Jackson’s tournament experience had success with winning and success with losing. He’s really growing into the confident little warrior. He manages to surprise us every time he gets out there on the mat.
His first match didn’t really have a lot of action other than the first few seconds. He took her back, she rolled out of it and ended up flat on her back, and then Jackson went to mount from there. He maintained mount for the rest of the match.
The 8-year-olds aren’t suppose to do submissions, but all of the coaches agreed to allow them. Jackson’s go-to submission is an armbar from mount. He was trying to get that armbar in this match, but ran out of time. I’m impressed that he was so patient. He focused on maintaining position first and not rushing the armbar. After this win he would move on to the championship match for the gold.
In the second match he went up against a pretty tough opponent. It was a fight! Jackson got the takedown, landed in side control, and transitioned to mount.
He didn’t maintain mount long enough to get the four points. He went for the kid’s back in the scramble but couldn’t get his hooks in. The other kid rolled over and ended up in Jackson’s guard. Jackson did a great job of breaking his posture and trying to work a collar choke. The kid got his posture back, broke Jackson’s guard, passed to side control, and got to mount. Jackson fought so hard at this point. He pushed the other kid’s hip back and tried to lock up half guard and then eventually he bridged and got the kid on his back. They scrambled a little and then went back to standing. The kid picked Jackson up off the ground by both legs and slammed him on the mat. He tried to go to mount, but Jackson refused to let him. Jackson eventually got the other kid on his back, got to mount, and then the round ended.
Jackson was so excited that he had beat his previous tournament win by taking silver this time. He was a little disappointed that it wasn’t the gold, but he was so happy with silver. He also decided that he was determined to win gold in no-gi.
Jackson’s first match in no-gi was mostly stand up. They both were working takedowns but not having a lot of luck. Jackson finally tripped him and they went down to the ground with Jackson on his back. The kid tried to stand up and they fell into a scramble. Jackson ended up in his guard but broke it pretty quick. He passed to side control and the round ended with Jackson winning 2-0. This would put Jackson in the championship match for gold, again.
We stood there with Jackson and watched his other opponent that he would face in the match for gold. He was always shooting for a leg so Mike pointed that out to Jackson and in the minutes before the match he gave Jackson a very specific game plan – go for the back.
The match for the gold was so exciting! It was a constant scramble. Jackson did a phenomenal job of going for the kid’s back. He focused on that game plan and was relentless. The match would go to the ground and then they would scramble back up over and over again. Jackson finally got his back, got his hooks in pretty deep, and held him there for 8 seconds (yes, I counted from the video.) For some reason he didn’t get the points. It looks like the ref was trying to see if he had the hooks and by the time he got to a position to see, he only got two seconds counted. (Just to put it out there, I’m not knocking the ref at all. They do a such a great job out there.) The other kid rolled out of it and ended up getting Jackson’s back and scoring the four points for it. Jackson rolled out of it and they scrambled back up to standing. The other kid took Jackson down, but Jackson immediately got back up so he didn’t score the points. Jackson then took him down, but the other kid immediately got back up so he didn’t score points. The other kid got another takedown but Jackson scrambled out of it right as the round ended with the other kid winning 4-0.
Jackson ended up walking away with another silver medal. He was a little more disappointed with this loss. He wanted that gold so bad and fought his little butt off!! He was still very happy with another silver medal and we were so incredibly proud of him.
It wasn’t that long ago that I had mentioned a dream of mine, getting my arm raised. Let me tell you, I could totally settle with just seeing my kids get their arm raised instead. It is seriously one of the coolest feelings as a parent. To see them work hard for something they want, both in the weeks before the competition and at the competition, and to get that victory. I’ve said it before, kids need those opportunities to challenge themselves, to see what they are capable of with a little hard work and determination. Kids need those opportunities to win!
I know I say it a lot, both here and on social media, I am floored by Jackson’s recent growth. I really wish that all of you that have only known us for the last year or so could understand just how much this kid has transformed. I just don’t think you can quite grasp the severity of shyness and social struggles this kid had if you didn’t see it for yourself. That’s why you will always see us and our family members commenting on how surprising/shocking/awesome this new confident Jackson is.
I think about those times at the previous martial arts school we went to and how much he struggled there. At the end of our three years at that place there wasn’t much of a change in his confidence. He did make some improvements but he was still clinging to my neck before class, begging me to not make him do it. He was terrified of getting out there in front of everyone. If someone would talk to him he would hide behind me. He would tell me his stomach hurt almost everyday in hopes of not having to do class. If he made a mistake in class he was so embarrassed that he would cry and many times he couldn’t finish class. Every class was full of anxiety and fears of embarrassment for him.
This was how we spent a lot of time at the old school. He was always hugging onto me, scared and hesitant.
To say he hated it there is an understatement. There is nothing about that place that helps build the confidence that a kid like Jackson needs. That business thrives and functions on giving their students false confidence and while that might work with some kids, it wasn’t going to work on Jackson. He needed the real deal.
I wish so badly that we had walked out those doors and into Springfield Fight Club so much sooner. With BJJ and SFC and doing these competitions, Jackson is growing into a strong, confident, and outgoing kid at a rapid pace. Timid, shy, hide-behind-me Jackson is gone. I told him after the tournament that I was no longer going to call him my little shy-guy. Instead I will now call him my little fighter.
Years ago when I thought about his future, I saw him struggling with so much. I worried that he was going to be me, in his 30s wrestling with many, many social and mental complications. That he would have barriers that would make it difficult to have a happy, fun life. I feared that he would have to fight with social anxiety and a lack of confidence for the rest of his life. As a mom and someone who knows what that kind of life is like, I was heartbroken for him and I made it my life’s mission to find someway to help him.
I’m overjoyed that we have found exactly what he needed to find that confidence to help him break out of his shell. He ended up not just breaking out of his shell, but is bursting through it like it was made of paper.
I can’t stress enough how important it is, if you are going to get your kids into some sort of martial arts, that you are going to a legit school. Do your research parents! Google McDojo, read up about it, and stay far, far away. Sure you can go to a McDojo and maybe see little improvements here and there. I won’t deny that we saw some improvements with our kids. BUT, you have no idea, no freakin’ idea, how much they can thrive and grow in a legit gym and with BJJ. I had no idea that Jackson was even capable of what he can do today both mentally and physically. I don’t want it to sound like we didn’t believe in Jackson. We just didn’t know what to expect because of the severity of his shyness. He has far exceeded what we thought was possible for him. If we had never walked into the doors at SFC we might have never known the full potential he had inside of him. If you are planning on putting your kid into any kind of training, I strongly recommend Springfield Fight Club. Do your kids (and yourself) a favor and call SFC or come in for class. You will not regret it!
A year ago Jackson couldn’t hardly walk out on the mat in class at our previous school without being overwhelmed with fears. This weekend he walked out on a mat, in front of tons of people, and fought in a competition. He won some matches and lost others. The important thing, the big win of the day that I see is that he put himself out there without hesitation, if he had fears you couldn’t see them. He was aggressive and fought for something he wanted, he never gave up, and when he lost he wasn’t embarrassed and he didn’t even cry. He handled it all so well.
I am crazy excited for this kid’s future, not just life in general but in BJJ as well. It’s going to be fun to see what more can come out of him. He’s amazing!