Jiu-jitsu is one of the most common martial arts today, emphasizing self-defense teachings that can be used by almost anyone.

The Delaware Self-Defense Academy brings them to Dover, joining Middletown and Rehoboth Beach locations. A fourth location is expected soon in Milford.

“Authentic Gracie jiu-jitsu is what we teach and it’s literally for everyone, all shapes and sizes, male and female,” said owner and Gracie Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, Ronnie Wuest. “You don’t have to be in any special condition, even poor health is fine. We teach anyone how to defend themselves against the garden variety street attack.”

Gracie jiu-jitsu can be traced back to 1925 at the first Gracie Academy created by Carlos Gracie Sr. The focus is on teaching self-defense techniques for all through simple movements, practical techniques and realistic scenarios.

Wuest has over 30 years of experience in jiu-jitsu, mixed martial arts fighting, scholastic wrestling, and Muay Thai and traditional style boxing. Wuest is an instructor along with others who are just as qualified, ensuring a safe environment where a student will receive individual attention.

“Safety is our number one priority, we have over 600 students and our injury rate is so low it’s not even an issue,” Wuest said. “We keep classes small. If they’re full, programs have waiting lists. We have a very strict curriculum. Every instructor is extremely advanced and credentialed. We’ll have two to three instructors or even up to seven or eight instructors on the mat at one time. The student-instructor ratio is very low, so there are no free-for- alls. It’s a very organized, structured setting with a very low chance of injury.”

Much like joining a gym, getting involved in a martial arts program can be intimidating. However, jiu-jitsu is all about inclusion, which is the atmosphere at Delaware Self-Defense Academy.

“We’re sort of on the higher end, our professionalism is a little higher,” Wuest said. “Our average age is 37 years old. They’re doctors, realtors or even pizza delivery guys. Your social standing or income means nothing here. Once you put that gi on, everyone’s the same. We don’t allow that meathead type here. You won’t see that classic tapout shirt, UFC, guy.”

Delaware Self-Defense Academy offers classes for a variety of ages, including a year-long Top Team Youth Wrestling Club for ages 3 to 14, and a judo program.

For anyone interested in learning jiu-jitsu or hearing more, Wuest invites them to call or stop in. “They can definitely come in any time, just walk in and we have all the info here at the door,” Wuest said. “We also have an enormous amount of info on our website, or they can give us a call and make an appointment with an enrollment specialist who can answer any questions they may have.”

You can find more at delawarecombatsports.com, by calling (302) 531-6147, or by emailing Wuest at ronnie@delawarecombatsports.com