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A lot of people start to train because they live in the city; I started because I like to spend time outdoors. I prefer to hike alone and one of my regular activities includes mist-netting owls in the middle of the woods at night. While o soto gari may be of little use against a bear, coyote or bobcat, it will certainly help protect me from human predators. And the training experience does afford some safeguard against wildlife - I learned to stay alert and not get too absorbed or complacent in my surroundings; to consider potential threats and to take action to prevent them from occurring. Ju-jitsu works best when you don't have to use it at all. While I have not yet trained for long, my small exposure has given me that much more confidence and provided me with that much more of an advantage should I need it.
When considering where to train, I looked at a few places around Columbia, but this dojo attracted my attention because it was not focused around competition and seemed to concentrate instead on practical defense techniques. I also liked that the style of fighting is based on manipulation of your opponent's weight against them and requires little strength; since I'm a bit diminutive this appealed to me. Once I started attending I knew I made the right choice; I was surrounded by people who knew what they were doing and were patient with my shortcomings. I was never intimidated or afraid that I would get hurt, even by accident. The senseis ensure the atmosphere is geared towards safety and productiveness.
Erin trained with us in the summer of 2011 while home from college.