Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Camira owner and head instructor Shaun Harrison (centre) with Rener and Ryron Gracie.
Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Camira owner and head instructor Shaun Harrison (centre) with Rener and Ryron Gracie.

New martial arts school teaching skills to combat bullies

TEACHING young people to “fight fire with water” by giving them the tools to handle bullies without resorting to throwing a punch is the goal for Shaun Harrison.

He is the owner and head instructor of the recently launched Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Camira.

It is the first Gracie Jiu-Jitsu certified training centre in Queensland with Mr Harrison bringing the teachings of the famous Brazilian martial arts family to Ipswich.

COVID-19 delayed plans to get going in April.

He runs sessions four nights a week from the Camira Community Centre, including Little Champs (5-7 year olds), Junior Grapplers (8-12 year olds) and Gracie Combatives (adults).

Mr Harrison, who has lived in the area his whole life, said the programs teach important skills to deal with confrontations.

“I want to give back to my community,” Mr Harrison said.

“It’s all nonviolent tactics.

“We teach them to verbally assert themselves and physically defend themselves so they’ve got all the tools to overcome bullying.

“Kids won’t set a verbal boundary unless they know for sure they can defend themselves physically.”

Mr Harrison, a purple belt, became involved in jiu-jitsu a decade ago and started with the Gracie program in 2014.

During the day he works as a chef and teaches at night.

“I flew to the United States a couple of times and did a test there and flew to Melbourne and did a test there as well,” he said.

“A lot of schools only teach the sport jiu-jitsu, so they don’t teach the self defence part so there’s no consideration for punches.

“We’re not just giving them the physical tools, we’re giving them the psychological tools and the verbal tools as well which a lot of martial arts don’t teach … they teach you just the techniques of fighting.
“A lot of parents are scared that if they take them to martial arts schools they become a bully or use techniques at the wrong time.

“We’re teaching them to fight fire with water. We use control and leverage based techniques, not punching and kicking.”

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