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Jujitsu students practice self defense techniques during a class at building 39, next to the Goettge Memorial Field House, aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Nov. 7. Classes are held Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Photo by Cpl. Charlie Clark

Jujitsu students prove strength through pain

7 Nov 2013 | Cpl. Charlie Clark

It has been said often around the Marine Corps pain is weakness leaving the body, and students of Wayne Nelson’s Traditional Jujitsu classes at building 39, next to the Goettge Memorial Field House aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, know what it feels like.

Nelson’s class teaches self defense techniques to quickly stop an attacker and get out of dangerous situations.

“We all have been in a dangerous situation before,” Nelson said. “Knowing how to defend yourself is paramount to your survival.”

Nelson teaches the techniques in realistic ways compared to other martial arts classes.

Along with traditional weapons, students train with other objects such as chairs, tables and other students. Training is also conducted in low-light to simulate a nighttime attack.

“You never know where or when you will be in a situation that requires you to defend yourself,” said Nelson. “Marines train how they fight, and that’s exactly what we do. If I can break a wrist or an arm, then that is one less thing you can attack me with. I’ll be able to stop the fight and get out of there fast.”

Participants of the class don’t have to be the most athletically skilled, but must show dedication to learn and grow as martial artists.

“One of the first things I have potential students do is have some of the basic moves done to them just so they know how painful it can be,” Nelson said. “I’m not interested in taking people’s money. I want to train people who can handle the training.”

Nelson trains students physically, but also works on strengthening one’s character as well.

“It’s like a family here with my students,” Nelson said. “We train for years with each other, and everyone knows everyone else. It’s a good atmosphere to train in, because you can trust the guy or girl next to you.”

As a retired gunnery sergeant with 22 years of service and an 18-year civil service worker, Nelson is a role model for his students, from the newest white belt to the most experienced black belt.

“I started with the idea of just wanting to better myself as a person, get into shape and know how to defend myself,” said Nick Dowden, a Jujitsu student. “This has become a big part of my life because of the mentorship from Nelson and the other instructors.”

Nelson has taught troops ranging from lieutenant colonels to privates and civilians. The class is not limited to service members, but only accepts those who can take the pain from the training regime. If the students can take the pain, they can train.

Classes are held Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

For more information, visit or call 451-4724 or 467-2393.

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