Lifting Inspirations and Charlotte Jiu-jitsu Academy have partnered to host Wrestlejitsu, a kid’s summer camp focused on teaching the fundamentals of wrestling and Jiujitsu to boys of the age of 10 to 16 years old. The summer camp will be located at Charlotte Jiu-jitsu Academy in the NODA area of Charlotte, North Carolina from July 11th to 15th. Coaching the summer camp will be Trey Rhodes and Jaylen Rhoney. Jiu-jitsu and Wrestling are excellent choices when it comes to Marital arts as they not only empower kids but also help teach discipline and fitness. All proceeds will go to helping develop the Lifting Inspirations program.

The Coaches’ Wrestling and Jiu-jitsu Journey

Rhodes and Rhoney wrestled together throughout high school under the leadership of Coach Kevin Waters. Rhodes and Rhoney both went to wrestle in College for Campbellsville University. Trey Rhodes would become D2 nationally ranked and an NAIA All-American wrestler. Both have moved on to competing in Jiu jitsu under Charlotte Jiu-Jitsu Academy and have placed first in multiple International Brazillian Jiu jitsu Federation tournaments. Jaylen became a purple belt in December 2020 and Trey received his blue belt in the Summer of 2021, both belts given by Coach John James Piper. Rhoney and Rhodes are no strangers to coaching, alongside Coach Waters, they helped develop kids into successful wrestlers in Georgia. Using that blueprint Coach Waters provided to them, they hope to replicate that program in Charlotte, North Carolina. In addition to developing successful wrestlers, they have added a spin on things by adding elements of Jiu-jitsu into the mix. The reason is that not only do certain elements of jiu-jitsu supplement wrestling but it also provides another path for kids to follow. By introducing jiu-jitsu now, they are more likely to stay active in the off-season or after their wrestling career ends. Rhodes and Rhoney aim to become mentors to kids on and off the mat.

About Charlotte Jiu-jitsu Academy

Charlotte Jiu-Jitsu Academy is an unaffiliated jiu-jitsu school that began in 2014 by Coach Piper. One of his goals for the school was to provide world-class Jiu-jitsu to the Charlotte area. The school aims to help people learn Jiu-jitsu, gain confidence, improve overall health, and provide a welcoming community. Coach Piper provides a learning environment that anyone can adapt to rather you are a hobbyist or a competitor. He hopes to expand these concepts to youth, starting off with the Wrestlejitsu Summer camp.

About Lifting Inspirations

Lifting Inspirations is a set of youth-empowering programs and services. Lifting inspirations was created by Dr. Laurie Garo and the mission is to inspire young male confidence, character, leadership, and community-building through weightlifting and mentorship by qualified trainers. The program utilizes a trauma-responsive and culture-affirming approach to help male youth to overcome potentially traumatizing life adversities.

About Jiujitsu and Wrestling

Martial arts such as Jiujitsu and Wrestling contribute to the physical and mental health and wellness components of our programs. Martial arts promote physical and psychological well-being and have been utilized as therapy for maladaptive behaviors among children and adolescents, and for improving self-esteem and academic performance. (Truitt, 2013). Martial arts may be considered a form of
cognitive-behavioral therapy in that it provides a safe environment for facing and overcoming fearful experiences, building relationships, and encourages change in the ways students think and behave, especially in regards to aggression and other disruptive conduct resulting from trauma (Vargas, 2019). Students learn to share challenges, interact respectfully, and communicate with others in a positive manner (Truitt, 2013; Vargas, 2019).

The key therapeutic elements of martial arts are the teacher as a role model, the
philosophy of ethical behavior, the use of physical exercise, and group participation. The goal is to develop a respectful attitude, spiritual clarity, physical skill, and an understanding of the body including its physical actions and connection to the mind. Among boys living in environments that glorify violence, Martial Arts “…combines breathing, movement, balance, focus and coordination to help boys learn to stay in control and avoid danger… to reduce the anger and panic that may emerge when the boys are faced with daily conflict, and to help them avoid behavior that may have placed them in danger in past incidents.” (Stevenson,, 2003, p 116).

Martial Arts thus forms a logical approach to instilling character education in children, especially those who are hypervigilant or self-defensive from chronic exposure to violence. Like weight training and yoga, martial arts involve a mind-body connection; this requires emotion regulation and relationship building among practitioners of the art form. Within martial arts are controlled breathing exercises that counter hypervigilance or “fight, flight and/or freeze” responses typical among traumatized youth. Controlled breathing and meditation help regulate emotions, improve concentration and awareness of one’s surroundings, and increase the ability to focus one’s attention. The healing effects of such movement address fatigue, depression, anxiety and stress (Vargas, 2019).

Other physiological benefits of martial arts include improved balance and musculoskeletal and cardiorespiratory health, stress reduction, enhanced sleep and cognitive functioning and strengthening of the immune system. Martial Arts are thus an active and participatory form of artistic therapy that connects the mind with the body by involving meditation and deep concentration along with physical activity and creative combinations of dance-like movement (Camilleri, 2007).

Camilleri, V., ed. (2007). Healing the Inner City Child: Creative Arts Therapies with At-Risk
Youth. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Philadelphia: PA
Stevenson, H. C., Jr., ed. (2003). Playing with Anger: Teaching Coping Skills to African
American Boys through Athletics and Culture. Praeger, Westport: CN.

Truitt, M.J. (2013). Defend yourself from trauma. ProQuest LLC, Ann Arbor: MI.
Vargas, A.G. (2019). Psychological effects of training in Martial Arts after interpersonal
trauma. ProQuest LLC, Ann Arbor: MI.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check out Dr.Garo’s new book “The Superhero in Me”