Video: A look at Mamoru Martial Arts Photo: YouBin Park tries to attack Michael Butler with a leg attack. In the background, Jose Torrillo demonstrates ‘ukemi,’ a falling technique that safely protects the head from injury in judo, Brazilian jiujitsu and karate. | Courtesy Mamoru Martial Arts
REXBURG — Mamoru Martial Arts is opening a second location in Rexburg and its third in the area. Beginning on Jan. 19, the dojo will offer judo, Brazilian jiujitsu, self-defense and karate classes in the Rexburg Arts Center.
Mamoru already holds classes in a Rexburg home and the Farnsworth Middle School wrestling area in Rigby.
Alex Greenfield started Mamoru Martial Arts in 2021. He had been doing judo for about 35 years and began teaching classes on a hunch.
“I just had a sense that this was something to start here,” Greenfield told EastIdahoNews.com.
The dojo’s slogan is “Change your kid’s life. Change your life.” In two short years, he has watched martial arts change the lives of individuals and families alike.
“A lot of families call me and say, ‘I have been recommended to try martial arts,’ or ‘I’m wondering if I should try martial arts because my child has ADHD because my child is having difficulty in school.’”
Alex Greenfield stands between siblings Kaoru and Azusa Matsumura, both of whom took home medals at the recent Idaho State University judo tournament. | Courtesy Mamoru Martial Arts
Greenfield said kids who struggle with school, focus or relationships with family come into classes and can “just blossom.” As a special education educator, he is passionate about helping these kids improve their concentration and focus — he wants them to succeed.
Mamoru Martial Arts provides three classes under the guidance of Greenfield, Professor Ned Sands and Ryan Christenson, who offer a learning experience where participants, both young and adult, can hone valuable skills and develop physical well-being.
In Brazilian jiujitsu, Sands teaches students unique self-defense strategies and control techniques. Sands is a former Navy officer and also the founder, owner and head instructor at Impact Jiu Jitsu in Portland, Oregon. This sport offers a great way to improve cardio fitness, agility and coordination.
Karate classes underscore the importance of balance through using one’s entire body. Greenfield and fellow instructor Christenson emphasize traditional kicking, punching, kata (or form) and blocking. Students who are ready and interested can also participate in sparring.
Judo means “the gentle way,” but it may not look gentle, Greenfield said. The sport has been compared to folding clothes with someone still in them. The philosophy behind judo is maximum efficiency, minimum effort and mutual benefit and welfare to all.
Jiujitsu is gaining popularity right now, but Greenfield recommends judo for beginner martial arts students.
Father and son duo, Sam and Eben Edwards (age 6), have their medals — and hearts — intertwined. Both medaled at a recent Judo tournament in Salt Lake City, where the team practiced with Olympic Athlete Flor Velazquez. | Courtesy Mamoru Martial Arts
“Jiujitsu focuses more on the ground, whereas the judo focus is more standing up,” he said. “So, for that reason … I would say that judo is a better sport for kids to get into because of its focus of standing up.”
Mastering judo, he added, naturally leads up to learning jiujitsu.
Although students learn skills that could “potentially be used to hurt somebody,” Greenfield said the last thing he wants to hear is that one of his students used their skills in a fight.
“We’re teaching how to be peaceful warriors; how to be warrior poets, too,” he said. “We’re trying to teach these kids how to be wiser.”
And classes aren’t just for kids. Adults can benefit from martial arts too.
“It’s kind of like the best weightlifting you could ever ask for because we’re twisting and talking and turning in ways that the human frame is meant to do,” Greenfield said. “It’s incredibly dynamic.”
The dojo is running a New Year’s resolution sale: $50 monthly for unlimited classes. Greenfield stated he is trying to keep prices low so he and his fellow instructors can help as many people as possible. He wants to keep the dojo accessible to everyone who wants to participate.
Below front row left to right, jiujitsu yellow-belt brothers Ben and Josh Metzger; behind, from left to right, Arizona Carlos Perez, Kaoru Matsumura and Karlee Alba. | Courtesy Mamoru Martial Arts
Mamoru Martial Arts will hold its grand opening at the new dojo, 155 East 2nd North, Rexburg, on Friday, Jan. 19, in the Rexburg Arts Center.
“It’s going to be a party all day,” Greenfield said.
The dojo will award scholarships to 10 Brigham Young University-Idaho students as part of their grand opening celebration. Greenfield is an adjunct professor at the university and hopes to allow some students to participate.
“I know college students don’t always have funds,” Greenfield said.
There will be music by a DJ all day on Jan. 19, he said. The music will continue into the evening. There will also be fitness activities for adults and games for kids. Greenfield recommends wearing something comfortable.
To learn more about Mamoru Martial Arts, or to sign up for a class, visit its website or Facebook page. You may also call (208) 557-3207.
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