At the Encino branch of the chain of martial arts schools, instructor Juan Garcia recently offered an introduction in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, which he has been practicing for nearly 15 years.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu incorporates balance and leverage to manipulate the body and promote strength with the use of nonviolent techniques.
In the accompanying video, this so-called "gentle art" may not look so gentle. But it's just students struggling in an attempt to practice manipulating their bodies out of a confined situation.
"My body is stronger and more agile," said Encino resident Teri Reeves, who takes the class. "It's fun. I like rolling around on the ground and getting sweaty."
Bigger is not necessarily better when it comes to body size. With the right technique and balance, a smaller individual can overpower someone of a larger frame, Garcia said.
"It doesn't matter if you are small, big, a kid, or a girl," said Garcia. "It's all about the technique. A little guy can fight a big guy. As soon as you get on the ground you are at the same level."
If you would like to learn more about Brazilian jiu-jitsu, at 17263 Ventura Blvd. offers free introductory classes for men, women, children and adults.