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The School Newspaper of Lawrence High School.

The Budget

The School Newspaper of Lawrence High School.

The Budget

Math teacher practices Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Uses martial arts to take mind off work and stay focused
Lydia Folks
John Ely teaches his Algebra II class, teaching point-slope form and rate of change.

After a long day of teaching, math teacher and football coach John Ely practices Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) as a physical outlet.

Ely does most of his practice during the football off-season at River’s Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He enjoys the exercise to balance 

As a teacher, Ely is described as being pretty relaxed.

“I would say it’s a pretty chill class,” said sophomore Desi Franz. “He knows what he’s doing. He loves math. He does a pretty good job at explaining things.”

Junior Chira Jorkthongkham thinks that Ely has an interesting teaching style that compliments his easy going attitude with students.

“He really likes engaging with the students, and it’s easy to learn and stick to the material if you pay attention to his classes,” Jorkthongkham said.

Similar to wrestling, BJJ is a grappling sport where you compete against a singular opponent and use physical strength to manipulate the opponent’s body and accomplish a physical objective over the combatant.

“[In BJJ] you have a little bit more leeway to work with somebody’s limbs,” Ely said. “It’s all about the physical manipulation of somebody else’s body and trying to put yourself in a position where you can win, whether it’s in wrestling, [where] you’re trying to pin someone and put their back to the ground, or in BJJ where you’re trying to submit them.”

Submitting the opponent is the “checkmate” of BJJ. It ends the round immediately and results in a win for the submitting party through joint manipulation or a choke.

Ely learned about BJJ through a friend, and started going to River’s Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

“The environment is friendly,” Ely said. “There’s a huge range of skill levels and backgrounds so you get quite a good mix of people. They really take care of each other and teach techniques really well.”

The environment of the gym is part of what keeps Ely engaged in the martial art, but a large part of his interest in the sport is the “physicality” of it.

“I started because I was looking for a physical outlet,” Ely said. “I always did sports and lifting and stuff like that.”

Overall, Ely thinks that in BJJ, progress doesn’t come easy, but it’s attainable if you work hard.

“When you’re trying to actually win in a fight against somebody else, it’s not something that somebody’s ever just gonna let you win,” Ely said. “The progress comes bit by bit. You just get better and better at it, but it really pays off because you know that every bit of a victory is earned.”

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About the Contributors
I'm a second-year reporter and a first-year photographer. In my spare time I do Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, workout, and hang out with my friends.
Lydia Folks, Photo Editor
I'm a second year photographer on staff. This year I am taking on the role of photo editor of When I am not taking pictures I am playing softball or participating in 4-H.

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