Student Athlete – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Leano, a student athlete in 12th grade at SIS, shares his experience with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu alongside school.


Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a ground-based martial art that utilises grappling and submissions. Because it is fought mostly on the floor, strikes and blows are not allowed. The system instead favours a fluid combat where chokes, pins, arm locks, and leg locks are used to force an opponent to submit or “tap out”. Fighters can start on their feet or on the ground, but BJJ fights usually progress to ground fighting quickly. Once on the ground, a BJJ fighter can and will use multiple different positions and moves to catch their opponent and defeat him. BJJ is a very useful martial art as it offers a unique combat system that does not interfere with other established systems. A Mixed Martial Arts or Judo fighter can easily blend BJJ into their fighting, resulting in a formidable combination. But BJJ fighters can use this fighting style to swiftly immobilise and defeat opponents. This fighting style can be used by practically anyone and doesn’t rely on brute force or strength to win out. Cunning BJJ fighters can use this skill to defeat opponents who could overpower them in conventional fighting methods. BJJ has a world championship every year that pits the worlds best BJJ fights against each other.

Leano C, a student in grade 12 at SIS, has been participating in BJJ for 3 years now and has gained many skills over this period of time. He currently has a white belt to the first degree, and in his first competition ever he already placed second place. He practices around 4 times every week and participates in tournaments and competitions about once a year.

When we asked him about how it is to be a student athlete he confirmed that it was indeed very difficult to manage studying and school work alongside his trainings. He says that essays and other assignments often get in the way of his BJJ practice. However, he said, “BJJ frees my mind, boosts the dopamine in my brain, and elevates my happiness,” which eventually helps him with school as well.

BJJ frees my mind, boosts the dopamine in my brain, and elevates my happiness”

— Leano C

Leano had previous experience with with martial arts,  participating in judo for 6 months, as well as kickboxing for a significant amount of time. It was actually through  kickboxing that he stumbled upon Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and he says, “I immediately fell in love with it.” He continued to stress the importance of martial arts by saying, “Martial arts is essential for learning self defence. Many people think they may never need to defend themselves, but sometimes unexpected situations arise in which you will need to protect yourself. It’s vital to be able to defend and protect yourself and others.”

Leano plans on continuing with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu after high school. Furthermore, he is planning on taking a gap year to gain more general knowledge about the world and about himself. “I want to find something I love and open my mind to knowledge about myself. We have been gaining scientific knowledge in school for years, but I will set out to learn about the real world during my gap year.”

Although managing school and sports may be tough, student athletes such as Leano show us that it is worth it because it boosts your motivation significantly. It’s amazing to be able to do something you love, and he encourages all students to find something they’re passionate about.