Students in the Carbondale Park District jujitsu (sometimes spelled jiu jitsu) program learn a martial art focused entirely upon self-defense in the modern world. This learning begins with weaponless escapes and counters and progresses to improvised weapons commonly carried during everyday circumstances.

Carbondale Park District students learn the Mushin Ryu style of jujitsu, developed by Professor David Bellman and brought to Southern Illinois from Southern California by Sensei Mark Hurling. (Other teachers outside Southern California include Patrick Weeks in Fort Smith, Arkansas.) Mark Hurling, a second-degree black belt, has taught at the Carbondale Park District since 2017.

Beginner sessions run Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. at the LIFE Community Center. They’re open to students 10 and older, including adult students. Sessions cost $40 for residents and $50 for non-residents. The beginning class assumes that students have no experience with martial arts of any kind.

As the beginner progresses, they may attend an advanced class on Fridays at 5:30 p.m.

Students also have the option to crosstrain in the Carbondale Park District’s aikido and karate programs.

Our Curriculum

Students begin by learning how to fall more safely while minimizing the potential for injury. Then, during the next few weeks, they learn escapes, counters, and strikes to defend against grabs and chokes.

As students progress, the techniques become more complex. In addition, the students begin to learn the elements of teaching. The Mushin Ryu system develops student teaching abilities on the premise that while some martial arts practitioners can become quite skilled in the art, they sometimes lack the ability and skills to impart that knowledge to others.

The Carbondale Park District jujitsu program introduces other elements as students advance in rank. This includes throws and more strikes with hands and feet. In addition, students learn joint locks and control holds that allow them to disengage from the attacker and take them down or escape.

In the intermediate belt ranks, Carbondale Park District jujitsu students learn chokes, strangles, and the control needed to disable an attacker safely. Then, the defender can escape and summon further assistance.

Mushin Ryu jujitsu is primarily a standing art. Students also learn how to defend themselves from further attacks if they should fall or an attack takes them to the ground. It emphasizes stopping or escaping from the attack and getting back on your feet again.

Advanced students in the Carbondale Park District jujitsu program learn to use weapons to protect themselves. Students learn to use everyday objects such as flashlights, canes, umbrellas, and knives.

The Carbondale Park District jujitsu program encourages students and practitioners to ask questions and think outside the box of the arts and techniques we teach. Mushin Ryu jujitsu is a living art developed from a fusion of several other martial arts. It is not fixed in how to perform a technique or in how it incorporates new techniques, and it discards old, ineffective techniques.

In addition to learning how to strike, Carbondale Park District jujitsu students learn where to strike. They also learn what makes striking at particular vital areas and nerve centers effective. This requires them to learn about human anatomy and physiology and the location of nerve meridians as taught in Asian medicine. This includes learning some healing and restorative arts and techniques along with the destructive points used to counter an attack. This knowledge imparts another dimension in self-protection and helping others in need.

While students learn techniques, they also learn the importance of working with others to apply and perform them. Students cannot effectively learn or perform Mushin Ryu jujitsu in a vacuum—they need a partner to know how to move correctly and when a technique is or is not working. During that process, students learn respect for others. This includes learning the limits of how far they can move another’s body within ranges of discomfort when controlling an attack and subduing an attacker. Students learn how to control a technique and when to halt it to avoid unnecessary damage or pain.
Carbondale Park District jujitsu students achieve promotions by demonstrating the correct performance of these techniques on another person. This can include the instructor, because often the technique may look correct but may not be correct. It may fail to produce an effective control or disable a partner simulating an attack. The movement must work or it is meaningless in a real-world engagement.

Below are the belt and rank requirements in the Carbondale Park District jujitsu program:

White Belt

  • Breakfalls
  • Escapes from wrist grabs
  • Escapes from chokes
  • Basic strikes

Blue Belt

  • Escapes from wrist grabs
  • Escapes from bear hugs
  • Takedowns

Blue Belt 1st Degree

  • Escapes from chokes
  • Escapes from shoulder grabs
  • Escapes from lapel grabs
  • Leg-sweep takedowns

Blue Belt 2nd Degree

  • Escapes from headlocks
  • Escapes from body scissors
  • Handshake holds
  • Escapes from bear hugs
  • Escapes from hair grabs
  • Counter to a tackle attempt

Purple Belt

  • Escapes from hair grabs
  • Counters to pushes and shoves
  • Counter to shoulder grab
  • Defenses against hammerlocks
  • Defense against spinning back kicks
  • Takedowns

Purple Belt 1st Degree

  • Finger controls
  • Wrist locks
  • Armbars
  • Advanced strikes
  • Nerve center attacks

Purple Belt 2nd Degree

  • Advanced escapes from grabs
  • Projecting ki

Green Belt

  • Strangles
  • Chokes
  • Pins and immobilizations
  • Defenses and attacks with the yawara short stick

Brown Belt 3rd Degree

  • Takedowns to controlling the attacker pinned to the ground
  • Leg locks
  • Strangles
  • Neck breaks
  • Defenses against guns
  • Baton

Brown Belt 2nd Degree

  • Combination techniques
  • Ground techniques
  • Club defenses

Brown Belt 1st Degree

  • Demonstrate the entire Jujitsu Self Defense Course at an appropriate level of proficiency
  • Demonstrate the entire White Belt Program at an appropriate level of proficiency.
  • Demonstrate the entire Blue Belt Program at an appropriate level of proficiency.
  • Demonstrate the entire Purple Belt Program at an appropriate level of proficiency.
  • Demonstrate the entire Green Belt Program at an appropriate level of proficiency.
  • Demonstrate the entire Brown Belt Program at an appropriate level of proficiency.
  • Demonstrate your understanding of the 30 Principles and Concepts of the Mushin Ryu Jujitsu System and demonstrate them by technique.
  • Demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of:
  • Teaching methodology.
  • Basic first aid.
  • Dojo rules and regulations.
  • Conflict resolve and resolution.
  • Psychological elements of jujitsu.
  • Dangers and risks of nerve, pressure point, choking, and strangling.
  • Have a positive attitude with an open mind for further learning and training.

Sign up Today for Our Carbondale Park District Jujitsu Classes

For more information or to register for the Carbondale Park District’s jujitsu class, you can call the LIFE Community Center at (618) 549-4222 during business hours or you can sign up online at any time.

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