New jiu jitsu gym hopes to make impact on community
Any martial art you can name, Jose Rodriguez has probably trained in it. However, jiu jitsu is the focus of his new gym in Sandy.
"It's one of the few martial arts you can practice in a true live scenario without risk of injury," Rodriguez told The Post. "The big benefit is you learn that size doesn't matter. It's the thinking man's martial art. Most other martial arts are like checkers, jiu jitsu is like chess."
Rodriguez opened Mt. Hood Impact Jiu Jitsu at 17350 Smith Ave., Sandy, on April 1.
"I've fantasized about opening a gym for the last 10 years or so," he noted. "We really started to contemplate it last July when we wanted to move to Sandy."
Part of Rodriguez's reason for opening the gym was the lack of places to train in jiu jitsu in Sandy. "I realized how far I'd be traveling to do my own training while living in Sandy," he said. "I'm also at this spot in my jiu jitsu (career) where I need to teach to get my black belt."
Rodriguez has been practicing jiu jitsu for about 16 years.
"It's more than martial arts," Rodriguez noted. "It's community. It brings worlds together. All walks of life do jiu jitsu. When we're on the mat, we're all equal."
Angelica Gonzalez, Rodriguez's wife, helps teach the younger classes while also learning from her husband. She noted that practicing jiu jitsu has helped her as an ER nurse because she sometimes encounters combative patients and jiu jitsu teaches you "gentle control," and to defend yourself first without harming others if possible.
"We're teaching kids to do maneuvers that don't require much strength," Rodriguez said. "One of the things that I love about jiu jitsu is we mix gender in competition up to about 13 years. I've seen it really boost confidence in young girls."
He added that in jiu jitsu the art requires more than physical prowess to ascend through the ranks of belts. Students of jiu jitsu must prove their mindfulness by logging acts of community service, academic success and good behavior besides exhibiting knowledge of jiu jitsu moves.
"We're raising good people from the ground up," Rodriguez said. "And it helps us give back to the community."
Rodriguez and Gonzalez offer some time in the gym free of charge, opening their doors from 9:15 to 10 a.m. Mondays and Fridays for families to come exercise their "waddlers and toddlers."
Otherwise, classes are $100 per month for children to participate in an unlimited amount of sessions. Children 16 years or older and adults are charged $125 per month for an unlimited amount of sessions. Families and siblings receive a discount for signing up together.
So far, Rodriguez said, the community has been fairly receptive.
"Everybody's so nice and helpful," he noted. "We're looking forward to being part of the community."