Three brothers who own and operate a martial-arts studio opened a third site earlier this year in Hilliard, adding to locations in Lewis Center and Lexington.

Three brothers who own and operate a martial-arts studio opened a third site earlier this year in Hilliard, adding to locations in Lewis Center and Lexington.

Team Chitwood Martial Arts and Fitness, 3979 Parkway Lane off Cemetery Road, is among the tenants of Harmony Artistic Center.

The studio teaches two styles of jiu-jitsu: Gracie jiu-jitsu and combat jiu-jitsu.

Gracie jiu-jitsu is a self-defense form of jiu-jitsu, designed to enable people to gain leverages, especially upon a larger attacker, in close quarters and most often during an encounter on the ground. Combat jiu-jitsu encompasses forms of street fighting.

Shawn Chitwood, 39, of Mansfield, opened his first studio in 1994 in Lexington when he was 21. He eventually was joined by his two younger brothers, Craig and Neil, in expanding the family-owned business. Craig Chitwood graduated from Ohio University with a degree in criminal justice. Neil Chitwood is a graduate of West Point Academy and a major in the U.S. Army.

"I enjoy working with people," Shawn Chitwood said.

For those who strive to obtain belts in either of the jiu-jitsu practices, it is a lifelong endeavor.Obtaining belts in either of the jiu-jitsu practices is a lifelong endeavor.

"It's a slow and methodical art: cerebral, like a chess game," said Chitwood, who is a 5th-degree black belt in combat jiu-jitsu and a 1st-degree black belt in Gracie jiu-jitsu.

Each school of jiu-jitsu has a series of colored belts, with black belt as the highest. The black belt has 10 degrees.

Chitwood was introduced to martial arts at about the age of 6 as a father-and-son activity. From there, it developed into a lifelong practice and passion.

Aside from teaching martial arts to the public, Chitwood founded a defensive tactics program that he administers for the Ohio Attorney General's Office.

Chitwood is a special deputy for the Richland County Sheriff's Office. He conducts traditional patrols several times a month, but otherwise devotes his time to training the department's law-enforcement personnel in self-defense measures.

Chitwood also reviews cases when deputies are required to use deadly or physical force to safely control a situation.

He most often teaches at the Lexington studio, but he and the remainder of his staff sometimes instruct at the Lewis Center studio.

For more information, visit www.teamchitwood.com.