TAUNTON – Leave it on the mat.

According to Jair Morselli, owner and lead instructor of Real Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Taunton, it’s a common phrase in the world of Brazilian jiu jitsu, loosely interpreted as working hard, leaving behind the stresses of the day and finding fulfillment in life. ‘coaching.

“Some people come here after all the stress at work, and they leave it on the mat, or so they say,” Morselli said between a round of youth and adult classes on a recent Monday night.

“Leave it on the mat and go home in a better mood. Just like the runner’s high.

Although Brazilian jiu jitsu, BJJ for short, is naturally competitive, Morselli says only a small percentage of his students are there to compete. Most students hit the mat for some level of self-improvement, whether it’s fitness, weight loss, or stress relief.

Jair Morselli at Real Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Taunton on Monday 18th April 2022.

And new trainees are flocking to the sport in large numbers, as jiu jitsu is widely considered the fastest growing martial arts discipline in the world.

“There are many reasons why people come here,” Morselli said. “The first is community. They come to train, hang out and make friends. There are people who come to lose weight and end up falling in love with the sport. Most people train, but they don’t compete. People of all ages, some starting in their 40s and 50s. Anyone can do it.

Real estate report:Victorian on High Street in Taunton is worth over $700,000

With a recent move to a new, larger space at 60 Main Street downtown, Real BJJ Taunton is better able to accommodate its rapidly growing student roster with expansive mat space that takes up a much of the 5,000 square feet. facility.

Morselli, who has been teaching BJJ in the area for more than a decade, including eight years at Real BJJ Middleboro, said the school has outgrown his former home on Merchant’s Lane in Taunton. Space had become so cramped that Morselli was seeing the numbers plummet at his Monday and Wednesday night adult sessions, Real BJJ Taunton’s most popular classes.

Jair Morselli, owner of Real Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Taunton, watches students struggle up close during a children's class on Monday, April 18, 2022.

“In the other space, we had about 1,000 square feet of mat space, and we had about 40 to 45 people in there on a busy night. And we were out of place. So , now we have moved to a bit bigger place.

Help neighbors or developers? :Here’s why Taunton is cutting lot sizes over Planning Board objections

” It’s awesome. Before, in the old building, we could no longer do dismantling because there was not enough space. People were jostling and I noticed some people had stopped showing up, and my Monday and Wednesday classes started to taper off.

“Now everyone is back, everyone is happy, lots of space for everyone.”

Now the Real BJJ Taunton has 3,000 square feet of mat space, more than enough to accommodate full adult classes and three age levels for youth classes.

What is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

Brazilian jiu jitsu, sometimes known as Gracie jiu jitsu, is a derivative of judo, adapted and applied by the Gracie family in Brazil in the early 1900s. Later, the Gracie family brought BJJ to the United States , and today, BJJ is at the forefront of the world of combat sports and mixed martial arts.

Jiu jitsu is classified as a grappling art, as opposed to a striking art. The main idea behind discipline, and one of the great strengths of BJJ, is to provide smaller and weaker students with a method of defense against a larger opponent or aggressor. Jiu jitsu students learn to “take the fight to the ground” and use leverage and the standby cast to demonstrate control over an opponent, or use a variety of holds, locks, and submission techniques to defeat an opponent.

Erika Christiansen, center, coaches Ken Alphonse and Chris Scott, left, at Real Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Taunton on Monday April 18, 2022.

By “putting it down”, new jiu jitsu students will get a unique workout, unlike more traditional workouts done while standing or running.

“It’s a lot of core exercise,” Morselli says. “If you think about it, when your back is on the ground, you engage your core muscles a lot. If you’re not used to it at first, it’s going to hurt a little. It lasts a bit, but you get used to it.

It’s physical training, sure, but with some experience the doors open to a more cerebral experience where physical skills are combined with quick thinking and a deeper understanding of the craft to gain the edge.

“Every move is like a thumbs up,” Morselli explained. “You have to earn that little inch to move on to the next position. One thing that fascinates me about jiu jitsu, and the reason so many people stay, I’ve been doing this since 1996 and I’m still learning things, I’m learning always new things, because it’s so dynamic.

Vivian Morselli wrestles with Violet Kerr during a children's class at Real Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Taunton on Monday, April 18, 2022.

Morselli, a Sao Paolo, Brazil native and now a Berkley resident, opened the BJJ School on Merchant’s Lane just before COVID hit in March 2020. Specifically, just days before the pandemic-induced closure this spring.

“Literally, two days after I opened, we had to close. We’ve had a tough few months,” he said.

“I hope this is our last step. We have a ton of mat space, we are adding more classes. Things are going well now. »

Today, registrations are exploding and the class schedule is expanding.

A children's class at Real Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Taunton on Monday, April 18, 2022.

Real BJJ Taunton offers a competition team for students, the best Brazilian team and classes for competitors and non-competitors held seven days a week, including 6 a.m. and 12 p.m. classes on weekdays and a growing number of courses. weekend offers. For the most part, students of different skill levels and belts train together, with higher belts working individually with new and developing students.

The cooperative and communal element of jiu jitsu is a big part of the training program.

“If you’re an upper belt, at least a few minutes of your training every night is working with a lower belt, helping someone out,” Morselli said. “If I have 10 top belts and each of them gives someone else five minutes of training – they still have 55 minutes to train hard on their own – but if you can give just one little bit that helps new guys… it’s huge, gaining confidence, learning some new techniques, it’s a very cooperative sport.

Children’s classes are a popular offering at Real BJJ Taunton, with classes divided into age groups: 4-6, 7-9 and 10+.

Real Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Taunton instructor Ariela Elana works with students Liam Santos and Gray Almeida during a children's class on Monday, April 18, 2022.

With just a few skills, kids can step onto the mat and experience battling an opponent. Training is inevitably physical, and Morselli says it’s not uncommon to see a once shy and reserved young student gain new confidence through a bit of intense wrestling and mastering new techniques.

“It’s a funny thing, but kids are pretty resilient. We very rarely have children crying or anything like that. Sounds harsh, but…

“And with nine and under, we make sure there is always a coach watching them when they struggle. The bigger kids, 10 and up, we let them struggle, because they have an understanding, ‘Okay, it’s an armbar, it’s a tap.’ With the younger ones, there’s always a coach right there, because if you expose and put the arm bar on, the coach will be there to stop it – “Okay, that’s enough time.”

Taunton Daily Gazette editor Jon Haglof can be contacted at [email protected] Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Taunton Daily Gazette today.