A new Brazilian jiu-jitsu academy is operating out of what once was a squash court inside the former YMCA building on Peter Street North.
Bracebridge OPP officer Josh Dicks got into jiu-jitsu when he was 23 years old.
“I got into it from policing,” he explained. “There was a guy on my shift who is much smaller than me and he was able to take me down and keep me down.”
Dicks, a Barrie native, says that’s when he realized the effectiveness of jiu-jitsu, which is what prompted him to begin learning the techniques.
“It made me want to learn more about how I could protect myself at work,” he said. “I was on the road at that time, and I actually didn’t feel prepared with the training I had.”
Dicks tried to start up his new academy in 2020, but because of the pandemic, it couldn’t gain much traction until he opened Resolve Martial Arts Academy on Peter Street in February.
“We used to run out of a yoga studio, CrossFit, and Orillia Sports Medicine,” he explained. “Now that we actually have our own gym in Orillia, we have expanded programming and run classes seven days a week.”
Recently, the gym has grown to have over 40 students.
“I think it’s kind of organically happened,” said Dicks. “There just wasn’t really a Brazilian jiu-jitsu specific gym in the area.”
Dicks, 36, says Brazilian jiu-jitsu is unique compared to some of the other martial arts in town.
“It’s primarily a grappling and self-defence martial art,” he said. “We pride ourselves on a safe training environment where people aren’t going to get hurt.”
Dicks hopes members will leave his gym having improved both physical and mental strength.
“It’s a great exercise,” he said. “You also learn self-defence and I would argue that it gives you some mindfulness training as well because it gets you away from the regular stress of each day.”
When you can defend yourself, it can provide peace of mind, Dicks says.
“You aren’t going to walk around kind of unnecessarily scared about things,” he said. “It also gives you the confidence to defend yourself if you were ever to be attacked.”
To sign up for adult or children’s programs at Resolve Martial Arts Academy, click here.