Creating resilient warriors with Jiu-Jitsu

  • Published
  • By Airman Zachary Heal
  • 71st Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Master Sgt. Tony Eclavea teaches Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to Airmen and family members from 5 to 7 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays, at the Community Chapel Activity Center.

A chaplain’s assistant, Eclavea has been teaching Jiu-Jitsu since 2014 when he was first stationed at Vance.

In the Jiu-Jitsu class, the students learn in an “ego free” environment that encourages people to be open minded and learn techniques, said Eclavea.

The students in the class are made up of officers and enlisted Airmen ranging from student and instructor pilots to air traffic controllers and security forces.

“Our mission at the chapel is to foster healthy relationships, develop Airmen with healthy values, and motivate Airmen to face challenges,” said Eclavea.

“The fellowship among team members and encouragement help to really promote the positive effects of good values,” he said. Jiu-Jitsu also helps create resilient warriors that are ready to face challenges.

“It is good for stress relief after a day of work,” said 2nd Lt. Brent Griffith, a student pilot.

Jiu-Jitsu focuses mainly on grappling. It was developed from the Kodokan Judo style of fighting. Its main appeal is the idea that a smaller person can defend themselves against a bigger or stronger person.

“Jiu-Jitsu allows Airmen to explore problem solving in a controlled environment,” said Eclavea. “We simulate hardships by putting Airmen in difficult situations and give them the tools in the form of technique to come up with systematic ways to solve problems. The feeling of accomplishment is immediately apparent when the technique works in their favor.”

Jiu-Jitsu is practiced for many reasons including competitive sport, self-defense and recreation. Eclavea believes Airmen should learn Jiu-Jitsu to improve their fitness and combat readiness skills.

“In my three years teaching Jiu-Jitsu at Vance I have met many people and we have become quite a family,” said Eclavea. “I am truly honored to be a part of their journey.”