learned.
Visit www.bonnersferrybjj.com for more information on classes.