HIGHLAND -- Jujutsu is subject to different interpretations, and even
"What we teach is kempo jujutsu," said Dale Hestermann, head instructor at
Highland Academy of Self Defense. "And we spell it j-u-j-u-t-s-u."
Despite its different spellings, the martial art has grown in popularity over
the last decade. That, in part, is due to the proliferation of full-contact and
submission fighting where combatants versed in "jujutsu" normally emerge as the
conquerors. But Hestermann believes that those who study it for the purpose of
getting an opponent to "tap out" are in for the wrong reasons.
"I don't think that's martial arts ... that's a macho thing, something people
do to enhance there ego," he said. "Martial arts is supposed to be for
defensive purposes. Getting someone to tap out is not too practical during
Although kicking and punching are applied in kempo jujutsu, Hestermann says
that it's not force against force.
"Rather, you use the force of your opponent to your advantage," he said. "If
they are coming at you, you just merely help them go to where they are headed.
That could into the wall behind you, or straight into the ground."
The ability to use an opponent's force makes jujutsu such an attractive form of
self defense to women. Hestermann, who says that women comprise of about 40
percent of his students, is now offering women's self defense and tai chi
classes at the Fitness Pointe in Munster.
"We believe the best way to teach self defense is to keep the training safe,"
Hestermann said. "There's no sense in hurting yourself while learning to defend
"That's where we differ from most schools, which are into tournaments, trophies
and board breaking. If you're worried about getting hurt, you're not going to
concentrate very well."
The family-owned business is in its sixth year. Among the other classes taught
there are aikido (a martial art related to jujutsu), and Seizan Ryu kickboxing.
"It's a coed class similar to cardiokickboxing," Hestermann said. "Except we
include resistance training use bags. That helps with muscle shaping."
With daughter Jordan Hestermann, and other assistant instructors which include
Wyatt Smith, Nanette Campos, Christine Seef, Criston Yahraus, Silvia Sullivan
and Robyn Pappenheim, Hestermann says that his school is often active from 8
a.m. to 10 p.m. during weekdays.
"I gave up a lot making a lot of money as a pipe fitter to do this full time,"
Hestermann says. "Helping people maintain a healthy lifestyle while improving
their self confidence makes it worthwhile."
* Highland Academy of Self Defense is located at 8929 Indianapolis Blvd. in
Highland. For more information, call 838-9875.