He grew up doing wrestling and ballet. These days, you may find him swimming, lifting, or doing yoga. However, 43-year-old Lucas Trautman’s real passion is Jiu Jitsu.

The busy father of two describes Jiu Jitsu as a slower form of wrestling, or grappling, from Brazil. It is all about leverage and technique—not brawn and size.

“It’s full of languid, beautiful, expressive movement, and people can go at whatever pace,” Lucas says. “It’s for all ages and all shapes and sizes, and everyone from young girls to older men can participate.”

Lucas’s family is just as into fitness. His wife of more than 13 years, Kristin, enjoys swimming and yoga. Their two adopted daughters, Myra and Leia, both enjoy dance just like their father. Myra is a competitive volleyball player, and Leia enjoys practicing Jiu Jitsu with her Daddy.

“I try to really empower them with my example of balance and a healthy lifestyle,” says Lucas, who loves going to their games and dance recitals. “It’s so important to resist diet culture and body-shaming. I want to teach them to eat foods that they really like and are delicious.”

Growing up in ballet and wrestling took its toll on Lucas. He struggled for many years with an eating disorder because those sports emphasized a certain body type and weight.

“I worked for years with dietitians through therapy and learned how to heal myself,” he says. “It was a long struggle to have a healthy relationship with food and exercise.”

Lucas is a psychiatrist, and he had a real breakthrough when his therapist told him to listen to the advice Lucas had been giving his patients for years.

“It finally took someone telling me that I need to apply the compassion to myself that I apply to so many others,” Lucas says. “In other words, I needed to take my own advice.”

For Lucas, part of that journey has meant listening to what his body needs. Some days it is yoga, some days it’s swimming or weight lifting, and others it is Jiu Jitsu.

“It’s so important to listen to your body and apply the self-care that your body needs every day,” he adds.

Jiu Jitsu focuses on joint locks and chokeholds instead of kicks and punches like other forms of martial arts. Lucas emphasizes that it is all done in the context of friendship in a supportive environment.

His passion for Jiu Jitsu has turned into a mission to help kids in the Binghampton area. He is opening a Jiu Jitsu studio at Sam Cooper and Tillman called Stardust Jiu Jitsu for kids ages 5–17.

“I picked that name because all humans are made up of the same elements as stars,” he says. “We are all the same and interconnected.”

The studio, located at 510 Tillman, will be donor-funded, so it’s free for the kids. His wife is opening up a café next door to the studio called Inspire Community Café, which will serve healthy food, coffee, and ice cream.

“Healthy after-school activities, especially those that are nurturing and safe, are so important,” Lucas says. “Activities like Jiu Jitsu help establish self-confidence and really build up these kids.”

In addition to preparing the studio for its opening in August, Lucas is staying busy taking care of himself and his family.

“Being fit to me means getting enough sleep, eating enough real food, listening to my body’s hunger cues, and moving my body in the way it needs. I try to be a good example for my daughters.”

By Julie Dodson Turner