Grade 12 student, Ryan Plessl is hosting an online fundraiser for a Student vs. Teacher  Jiu-Jitsu match against Riverside Science teacher Mr. Jeremy Brown for charity. The match is scheduled for December 12  at 6 pm PST and will be held at  Ascension Martial Arts  in Port Coquitlam if COVID regulations allow it.

Plessl wants to raise money for Sunny Hill Rehabilitation Centre but also had the idea to complete his Grade 12 Capstone Project. For Capstone, students are required to  brainstorm and present their passions, course preferences, strengths and weaknesses, Core Competencies, and their interests in a project.  For Plessl’s Capstone, he organized a  Jiu-Jitsu match against Mr. Brown, who is also a Jiu-Jitsu enthusiast.  “I wanted to involve Mr. Brown because I have a close connection with him. I asked him about this, even before COVID, and we discussed how we could make it happen,“ said Plessl.  The idea for this match was originally organized to have a live  audience. However, due to new COVID-19 restrictions, Plessl has decided to Live stream the match instead.

Plessl has been training at  Ascension Martial Arts, in Port Coquitlam, BC, seven days a week, for the last four-five  years. “I have wanted to do this for my whole life; I love teaching  Jiu-Jitsu and I love training and participating. It’s become a huge part of my life.” Plessl’s passion is perfect for a Capstone project.  Brown began training  in  Karate but  wanted more  groundwork training, which Jiu-Jitsu provides.  He also has been training for about four years. Plessl and Brown are no strangers to each other, they both train and spar together daily. Ryan says that it is a friendly competition between the two. “It is pretty back and  forth; we have no idea who is going to win the match on December 12,”  said Plessl.  The match will consist of six ten-minute rounds. Three of which will be completed in Gi and three rounds in no-Gi.  Gi is the traditional martial arts clothing which opponents are allowed and can use to their advantage to grab a hold of.  The matches in Gi are in accordance with conventional Judo; whereas, no-Gi rounds are more like traditional wrestling. Mr. Brown expresses that it is certainly going to be exhausting as UFC championships only have five five-minute rounds.

For Ryan’s Capstone, he selected  Sunny Hill Rehabilitation Center as the charity that all funds raised will go to. The center is a branch of BC’s children’s hospital. It is a one-of-a-kind center in BC that specializes in helping children recover mobility and participate in physical activity again.  There is a swimming pool, a basketball court accessible for wheelchairs and is a place for healing as well.  Also, there is a large science exhibition section at the center.  Plessl felt inspired by a young girl from Sunny Hill, to whom he feels lucky to  have  taught Jiu-Jitsu.

As the BC Health Minister Dr. Bonnie Henry had specified, all indoor activities that increase your heart rate need to temporarily close due to the recent two–week lock-down. Prior to this, the gym had previous COVID protocols, such as restricted pathways, limiting your training partners, constantly sanitizing, and wearing masks in public areas.

Ryan’s goal is to raise $5000 for the charity and the upcoming match has currently raised approximately $4000.  Those who donate will receive an email the night of the match with a corresponding link to a Zoom meeting. There is no minimum donation, but Ryan cannot stress enough how every dollar counts. If you decide you are unable to watch or donate, a video of the match will be posted on Facebook and on Instagram (@ryan.plessl) afterwards. To donate, click  here.

With these unprecedented times, dates for the match may be postponed to early 2021. More information will be released  within the following weeks.