Sports Perspective: Local Jiu-Jitsu school flourishes in north Tucson - The Explorer: Sports

Sports Perspective: Local Jiu-Jitsu school flourishes in north Tucson

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Evan Hofmann

Posted: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 4:00 am

It was in January of 2011 that the lights at Tucson’s North Side Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu were first switched on for business. At the time, the gym was a fledgling dream of owner and brown belt Jiu-Jitsu instructor Sean Huff. Huff is as homegrown as it gets, graduating from Salpointe Catholic High School and attending the UofA where he walked on as a football player. Six years prior to his venture into owning a martial arts gym, tragedy struck Huff’s family when his sister, Sam Huff, gave her life in Operation Iraqi Freedom. This sent the Tucson native on a new life course. He became a man on a mission, determined to pave paths to truth, happiness, and a more fruitful life. 

Huff chose to use Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as a method of sharing his valuable knowledge with the community. It is a martial art that inherently idealizes discipline and humility. It is a method of self-defense that is as effectively mastered by practitioners who are small in size as it is by those who are large. This is one of the intriguing aspects of Jiu-Jitsu for Huff. In Jiu-Jitsu, an underdog has just as much a chance of victory as a larger and stronger adversary, as long as they use their brain. 

The initial mission of NSBJJ was to provide a revered jiu-jitsu school on the north end of Tucson in order to prove that the north side was not all about silver spoons and privileges. It is a common misconception that to be successful in sports such as jiu-jitsu, someone must be from a rough neighborhood. Huff wanted to prove once and for all that the kids and adults on this end of town were just as durable as anybody else.  And not only were they tough, but they were also smart, and could harness both of these qualities in order to turn heads in grappling competitions. In essence, NSBJJ was created with the intention of becoming something that north Tucson could become proud of.  

In the past two years, NSBJJ has boomed. The business recently relocated to a larger space at 6052 N. Oracle Road in order to accommodate the influx of students. Huff has brought in a team of noteworthy jiu-jitsu instructors, has set up nightly classes for both gi and no-gi students, and has become affiliated with other established Jiu-Jitsu schools, Tucson Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Pallaton Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy. 

The school has even reached out to community children through its kids program, which provides an environment of safe learning, while also instilling the instruction and discipline that is essential for mastering so sacred an art form.

NSBJJ has provided a mold of excellence for young jiu-jitsu practitioners. Since its formation, the school has brought home dozens of medals in grappling competitions, has promoted several students to higher ranked belts, and has become an overall staple in the jiu-jitsu community. The gym welcomes all new comers, offers law enforcement and military discounts, and even has a free trial week available through its website at

Continuing to turn more and more heads in the jiu-jitsu world, NSBJJ has continued to gain momentum, and word is beginning to spread. There is a new force to be reckoned with rising out of the north; not only a beacon of strength and testament to the tough spirit of the area, but also a great learning environment for children and adults alike. It is transforming members of the community from all walks of life into confident, disciplined, and skilled jiu-jitsu students. This is precisely what Huff sought to accomplish when he embarked on this new journey years ago, to become a molder of men, to give back to his community, and to push members of that community to their limits in order to find an inner resilience and valor that they never knew they had. 

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