“Jiujitsu is for everyone,” is a well-worn phrase within the Jiujitsu community, but a new chronicle of this marital art’s adaptive side shows that it’s far from just a slogan. Para Jiu-Jitsu Magazine launched online in January and will publish stories and news about the growing para jiujitsu community on a quarterly basis.
If you’ve ever watched the UFC, you’ve surely seen jiujitsu. It’s the grappling art that leads to arm and leg locks, choke holds, and eventually, tap outs
The popularity of jiujitsu as a whole has increased over the past few years, and along with that, more and more people with spinal cord injuries and other disabilities have joined the community as athletes and competitors. Para Jiu-Jitsu Magazine has arrived to record the wave of interest in the sport.
The brainchild of graphic designer, Brazilian jiujitsu purple belt and T5 complete paraplegic Maximiliano “Max” Ulloa, Para Jiu-Jitsu Magazine is just his latest attempt to inspire the newly injured to get involved in the sport while supporting the burgeoning para-jiujitsu scene and the athletes who are already a part of it.
Ulloa says that Jiujitsu changed his life, both in recovering from an injury before his SCI and adapting to life afterwards. “It helped me learn how to use what I had left and how to use my energy more effectively in my daily life, and I want to pass on the benefits of the art to as many people with limitations as I can,” he says.
Jiujitsu has caught on among wheelchair users in particular, because as a ground-fighting style, your legs don’t necessarily have to factor into the action. “With the knowledge of jiujitsu and using leverage, I am able to control an attacker and even submit them with only a third of my body function,” says Ulloa.
The mechanics of jiujitsu offer a relatively low chance of injury, while also making it one of the few sports where a separate para version of competition isn’t always necessary for level play. Training with and competing against nondisabled athletes is routine for all para jiujitsu players. However, increased participation from fighters with limitations has given rise to para-only tournaments and divisions where athletes are divided by disability type and belt level.
“When you’re going against someone with a limitation the game becomes more technical because you’re used to a response that you’re probably not getting from them […] so you have to become more technical and think about a better strategy,” says Ulloa.
Along with profiles of para combatants, the magazine promises coverage of para jiujitsu tournaments such as Grappler’s Heart – the first-ever U.S. tournament designed for grapplers with disabilities, entering its fourth year on April 29, 2018 – or para-divisions at high profile BJJ tournaments like NextGen in Canada and the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship in the United Arab Emirates.
Ulloa’s plans for the future are even more ambitious: an interactive app featuring videos teaching adaptive techniques and individual scholarships to help para-athletes with training and competition expenses like registration fees, travel and accommodation. For the first year of its production, he’s offering Para Jiu-jitsu Magazine as a free digital download to anyone who wants to check it out – just enter your email address and create an account for access.