Primal BJJ builds confidence and focus

Chris Davis submits D. Davis with an arm bar at Primal Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Training Center. (photo by John Gregory)

Primal BJJ builds confidence and focus

Small children take down larger kids, senior citizens train like maniacs and a couple of former San Diego Chargers learn new skills. It all takes part in a room lined with padded mats on the floors and mirrors on the walls. The Primal Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Training Center at 9811 Mira Mesa Blvd. is not a big place, but it’s huge on heart.

At first glance the owners, D. Davis and Chris Davis, seem to run the operation in a casual manner. But their approach has purpose. It’s a non-threatening way that allows their jiu jitsu students to learn and thrive at their own comfort level.

But make no mistake, some serious martial arts training takes place here. In fact, Primal Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Training Center has a competitive team as well as a black belt program.

“The personal philosophy as far as jiu jitsu and life is just don’t quit,” D. explained. “We have a sign up there: ‘It doesn’t get easier, you just get better.’”

Classes last about one hour each. Parents usually line the back part of the studio to watch. The first half starts with basic yoga to gain flexibility, conditioning and the ability to move, according to D. It includes stretching and learning techniques.

The second part is practical use: grappling. This is when students are paired withy others and practice their skills on one another. It’s not unusual to see a small child take down a heavier opponent.

No punching, kicking or elbowing is allowed. Everything is controlled. The sport is 100 percent leverage-based, D. said.

Siblings Nicholas and Natalie Nguyen demonstrate the closed guard position. (photo by Jacqueline Gregory)

The kids enjoy it and take it seriously, D. explained.

“They just can’t wait to get here,” Chris said. “They come running. They love it.”

Students wear the traditional white gis worn in many forms of self-defense, and there is a colored belt system to gauge progress, but there is a difference.

“It’s not a paid-for belt system,” D. said. “You show up, you get better, you move forward.”

Brazilian jiu jitsu is different from other forms of martial arts. Judo, for instance, is 90 percent throws, but Brazilian jiu jitsu all about leverage and submission, D. explained.

“It’s like chess with human body parts,” he said.

Everyone who becomes a student at Primal Training Center starts with a period of 30 days in which they can try the classes. That’s the first step. The second part is making sure the student likes Brazilian jiu jitsu and the studio.

D. has advice for parents considering martial arts for their children: “Don’t do it because it’s for you. Do it for your kid. Make sure the kid likes it.”

The studio offers classes for all ages and levels. There is a women’s program. There is a full competition team. Among classes for kids are the Tot Program (ages 3-5), Tiny Piranhas (ages 6-10) and Juniors and Teens (ages 11-16).

Amber Spencer puts Jason Gregory in a triangle choke. (photo by Jacqueline Gregory)

There is even an executive class at 11 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays consisting mostly of executives from Scripps Ranch who can get away during lunchtime for a workout.

D. and Chris have one son attending Miramar Ranch Elementary School and have lived in Scripps Ranch for 11 years. Their studio has been in the same location 11 years also. Both are proud of the fact they have helped their students, especially children, gain better self-confidence, mental focus and the skills to defend themselves, plus the right words and temperament to deal with altercations. Chris added that many times a child’s grades will improve; it’s not just physicality.

“We’ve received a lot of personal messages from parents who are grateful for the skills their children have learned here,” she said. “It helps them be at ease … because they know their child can defend themselves.”

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