ODESSA, Texas — Governor Greg Abbott signed HB 446 into law after it carried unanimously in both the state house of representatives and the state senate.
Sports like Mixed Martial Arts teach people discipline. It also teaches skills to defend yourself and deescalate a potentially dangerous situation.
With weapons like brass knuckles and clubs becoming legal in Texas in September, NewsWest 9 decided to look at how effective a body can be when it's up against a weapon that could cause serious bodily harm.
“Sometimes you get in these altercations, some people are either drunk or are on some kind of substance; you don’t necessarily understand what’s going on so you’re just trying to contain and control the situation,” said Ruben Hernandez, a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu coach at Vagabond MMA in Odessa.
Athletes like Emily Oliff are able to feel more comfortable with their surroundings as they develop the skills to protect themselves and others.
“Our town is... so many people and you hear so many stories everyday and its just nice to know that you have those tools in your pocket that if something were to happen that you could defend yourself.”
The tools Emily has aren't tools you have to keep in your pocket- because they're skills she learned practicing Jiu Jitsu.
“Within the year that I’ve done jiu jitsu and I’ve started it I’ve seen a lot of self confidence come out,” said Oliff.
Discipline and control are the foundation of Mixed Martial Arts.
“What we try to strive for here is not just how to beat up somebody but also how to control those situations. So anything to like maybe take the impact, control that person, put him in a situation where he can’t strike me anymore and I can maybe run away or go and get help,” said Hernandez.
And age is really just a number in the sport.
"It doesn’t matter how big they are or how small you are... it just depends on your skill," said 9-year-old Jameson Oliff, Emily's son.
Jameson also practices Jiu Jitsu. In the process he hasn't just learned self-defense skills, but also morals too.
“Its not my friends, even if it’s a school bully and someone else is bullying them... it doesn’t matter, you have to help them” said Jameson.
Regardless of age, the skills that are being taught go much further than just athletic ability.
“A lot of it's based on just controlling enough for me to get away or controlling somebody to get help, like a police officer or if it’s a child, like a teacher or a student,” said Hernandez.
Jiu Jitsu teaches skills that can be used to defend yourself, and best of all, that you can't forget at home.