Brazilian Jiujitsu Researcher

Uploaded by universityofiowa on 14.12.2012

Jason Clarke is a researcher for the University of Iowa. He worked his way up from a dishwasher
at a lab at the University of Michigan to become a full time researcher and scientist
and joined the University of Iowa staff in 2007. I do kidney research, molecular biology,
in the department of pediatrics. I study normal and abnormal kidney development in the molecular
level and genetic level. One of the research projects I work on is a very rare birth defect
that I stumbled on years ago in the mice I was working with. We were crossing mice together
for a certain reason, but we wound up recreating a birth defect that’s rare in humans. Nobody
was doing research on it. I had the mice that could duplicate it. We were going to try to
find the genetic causes of that birth defect in humans. It’s called bilateral renal agenesis.
In babies, they’re being born without either kidney. It’s a lethal birth defect. We’re
really the only research lab in the world that’s doing that research right now. Jason
loves his job. He is able to conduct cutting edge research for the University of Iowa and
works in an industry he enjoys. But Jason has another passion, one that not many of
his co-workers know about. He is the owner and head instructor at Iowa City Brazilian
Jujitsu, which is a form of marital arts. While he spends his days in a lab examining
microscopic proteins and DNA, he spends his nights at the gym, on a mat, teaching others
about Brazilian Jujitsu, which he has been involved in since he was a kid.I’ve been
in martial arts since I was 7. I don’t remember a life without some sort of martial art in
my life, all because of Bruce Lee probably. I didn’t grow up in the best neighborhoods,
so there as a necessity for it at the time, and I moved around a lot so I got beat up
a lot. So there was a necessity for martial arts in my life. Brazilian Jujitsu is a grappling
martial art developing in Brazil in the early 1900s. Using various holds, throws, takedowns,
chokes and strikes, BJJ is a method of self defense that doesn’t rely on strength or
power, but knowledge of leverage and anatomy to subdue an attacker. You’ll find that
most guys who do Brazilian Jujitsu tend to be a little bit more cerebral; they need more
of a mental challenge as well as a physical challenge. You really get that with bjj versus
any other martial art. BJJ provides a mental and physical workout.
That’s why Iowa senior Shane Burtzlaff got involved in the sport. He was looking for
something to keep him in shape after learning in high school that he couldn’t play football
anymore. The beginning of my senior year in HS, they found a cyst in my jaw that had eaten
away all the bone basically on this side of my jaw. They told me I couldn’t play football,
I couldn’t wrestle, and that’s when I started doing JJ and MT, which you would think
that sounds pretty stupid to start that after being told no contact. I could practice and
not compete or not spar and still learn technique. Shane trained and trained and was eventually
cleared to start competing in Mixed Martial Arts bouts. His overall record in 9-4, and
notices a benefit in the classroom after working out. When I leave this gym, I feel great,
physically, mentally. There will be days I don’t want to come and I’m tired, and
when I leave I feel great. I’m able to go and do homework. I’m a little bit more focused.
BJJ has also helped Jason outside of the gym as well. Part of BJJ is the ability to escape
a stressful situation, which can help in the lab, and in life as well. It carries over
off the mat too because you get to handle a stressful situation for somebody’s who’s
not used to it, but over time, they get used to being in that environment and they keep
a very cool head. And that will carry over off the mat when you’re negotiating for
a salary or you’re giving a presentation. I have to give PowerPoint presentations in
my day job and its nervous to get up there and talk in front of people. But then I remember
I can do things that make me nervous and keep a cool head. I do it all the time here.