David might have used Jiu-jitsu to calm Goliath down instead of a slingshot, had the martial art been around during the Biblical age.

A smaller man with good technique can overcome a much larger opponent, according New Plymouth man Pina Simpson, who was a Professor with a First Degree Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.

"That's the basics of Jiu-jitsu, using leverage and balancing to control someone who is way bigger than you," he said.

Brazilian Jiu-jitsu club Tsunami Southern Tribes held a national tournament in Levin at the weekend with more than 100 members of all ages competing.

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Simpson said at the heart of Jiu-jitsu was teaching people to being able to control an aggressor using a variety of techniques that could subdue or diffuse a potentially violent situation.

It was all about self-defence and not about confrontation, he said, and many of the children or adults who join a club do so after being bullied.

"It's bully-proof. There's no punching, no kicking. It teaches you how to pin someone and control someone so you don't get hurt and everyone can calm down," he said.

It was the third national tournament held by the Tsunami Southern Tribes Club, which was now spread throughout New Zealand, and the second time it was held in Levin.

"It's a good venue," he said of the Horowhenua Events Centre.

There was a strong contingent from the local Levin club entered, joining other clubs from all over New Zealand.

The tone for the competition was set with a strong opening bout by youngsters Sem Hoftsee and Noah Korau who showed skill and determination.

Entry was by a food donation given to charity. The result was a ute-load of food that was donated to Arohanui Hospice.

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The event was sponsored by TRC Toyota, Noel Leeming, Unichem, Pro-Kinetics, Roadhouse and Levin New World.