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"I learned to stay alert, consider potential threats, take preventive action"
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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.

The writer trained with us in the summer of 2011 while she was home from college.