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'My buildings were just sitting in the creek:' Jiu Jitsu studio owner describes Monday night flooding that caused damage

Karen Banes bought and opened Genesis Jiu Jitsu in Azle about a year ago. First, COVID temporarily shut her studio down. And now, 20 inches of water will, too.
Credit: Ariel Plasencia

AZLE, Texas — Karen Banes bought and opened Genesis Jiu Jitsu in Azle about a year ago.

First, the COVID pandemic temporarily shut her studio down. And now, 20 inches of water will temporarily shut it down again.

“The whole parking lot was full of water,” Banes said. “It’s like my buildings were just sitting in the creek.”

Ash Creek is directly behind Banes’ jiu jitsu studio. Thanks to a rainy forecast, water in the creek rose quickly Monday night and began seeping into the building during a jiu jitsu class.

“(The water) was pulling stuff out of the closet. Everything was just floating,” Banes said. “Everything was covered in mud. Slick, slimy mud. Everything. Just a film of mud. All over the floor. You couldn’t even make out the floor.”

Banes said the water was about 20 inches high in some areas of the studio, which serves about 200 students.

Several of her young students were on hand Tuesday, ripping out wet carpet, removing sheet rock, and cutting out insulation.

“I knew I was taking the risk,” Banes said. “I knew I was taking the chance of having a flood, but I didn’t know it’d be like (within my first) year.”

Banes is now relying on her tight-knit jiu jitsu community to get the studio back up and running.

“I just bought this property. So I’m in it for the long haul for a while,” Banes said. “Luckily, I think our program’s pretty resilient. We have to shut down for a week, but we’ll have the mats back up and it’ll look pretty again. But right now it’s just gonna look a little ugly.”

Banes also owns the building next to Genesis Jiu Jitsu and is leasing it out as a wrestling studio, which was also heavily damaged. 

If you’d like to donate to Genesis Jiu Jitsu, their GoFundMe page can be found here.

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