A Protector of People

A Protector of People

Hope Clark, Design/ Student Life Editor

The intensity in the room was almost tangible while the students trained. The sound of heavy breathing and people colliding with the mats filled the air as their partners practiced the sweep technique previously demonstrated.

English teacher Paul Shabay teaches a Jiu-Jitsu class on Tuesdays from 6 to 7 p.m. at Hillside Community Church in Keller, which many Keller High School students attend. The classes will resume after finals next week.

“It’s a volunteer class for anybody that is new to Jiu-Jitsu and wants to come hang out and have fun and learn street Jiu-Jitsu,” Mr. Shabay said.

The class teaches self-defense and street fighting based on Gracie curriculum.

“We follow the originators of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and they put together a full curriculum of street fighting,” Mr. Shabay said. “So, hopefully, you would be able to defend yourself if any altercation ever happened.”

Mr. Shabay recommends the class for anyone who is new to Jiu-Jitsu and is not very trained.

“If you’re a beginner and want to learn and work your way toward a blue belt, then that is what we are trying to get,” Mr. Shabay said.

Students who want to earn a belt can do so through Mr. Shabay’s Jiu-Jitsu class.

“If you desire to, you can send videos in online to the Gracies,” Mr. Shabay said. “It’s called the Gracie Garage, so they teach you on the video and then you send them the video of your test. They will reward you a belt if you qualify.”

Mr. Shabay gives five minute demonstrations of techniques such as holds, locks, escapes, and sweeps, as well as ten minutes for students to practice before moving on to the next demonstration. The last twenty minutes of class are dedicated to rolling.

“When you do Jiu-Jitsu it is called rolling and kids will just do that and try to apply the things that they’ve learned throughout the class,” Mr. Shabay said.

A typical class has from 12 to 20 boys and girls who participate. Anyone can as long as they have a partner to practice with.

“Girls don’t roll with guys, but they’ve been welcome and it’s been fun.”

Mr. Shabay has twelve years of experience in Jiu-Jitsu after Gracie sparked his interest. He also has trained in Kempo and Krav Maga.

“I started watching the UFC and Royce Gracie and saw that he was beating up people that were twice his size,” Mr. Shabay said. “I thought it would be interesting. It’s a very cerebral sport, Jiu-JItsu. I also love the disciplinary aspect, the respect that comes along with it, and just the camaraderie and the team. All those things are important.”

People have offered to teach Mr. Shabay Jiu-Jitsu and volunteered to help him in his training.

“I decided to give back and offer the same thing to kids around here,” Mr. Shabay said. “It’s another outlet for kids that may be involved in extra-curricular activities.”

Mr. Shabay said that his experience working with high school students as an English teacher has benefited him in teaching Jiu-Jitsu.

“Learning to teach high school students from figuring out what goes on in high school students’ minds and remembering what it was like to be there myself has helped no doubt,” Mr. Shabay said. “It goes hand in hand.”

The Jiu-Jitsu class offers something for everyone involved in it.

“It offers me a chance to communicate with other people and just have fellowship,” Mr. Shabay said. “It offers discipline and self-control. It really does help you be a protector of other people.”