MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - -- Wayne Nelson doesn’t want just anyone for his Traditional Jujitsu Class aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. In fact many don’t make it through his class.
Promoted as a defensive and very painful martial art, Nelson teaches methods of self defense to Marines, dependents, retirees and civilian employees twice a week at Building 39, next to the Goettge Memorial Field House aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.
He isn’t looking for a specific level of athleticism, or those who need belts to tell them who they are. Nelson is looking for a different kind of strength.
Nelson is looking for those with strength of mind and character for his traditional jujitsu class.
Having a black belt in martial arts didn’t always mean a skilled fighter, in the past it meant a person was skilled in the basics of martial arts and could begin to practice to higher levels of proficiency along with being a model member of society, said Nelson.
Since 1997 Nelson trained people to reach the mastery of skills along with the strength of character of the martial artists of old. The curriculum begins with practicing techniques from a static position for months to master the fundamentals. Eventually students practice techniques against real knives, with blind folds and against multiple people, although not all at once. They also practice in dim, low-light conditions.
“We practice practically,” said Nelson. Nelson carries more than a name which seems to fit in an old western. He carries the demeanor of folklore cowboys with an intense gaze and a rough voice. “Jujitsu is always adapting. It has to adapt to the surroundings, conditions- the times. Samurais and ninjas practiced adaptation in their time, and we still do it now.”
His training takes a long time and it’s uncomfortable, some may even say painful.
“It’s like the Marine Corps,” said Nelson who retired from the Marine Corps as a gunnery sergeant after 22 years and has worked in the civil service for 16. “We train the way we fight. No fight is fair. People bite and gouge eyes- you name it, people do whatever they can to win.”
Nelson teaches how to hurt in self defense. While others teach how to take an opponent down, or practice using a lower intensity while fighting, Nelson teaches how to break joints.
“If I can break a wrist right off the bat, it’s one hand you’re not coming at me with,” said Nelson. “The way we teach is very painful.”
Nelson taught lieutenant colonels, privates and the children of high-ranking officers. His students vary. Whoever is interested is welcome to the course, and if his methods aren’t what the student is looking for he can lead them to a class more to their liking. If he can’t find one, he knows other martial artists who can.
“If you’re not going to take the time, don’t waste yours or mine,” said Nelson. “All it does is disrupt the class. It takes away from the other students.”
For those who are looking to learn new ways to defend themselves, the Traditional Jujitsu Class aboard the base is held Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30 to 9 p.m.
For more information call 451-4724 or 467-2393 or visit www.mccslejeune.com/martialarts.