Steamboat Springs Steamboat Springs native Nate Daughenbaugh first fell in a love with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in San Diego and was able to continue the passion for a year in Korea.
After completing his veterinarian training, there was something missing when he moved back to the Yampa Valley.
“I immediately started looking for Jiu-Jitsu, but no one else did it,” says Daughenbaugh, a former U.S. Marine. “I wanted to continue training, and the best way to do that is to have other people to train with.”
Daughenbaugh decided to start a club. It started small with Daughenbaugh and Dave Marrs training on four small mats. The club has grown, and today takes over the Manic Training gym for 90 minutes every Monday and Wednesday evening.
“We’re just here to have fun and learn,” Daughenbaugh says.
Internationally televised mixed martial arts fighting matches have exploded the popularity of the sport and illustrate that fighting is not just about strength and power.
“Jiu-Jitsu is all about the small guy beating the big guy,” says Blake Ingerick, who came into the sport with a background in wrestling. “It’s all about form.”
According to the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation, Jiu-Jitsu is thought to have started in India by Buddhist monks.
“Concerned with self-defense, these monks created techniques based upon principles of balance and leverage, and a system of manipulating the body in a manner where one could avoid relying upon strength or weapons,” the organization states.
Japan’s Esai Maeda Koma in 1915 brought the art to Brazil, where Carlos Gracie picked it up as a teenager. In 1925, Gracie opened the Academia Gracie de Jiu-Jitsu in Rio de Janeiro.
Gracie and his brothers evolved the sport to make it more focused on ground fighting and submission techniques, and it took on the name Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Training in Steamboat starts with Daughenbaugh leading a warm-up followed by a session focused on specific moves, such as choking techniques. The main set is aerobically intense and consists of repeated two- or three-minute sparring rounds.
The club has attracted a variety of students.
Erik Powers, a 16-year-old Steamboat Springs High School student, discovered Jiu-Jitsu when he was forced to stop playing football after suffering his second concussion.
“I’ve been getting pinned and choked ever since,” Powers says.
The club is primed for growth, and Daughenbaugh encourages anyone who wants to try it to email him at email@example.com.