ELKO — For gym owner Chris Myers, Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a lifestyle.

“It’s a beautiful art — it really is,” he said. “... I’m gonna do jiu-jitsu until I’m dead.”

Myers moved to Elko from Reno, where he had been studying Brazilian jiu-jitsu for seven years. Just two weeks ago, he opened Straight Blast Gym Elko to offer it locally for the first time.

“There was no Brazilian jiu-jitsu here,” Myers said.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a martial art for self-defense that focuses on ground fighting.

“It only works if there’s a resisting opponent,” Myers said.

The Brazilian style of jiu-jitsu differs from that in Japan. Japanese jiu-jitsu focuses mainly on the take-down, said co-instructor Seth Rice. In Brazilian jiu-jitsu, the focus is a lot broader, he said.

“These guys are basically wrestling with an emphasis on submission holds,” Myers said. “... It’s only over when they submit.”

Myers has lived in Elko for seven months and works as an electrician for Nevada Department of Transportation. He collaborated with Rice to open the gym, which offers both children and adult classes.

“This was my hobby,” Myers said. “I truly love it and want to share it with everybody.”

There are about 20 students in the adult classes, which take place 5-7 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday and 6-8 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. The children’s classes, for ages 6-12 years, take place noon to 1 p.m. daily. Myers said he hopes to add a beginners’ class by early next week.

Both men and women are welcome to sign up. It isn’t strength-based, but is based on leverage and positions, Myers said.

Before opening the gym, Myers had been practicing with a few others in the area. Seven attended the Northwest Submission Challenge earlier this year, where they won 10 medals.

Straight Blast Gym is an international organization, and Myers said he can bring in others in the organization for seminars. Anyone wishing to join the local gym can attend one week for free.

Straight Blast Gym Elko is located at 557 W. Silver St., Suite 202. For information, call Myers at 775-313-8058, Rice at 397-7170 or email sbgielko@gmail.com.

It also has a fan page on Facebook.

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