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Fierce and disciplined

BYUH student shares his passion for jiu-jitsu and teaching it to others

Jaycee Mallari, a senior majoring in hotel and tourism management from the Philippines, said he started practicing jiu-jitsu three years ago after his friend introduced him to the sport. “[Jiu-jitsu] actually starts to change the way [the students] look at life, their attitude and [it helps them] to be more cohesive with their environment,” said Reum Blaine, Mallari’s coach.

Although Mallari had never practiced mixed martial arts (MMA) before, he said Maheono Ly, an alumnus from Tahiti who trains for jiu-jitsu with Mallari, introduced him to a jiu-jitsu class near the BYU–Hawaii campus, where he met his coach, Blaine, for the first time. Ly said, “[Mallari] deserves to be called ‘Hammah,’ a Hawaiian word meaning people who work hard, know plenty, make things happen or smash competition,” he explained.

According to the Essential Jiu-Jitsu website, “Jiu-jitsu is a predominantly ground based martial art, using the principles of leverage, angles, pressure and timing, as well as knowledge of the human anatomy, in order to achieve a non-violent submission of one’s opponent.”

Blaine added jiu-jitsu is played all over the world and is the “reigning king” of MMA.

Becoming mentally and physically strong

Mallari said he found interest in jiu-jitsu through the several physical skills it teaches and the development of self-discipline.

He said he used to struggle with feelings of depression when he was a freshman at BYU–Hawaii since he was away from his family and friends in the Philippines.

“The only way [that could] make me happy was to go to training with my friend in the jiu-jitsu gym. That’s one of my motivations. I love learning new practical skills from my coach,” Mallari said.

Mallari said everything in jiu-jitsu is challenging because he not only has to learn skills but also has to be able to apply them to his livesparring sessions. However, he explained these challenges have made him mentally strong and disciplined.

Additionally, Mallari said learning jiu-jitsu helps him with his schoolwork and maintaining focus. He explained before jiu-jitsu, he used to give up on assignments easily if he did not know how to manage them. However, he said, “I’m very patient in learning now because I learned how to discipline myself. The secret to learning patiently is to be curious about new things and not get frustrated.”

Mallari said he respects others who don’t know much about jiu-jitsu and takes any opportunity available to teach them and show how they can improve themselves.

Learning how to compete

Blaine, who is also a professional jiu-jitsu athlete, said, “[Mallari] is very tenacious in his blood. He is a fighter. Jiu-jitsu is a calm sport, but if you see him competing, he’s aggressive. He has a very heavy attack and style. That’s the technique of accuracy. He has an ability to snatch out.”

Blaine continued, “[Mallari] has a skill of solving problems quickly.” He explained if you can think fast enough, you can chain the opponents together, allowing you to beat opponents because they have no time to defend themselves.

Mallari said he saw his current coach, Blaine, in the jiu-jitsu class rolling men bigger than he is. “I really wanted to learn how to defend myself from bigger guys even though I’m small compared to the guys here,” Mallari said.

Ly said he is more than 100 pounds heavier than Mallari, but Mallari can still control him. Ly explained, “There are two important things in jiu-jitsu which are strength and the skills, but skills are more important than strength. Once [Mallari] hits the mat, he can be a lot more nimble. He can move a lot better than others do.”

Dramatic growth

There are six levels in jiu-jitsu, Blaine explained, and they are classified by the belt colors white, blue, purple, brown, black and red. He said red represents the highest level in jiu-jitsu. Mallari said he has a purple belt already, and, at his level, he can teach basic skills of jiu-jitsu. Blaine said he has a black belt and said it takes 50 years to get a red belt.

Blaine said he saw great potential in Mallari from the very beginning. “[Mallari ] always studies jiu-jitsu by looking at martial arts scholarly. So, he was already moving at a higher level than a normal white belt would.” He continued, “Because he is exposing himself to the martial arts class, his pass is very excellent, and he thinks about jiu-jitsu a lot even outside of the class.” Mallari also goes to other gyms to study different techniques, Ly added.

“I learned from [Mallari] even if you didn’t know anything about something, you can eventually become really good [at] it when you put yourself to it, be consistent and try and practice a lot,” Ly said.

Mallari shared his goal is to be the best version of himself and see the result of it. He said he wants to have a jiu-jitsu club where his coach can teach jiu-jitsu on campus.

Mallari said he had received silver medals from competing in jiu-jitsu competitions in Hawaii.