New students at Troy University are faced with a question: “What is there to do in Troy, Alabama?”
While students often spend their downtime hanging out with friends, Troy does have an opportunity for those looking for a bit more action.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Self Defense of Troy, located downtown on the square, is one answer to the question. People can stay in shape there while learning self-defense.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), a form of martial arts, focuses on grappling and ground fighting. BJJ fighters rely on choke-holds and joint-locks, such as the kimura or guillotine, to force their opponents into submission, rather than kicks or punches.
Kent Sublett, a four-stripe brown belt in BJJ under Samuel Puccio, opened his current gym in January. Sublett travels to Birmingham to train with Puccio on a regular basis, and he also trains with top-level instructors and competitors.
“I’ve been in Troy for 15 years,” Sublett said. “I first started training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu out of the back of a gym and pretty much in basements and garages. I wanted to take it to a larger audience. With the college being here, it brings something good for the students.”
The large number of college students allows Sublett to train with partners who will push him.
“I’m still competitive. I like to compete,” Sublett said. “Having the college here with a lot of younger athletes will help push you.”
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is not only for athletes and young adults, though.
“Most of these kids, they played high school football or baseball, they probably played a lot of sports,” he said. “When you get to college, not everyone is going to be that collegiate athlete.”
Sublett believes that BJJ is a healthy alternative to the typical college party scene.
“I came and visited Troy, and honestly, I thought it was going to be this Podunk, little dump-of-a-school, because I didn’t know anything about it,” said Abby Parks, an undeclared freshman from Birmingham. “Then I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this place is actually beautiful, and the buildings are really nice.’ The people here are always really friendly.”
Parks said that she thinks that Troy could improve in one area.
“I think Troy needs better food,” Parks said. “More food options that are healthy because there are not many. Troy in general needs to build more restaurants, because downtown is huge; it just needs more stuff for college students.”
When asked what she does in Troy, she said, “I’m a really social person, and I get my energy off of people, so I hang out with people and we’ll go and play tennis or other sports. We watch movies, we go to events on campus like international events. I love that it’s an international campus. I love meeting internationals.”
Chris Burkhalter, a 2009 Troy graduate from Ashland, also invested his time with people.
“Troy has probably changed a good bit since I was there,” Burkhalter said. “We hung out at people’s houses a lot. We never really had a real practical plan, and that allowed you to make a lot of good informal friendships.”
Burkhalter believes that Troy is like any other college town, and if students want to have a good time, they will.
“Troy does not really need any specific new additions,” Burkhalter said. “I think that if you invest yourself with people, Troy can be a really great place. I think the town being small, where basically the college makes up the town, gives you a real opportunity to do that in a sort of relaxed atmosphere.”
For more information about individual rates, contact Kent Sublett at (334) 372-2121 or visit the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Self Defense of Troy Facebook page or website, bjjtroy.com.