Jonathan Bossenger and Infinitus Jiu Jitsu

Welcome 2015!! Already the year has presented us with so much new ventures. Female fighters joining EFC! (Boooom! That's what I'm talking about.) And Connor McGregor saying that he will be Vice President of the UFC! #hahaha.

Jonathan Bossenger

Since I have been working throughout the holidays things have been kind of linear for me. From last year, straight into this year without a break. I have been thinking about how to start off the year and with that in mind, I would like to introduce you introduce to Jonathan Bossenger.

Now, MMA as we know is a combat sport that uses striking and grappling techniques. Although many of us are familiar with striking, not so many know what grappling entails (strangely enough).

Recently I visited Infinitus Jiu Jitsu. This Jui Jitsu academy is located in Durbanville, Western Cape run by head coach and owner Jonathan Bossenger. Bossenger has been training with James Smart at GJJ CT (Gracie Jiu Jitsu Cape Town) since 2008 and is currently a purple belt. One of the first things that I picked up on when entering their gym was the amount of energy that these guys were giving off. You could see and feel the excitement coming from the students and once the class started everyone was in focus and energised.

“I don't have a huge competition record but I've competed in the following tournaments, Cape of Storms Nationals, Renzo Gracie Invitational - bronze in my weight division and Cape Classic......” – Jonathan Bossenger

Bossenger was kind enough to share with us his views on Jiu Jitsu and speak to us about his dojo.

MMAFundi: Hi Jonathan, thanks for taking time out to speak to us. I know that you primarily focus on Jiu Jitsu.

Give me your view on what Jiu Jitsu or Brazillian Jui Jitsu (BJJ) is to you?
Bossenger : Hi Justin, firstly thanks for having me. For me, Jiu Jitsu/Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu/Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is one of the most effective forms of self defence an average Joe like myself can learn and practice today. It is a style of fighting that uses timing, leverage and good technique to control and defeat a bigger, stronger or faster opponent.

According to you, what is the difference between BJJ and GJJ?
Bossenger: From a technical point of view, there is no real difference. If you learn from a school that calls itself a BJJ school or from a school that calls itself a GJJ school, you will learn all the same techniques. The difference comes in when you look at the mindset of the training. The GJJ schools, specifically those aligned with the Gracie Academy (Rorion, Ryron, Rener) are focused on self defence first, and then sport/MMA later. Their objective is to teach you how to use BJJ to defend yourself in a fight, before you learn how to take gold in a competition or start your career in MMA.

How and why did you get involved in BJJ?
Bossenger: It’s a long story, so I will try and keep it brief.
I was what you could call a 'gentle giant' growing up. Big and strong, but with little confidence or fighting ability.
At school I was picked on and when fights happened I would always come off second best. I was however a huge fan of movies like the Karate Kid so as soon as I was able to I enrolled for Karate classes.
This started me on a journey of discovery into the martial arts that led well into my early 20's. I studied karate, kickboxing, judo, jiu jitsu (Japanese style), and even kung fu.

While I learned a lot, I never really felt 100% convinced that what I was learning was useful in a self defence situation. There was always some doubt as to the effectiveness of what I was learning.
This become more obvious when I actually tried to use what I learned to defend myself, and it failed.

The only style that starting making sense for self defence was the Japanese jiu jitsu I did. The sensei moved from JHB to Cape Town to open his dojo. For the first time I felt like I was learning techniques that actually would work in a fight, as it presented a more rounded approach to fighting.
What was interesting to me however was that, as a big person, I could use my size as an advantage against other students who had trained for longer and still simply overpower them.
This made me realise that a more effective martial art would be one where size didn't matter.
At about the same time as this the sensei closed the school to move overseas and I was left looking for another place to train. Finding good jiu jitsu schools with qualified instructors and a focus on self defence in the northern suburbs of Cape Town at that time was hard.

One day my training partner, who lives in Melkbos, saw a billboard for the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu school in Parklands. We decided to check it out.
The intro class blew me away. There I was, weighing probably 40 - 50 kg more than the instructor, and no matter what I tried, I couldn't throw him off my mount, or get out from under his mount.
He also showed me their variation of a technique I had already learned in the Japanese jiu jitsu class, and how much more effective it would be if I made one or two small changes.
I signed up on the spot and I haven't looked back.

How long has your dojo been around?
Bossenger: We opened early March 2014, so just under a year.

What kind of people would you advise to train in BJJ? (age and gender)
Bossenger: Anyone, regardless of age or gender. I have 4 year olds who take part in the children's class and the oldest person I know who trains, is over 50. I've heard of students in the states who are starting at 60. In our adult class we have two married couples who train together and a family (dad, mom and the children) who train.
If you can get to the school, you can learn jiu jitsu.

What are the advantages of learning BJJ?
Bossenger: I won't speak for others, but for me the advantages are numerous. Stress release, improved fitness and flexibility, self defence ability, improved confidence, improved mindset, the list goes on.
I've lost (and maintained that loss) over 20kg purely because of my jiu jitsu training.  I've experienced and heard stories of people who have defended themselves from attacks using jiu jitsu. I've spoken to students who have recovered from depression because of jiu jitsu.
The other day I read an article about a specialist who deals with people who suffer from anxiety. He happens to also be a jiu jitsu instructor. He teaches his clients jiu jitsu, specifically learning defences to chokes. When they learn to defend a choke and the mindset to that goes along with that, they learn how to apply the same mental strategies to fighting their anxiety attacks.
Jiu Jitsu is one of the few arts where you can apply your techniques to a fully resisting opponent at 100% of your capabilities, get the tap and know that it will work when you need it.

What tournaments do you guys usually take part in?
Bossenger: Because we are a school focused on self defence we tend not to live for competitions, but last year a few students entered the jiu jitsu portion of the Destiny Tournament as well as the Mother City Winter Open.
One of the guys even took home gold (gi) and bronze (no gi) for his weight category.
We also have a friendly rivalry with Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Cape Town, so we are invited to their in bi annual in house tournament. At the last one one of my students took gold in his category, another took bronze and I took gold in mine.
This was also the day I received my purple belt.
One of my goals for 2015 is to get Infinitus Jiu Jitsu more involved in the competition scene.

What is your favourite move?
Bossenger: The triangle choke from the guard. I get to lay on my back and choke the guy out with my legs. It leaves my hands free for punching, or transferring to an arm lock, which is my second favourite technique.

Is there anything you would like us to know about yourself or your dojo?
Bossenger: I've said pretty much everything I can think of. We're a friendly bunch of jiu jitsu students who love the art and everything about it. If you want to learn some jiu jitsu and you live close to the school or you train somewhere else and you just want to visit, please drop by.



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