AMHERST – Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a workout for both the mind and the body.
“It’s a pastime that’s really physically demanding and you’re learning a really valuable skill at the same time,” said Justus Copeland. “It’s not the same as lifting weights. It’s engaging mentally. It’s really cerebral. That’s why it’s so popular.”
Copeland and Jeremy Misken are co-owner/operators of Breakthrough Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Amherst.
They opened the Jiu Jitsu studio in January in the basement of the VON building located on the corner of Prince Arthur and Acadia Street in downtown Amherst, near the curling club and library.
“Sometimes martial arts carry a stigma. People think it’s for people who like to fight or like to hurt each other,” said Misken. “We’ve trained with doctors, lawyers, tradespeople, you get everybody from all walks of life. It’s because it a puzzle you’ll never solve. You’re always trying to figure it out.”
Copeland says Jiu Jitsu is a fast-growing sport.
“Every year it continues to grow and every town in Nova Scotia is getting their own Jiu Jitsu school.”
He says enrolment among kids is high.
“It’s really grown into a sport, not just a martial art,” said Copeland. “Every three to six months there’s a competition for kids.”
He points out the cost benefits.
“It’s a lot cheaper than traditional sports like hockey. It’s a cost-effective sport to put your kid in and it teaches them a lot.”
Copeland and Misken have trained and competed in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for about six years.
“It’s always been our goal since we started to share this with everyone and to have a spot to do it,” said Copeland.
Copeland and Misken have trained throughout the Maritimes and the eastern U.S.
“We’ve traveled all over the place. We’ve competed in New York and Boston and trained at some of the best gyms on the East Coast,” said Copeland.
Two weeks ago, Copeland earned two bronze medals at the Boston Spring International Jiu-Jitsu Championship in Boston, MA, and this weekend Copeland and Misken are traveling to a tournament in Windsor.
Both have competed in mixed martial arts but now stick to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Anybody who watches the UFC knows Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a cornerstone of mixed martial arts.
“It’s what started the UFC,” said Copeland. “I don’t want to be the guy saying it’s the best but, overall, if you don’t know Jiu Jitsu and you try to fight MMA, you’re not going to have a good time.”
Both Copeland and Misken say the sport is addictive.
“This is a really awesome thing to do as a hobby. It’s a pastime that’s really physically demanding and you’re learning a really valuable skill at the same time,” said Copeland.
Classes are open to all levels.
“Whether you have experience or no experience, or want to compete or don’t want to compete, it doesn’t matter,” said Misken. “We’re beginner friendly. It’s geared towards everybody, and if you want to get in shape we can help you with that too.”
“It’s very personal. You work at your own pace. We don’t expect someone in their 50’s to train as hard as people in their 20’s,” added Copeland.
Breakthrough Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is open Sunday nights, Tuesday nights, Thursday nights, and Friday nights. Kids classes are Tuesday’s and Thursday.
“We offer a free week trial. You have nothing to lose if you give it a shot,” said Copeland.
For more information call Copeland at 902-669-0403, or visit their facebook page, or go to breakthroughbjj.com.