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Join Jiu Jitsu Academy and connect with your culture

Join Jiu Jitsu Academy and connect with your culture and community

Jiu Jitsu Academy is a free, 10-week program for young Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people aged 12 – 25.

Offered throughout each school term, Jiu Jitsu Academy aims to support the physical, and social and emotional wellbeing of participants through movement.

Shane Cook, Jiu Jitsu Academy Project Coordinator, is passionate about creating a supportive space where young people can connect to culture and community.

Shane is a proud Wulli Wulli man with many family connections throughout Queensland and Adelaide. He is a practicing artist and mentor, and works in community services, facilitating programs and workshops.

8 years ago, Shane began his jiu jitsu journey and has since established a drive to teach others and support them to make positive changes in their lives.

Practicing ‘gentle art’ for a strong mind, body and heart

Jiu jitsu is a self-defense martial art practiced primarily on the ground using grappling holds. Deriving from a Japanese translation of ‘gentle art,’ jiu jitsu focusses on non-violent techniques to place one’s opponent into submission.

Unlike traditional gym environments, jiu jitsu takes place on soft mats and does not require any equipment, making it an approachable option for those who may be apprehensive to step into a gym. Unlike boxing or kickboxing, jiu jitsu techniques do not incorporate punching or kicking, making the chance of concussion or serious injury extremely low.

At Jiu Jitsu Academy, you can make new friends in an inclusive group environment.
At Jiu Jitsu Academy, you can make new friends in an inclusive group environment.

Practicing martial arts strengthens muscles, bones, and cardiovascular health while also improving flexibility and coordination. To maintain good health, the Australian Department of Health and Aged Care recommends that young people aged 12 to 17 include at least one hour of exercise in their day, while those aged 18 to 25 should aim for 1.5 to 2.5 hours of exercise every week. By introducing young people to sports that encourage moderate and vigorous physical activity, such as jiu jitsu, they can develop healthy habits for life.

In addition to the physical benefits, practicing jiu jitsu can also help reduce anxiety and build an individual’s self-esteem, confidence, and concentration skills.

Shane has firsthand experience of how practicing jiu jitsu can positively impact mental health and is proud to be offering this program for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

I’ve found that my life is much more fulfilling when I’m consistently training in the gym and taking care of my physical health. Training plays a huge part in my self-care and mental health care.

The benefits of training and how I feel afterward is something I hope many more people get to experience throughout their lives.

Delivering an inclusive and culturally safe program

Jiu Jitsu Academy is designed to be an inclusive and culturally safe program, welcoming young people from all mobs, with all fitness levels.

Young people of all fitness levels can improve their health and emotional wellbeing.
Young people of all fitness levels can improve their health and emotional wellbeing.

Sonder has partnered with M16 Fight and Fitness, martial arts and fitness gym based in Seaford, to deliver the program with experienced trainers such as Lachlan Warne, who holds a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

With Shane’s support, Lachlan takes the time to learn about each participant’s physical and social and emotional challenges, tailoring the program to their needs and goals.

Owner and founder of M16 Fight and Fitness gym, Myles Simpson is proud to be providing first-class facilities and high-quality trainers for the program. Myles comments,

Offering a space for Sonder’s Jiu Jitsu Academy is just one example of how we strive to create a welcoming community at M16. Together, we empower each other to become our best selves both on and off the mat.

How to join Jiu Jitsu Academy

Visit sonder.net.au/jiu-jitsu-academy and complete the online form. Young people can refer themselves or have a carer or advocate refer on their behalf.

It is completely free to participate in Jiu Jitsu Academy. The program is currently offered on Monday afternoons from 5.30 pm – 6.30 pm throughout the school term.

For more information, contact Shane Cook on 0401 870 039 or Sonder’s Health Promotion team on (08) 8209 0700.