Jenelle Codianne is just one test away from becoming the 22nd first-degree black belt at the Florida Jukido Academy.
Jenelle Codianne loves to throw people. Well, not like random people on the street, but her classmates at the Florida Jukido Academy. And sometimes her husband.
Codianne has been training in art of jukido jujitsu since 2011, and will earn her first-degree black belt after her final testing in July. She will be the 22nd person to earn that title since the dojo opened in 1999.
"Jukido translates into 'gentle flowing power,'" said Codianne, who loves her day job as the director of marketing at the Museum of Arts and Sciences. "You're using your attacker's momentum and combining it with yours to be able to throw them. It's a really beautiful and gentle art — if you're not using it for self defense."
During her training, Codianne — who has never thought of herself as "tough," — has learned how to disarm weapons and fight off multiple attackers among hundreds of other useful techniques. Though she got into jukido jujitsu more out of curiosity than a need to defend herself, Codianne said it does make her feel better knowing that she has the capability to take nearly anybody down.
"I feel way more self assured and empowered as a human being and a woman," she said. "I don't put myself in situations where I feel like I'd have to use it because I'm more self aware now. I hope I never have to use it outside the dojo."
Those situations pretty much include anywhere where she's alone and in the dark, like walking out of a store at night, digging for her keys and announcing that she has no idea where she parked. Codianne said she wishes everybody would take at least a few self defense classes so we'd all be better able to protect ourselves.
"Look at the world we live in right now," she said. "It's sad you have to think about these things and worry about them, but it's worth the knowledge."
George Rego, owner of the Florida Jukido Academy and Codianne's sensei, said it's because of her reliance on discipline versus motivation that makes her successful in her training.
"When I think of her, I think of intensity," he said. "She knows motivation comes and goes. She knows there are days where she doesn't want to get off the couch, but she does. She is ruled by the her discipline."
It's her discipline and pure love of the art form that makes other students fascinated when they watch her throw.
"She's 5’3 of intensity," Rego laughed. "She’s a firecracker, but if you talk to her, you never know that even the biggest guys in class shy away from fighting her. She's no joke."