Aston University Jitsu Club was founded in 1989. It currently has 30 core members and enjoys strong links to other Jitsu Foundation clubs in the region.
Since 1999 the club has been taught and lead by Eric Lau. Last year the club enjoyed its 20th anniversary and Sport Aston's Simon Foster spoke to Eric to find out more about the clubs success.
What is Jitsu and what are the benefits of practicing this martial art?
Jitsu is a movement based martial art involving the use of throwing, striking and locking techniques against armed and unarmed attackers. The emphasis is on using an opponent's movement and body weight to your advantage - allowing you to defend yourself, no matter how big or strong your attacker is. The core of the art comprises a system of throws, joint locks and strikes. Based on the principal of using an aggressor’s energy to their own disadvantage, Jitsu skills can be used by men, women and children to counter aggressive situations ranging from unwanted harassment to armed physical assault.
Jitsu is a progressive martial art that offers a means of personal and physical development, as well as an effective system of self-defence. Regular training can help to improve strength, fitness, flexibility, co-ordination and posture. Moreover, most people find over time that Jitsu improves their self-esteem and self-confidence. Advanced training levels are highly challenging and foster exceptional levels of physical and mental control. Jitsu training is also great fun and a fantastic way to meet new friends.
Can you tell me about some of the awards the club has achieved?
The club itself always does well in the two annual national competitions where over 800 people from 100 clubs compete. In 2009 we won the National Atemi Championships as we accumulated the most points over the weekend. During my time as the lead instructor, we have had many successes at Aston Jitsu. Personally I've won the National Atemi Open Championship twice; the only person to achieve this in the Jitsu Foundation. I have also taught 15 people to instructor level with many going on to teach their own clubs.
What does it take to achieve success in Jitsu?
If someone comes to me with a goal and is willing to work hard then I will do all I can to help them achieve their dream. The only difference between a novice and me is 13 years of training!
Jitsu gives you the physical benefits of training regularly but I believe the biggest thing we give is confidence. Something that can be used in many other areas of their life, academically, professional or in their personal lives. That gives me great satisfaction when I see someone grow physically and mentally during their time with Jitsu.
What are your hopes for the future?
I hope to here for the next ten years in a dedicated dojo, continuing to build on our success and watching Aston University students developing and maturing into great people.
How can Aston University staff join the Jitsu club?
Adult sessions are Mondays and Wednesdays with a kids club (under 16s) on a Saturday morning. Pop down to see us or email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Words by Simon Foster