THE West Wales Junior Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) League held it’s second successful, ‘sell-out’ event at the weekend (Nov, 2), at Llanelli Leisure Centre. Competitors ranged from 4 to 17-years-old and traveled from as far afield as Scotland and Manchester to attend.
The Welsh Junior League for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was created by Neil Williams and Greg Creel to offer youngsters involved in the sport the chance to compete regularly in Cardiff. They wanted to give children the chance to enjoy, from an early age, all the benefits which regulated competitions offer.
Although this was a great opportunity for children involved in jiu jitsu there was not a similar scheme being run for children in West Wales.
Chris Thyer and his wife Kathryn and Omeid Jalalian-Khakshour who run jiu jitsu academies, all noted a need for developing similar opportunities and events in West Wales.
Together, they embarked on setting up professionally run events for youngsters and selected Llanelli as their host venue.
Their aim was to provide events for children in jiu jitsu, with the children’s welfare as the top priority.
They wanted to promote a safe, controlled environment for them to learn and develop new ‘life skills’ such as the importance of teamwork, resilience, positivity, and encouraging each other during the good and bad times.
Kathryn said: “the core belief we share is that in order to create great sportspeople of the future it is necessary to encourage, develop and support children with an interest in sport at a young age.”
The founders consider jiu jitsu, with the same philosophy as any sport. Kathryn added: “If you don’t win you don’t lose either, you grow, you learn.
“Part of our objective is to install this belief into the children by recognising them for stepping onto the mats and taking part.”
The events also provide coaching development opportunities for younger coaches so they can learn and grow their skills in supporting the younger competitors.
Fourteen-year-old Maggie was one of the young coaches who attended Saturday’s event in order to support the younger competitors and was there at the sidelines directing and encouraging them.
Maggie has learned to maintain calmness and composure under pressure and is seen as a great asset to her team. She happily passes her knowledge on to the youngsters and is keen to assist them in their efforts.
There were also parents in attendance such as proud, Llanelli mum, Vicki. She was there to support her sons Kyle, age 11 and Tyler age 8. They both achieved silver medals on the day.
Vicky said: “The children have all been fantastic today and done very well. It’s been a pleasure to be part of such a huge sporting event.”
Scott, father to 8-year-old Mckenzie who won a number of medals at the event said: “It has been great, my son was able to fight up a weight category and was up a belt for the first time. It gives the children a lot of experience to be able to develop their skills”
Kathryn said: “We are so excited to be hosting these events again this year and we have already been inundated with interest.
“We would like to thank our sponsors Tatami Fightwear and JR Events.
“We are always open to sponsors who would like to be part of funding this worthy development programme.”
The next event which is certain to be as successful as Saturday’s will be held in April 2020. The venue will be confirmed at a later date. For updates on events please see the West Wales Junior BJJ Leagues page on Facebook.