The JSU Judo/Jujitsu Club was founded by Grandmaster Larry Beard. Grandmaster Beard came to JSU in the year 1999, but it wasn’t until 2001 that he founded the club.
“We’ve been around for about 11 years,” said Beard. “We’ve got quite a few people that attend regularly.”
The club meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:00 to 7:30 PM in Pete Mathews’ Coliseum dance hall.
For this meeting, about seven students were in attendance. Five of the attendees were regular members, and two of them were there for the first time.
“This is my first time coming here,” said Math student Georgie Marsh. “I work at a lifeguard at the pool and I see these guys walking around in their uniforms all the time. Since I was free tonight, I figured I’d come and see what it was about.”
Ms. Marsh hit the ground running: her first task was to learn how to hit the floor properly.
The training was vigorous, as she soon learned. After Grandmaster Beard showed her the technique, he worked extensively with her to ensure her mastery of it. While she was getting her feet wet, the other members were on the mat practicing Judo throws.
“It’s a really good stress reliever,” remarked Anniston City Police Officer and club member Logan Harrelson, “and its very beneficial for anyone wanting to know more about self defense.”
The members took turns on the mat practicing the Judo technique of throwing. Their system was a system of give and take: to earn the right to throw someone, you also have to be thrown. However, before you can do either, you have to learn the proper way to do both to ensure your safety and the safety of your partner.
After she was done with her training, Ms. Marsh joined the rest of the group over by the mat. She lined up shyly in the back of the line. After she was called to the mat, the Grandmaster and the others carefully instructed her on how to perform the "Tsuri-Goshi", one of the original Judo throws.
After her first try, she then proceded to practice the move on the other members. When asked how it felt, she whispered excitedly, "I actually liked it. It kinda felt like, 'rawr'."
She then took her place in line to continue the activity.
Although the ratio of men to women in the room was 3 to 1, the women who participated were not intimidated. They showed the same amount of strength and resilience that the men in the room showed.
Even in this environment, chivalry was not dead. As Marsh was waiting in line for her turn to be thrown on the mat, the gentleman in front of her, whom the others affectionately called "Bloom", stepped to the side and graciously told her, "Ladies first."