ST. CLOUD -- A martial arts studio is coming soon to downtown St. Cloud.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy will be on the corner of 7th Avenue South and 1st Street South, across from Capital One. Owner and jiu jitsu professor Tim Barchard says many of the school's classes will focus on self defense.

"We'll be having women's self defense classes, safety programs, kids - stranger danger and safety programs, so there's going to be a lot offered to the people of the area self defense wise."

Barchard says the combat sport gained a following in the 1990s and it's not about how much muscle a person has but rather how developed their technique is.

"You know the small guy defended himself against all these big guys and proved that it's not about muscle and brawn it's about leverage and technique and that's the basis of our program that will be opening in St. Cloud is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu which will focus on not only getting people in shape but [also] self defense."

Barchard and his team also run other martial arts schools in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Florida. Some of his top students are from central Minnesota and suggested he open a gym in St. Cloud.

The facility is still under construction with plans to open by May 1.

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