Coach Annie Ramirez (Extreme L) and students from the BJJ for Deaf Youth Philippines at the Arte Suave Manila 2019 held here in Alabang on October 19 and 20.
Facebook/BJJ for the Deaf Youth Philippines
Jiu-jitsu for deaf youth in Philippines: Breaking barriers through martial arts
Luisa Morales (Philstar.com) - October 19, 2019 - 12:25pm

MANILA, Philippines — Filipino deaf youth in Pasay are using the martial art of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu (BJJ) to overcome their disability.

While teaching able-bodied students in Clube de Jiu Jitsu, Filipino Jiu-jitsu ace Annie Ramirez was inspired to impart the sport to youth from the nearby Philippine School for the Deaf.

"Sa gym namin dun sa may Pasay, may malapit na school for the deaf. Narealize ko na bakit hindi ko turuan yung mga bata na may ganong kapansanan," Ramirez said in an interview with Philstar.com.

Ramirez encouraged the use of the martial art as a form of self defense and physical exercise, keeping the students' safety and health in mind.

"I know naman na yung mga regular people nga ay nabubully, paano pa kaya yung mga hindi nakakarinig, hindi nakakapagsalita," she said.

"Narealize ko rin along the way na good workout for them [ang Jiu Jitsu]," she added.

Ramirez created a community of deaf jiujiteiros called BJJ for the Deaf Youth PH in January of this year, with the help of one of her BJJ students who happened to teach at the school for the deaf.

"Sabi ko [sakanya] gusto ko magstart ng program ng Jiu Jitsu for the deaf. Eventually nakapag gather siya ng students," Ramirez said.

Around 15 students consistently attend her classes, but a number also come and go by batches every few months.

Apart from the physical benefits of the sport, Ramirez also sees Jiu Jitsu helping her deaf students in dealing with confidence and self esteem.

"Nakita ko na nagkaron sila ng more confidence sa sarili nila," she said.

"Nung first competition nila against sa hearing tinanong namin sila 'ano pakiramdam niyo, tingin niyo ba may difference between nakakarinig at saka sa hindi?' Sabi nila hindi, same lang... gusto kong makita nila na kahit wala silang makarinig, kaya nila sumabay sa iba," she added.

But the 28-year-old mentor is also careful with her students, as to not let the art of BJJ be used for anything harmful.

"Tinitignan namin kung yung mga students na yun ay okay turuan magjiu jitsu, especially yung mga hindi nangbubully," Ramirez said.

"Kasi ginawa ko nga to para matulungan yung mga bata na nabubully so we screen them bago namin turuan. Tinitignan namin yung personality ng bata... mahirap din na baka gamitin nila sa masama," she added.

The deaf jiujiteiros are now on their third competition this year at the Arte Suave Manila 2019 in Alabang, with seven participants across different weight divisions.

But even further than that, Ramirez has big goals for the community she has built.

"For me, its not impossible for one of them to be in the national team someday. Ayun yung mga nilolook forward ko," Ramirez said.

"Yung mga bata naman masisipag. Para sakin, kung masipag ka... walang imposible kahit deaf ka," she said.

Ramirez is a decorated jiujiteiro during her collegiate and professional career.

Most recently, she clinched a gold medal in the Abu Dhabi World Pro held April this year.

BRAZILIAN JIU JITSU
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