There’s plenty to say about this year’s adventure at Pan Kids, but let’s jump straight to the point and start with an impressive list of how our students performed this year.
Participants and results:
- Gold – Lauren “Prototype” Miller
- Silver – Robert “Bicep” Mish
- Silver – Erik “Skinny Jeans” Marsh*
- Bronze – Jameson “Bearcat” Gerrity
- Bronze – Seton “Miss Sassy” Gerrity
- Bronze – Mike “Mouth” Garlington
- Bronze – Jacob “JuJi” Miller
- Bronze – Dax “Juggernaut” Avila
- Bronze – Madeliene “WikiFish” Avila
- DNP – Joel “Neckbone” Marquez
- DNP – Joaquin “8-Pack” Marquez
*Guest student from Outfox MMA
Now everyone knows we’re not a medal-driven program at Ivey League MMA, so please don’t get that impression. But we do know that our students support one another and want to know how things worked out so we started with the results. Now let’s delve into the journey and what it means for our program’s future.
We knew we were headed back to the big tournament for 2014 since our previous years had shown that participating in the highest level of international competition for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is an invaluable experience for the kids, families and the school. We also knew this year would be our biggest yet as we have a great group of truly dedicated kids who wanted to test their hand with the best in the world.
Knowing the amount of time, money and heart that would be required to get us all from the frigid mid-atlantic to the west coast, action started early on. From the parents’ perspective, they organized themselves into a non-profit to raise money to defray the costs and prep themselves for hefty travel. Coaches dug in and added extra practices, visited near and far schools, and studied the competition. Kids got serious, probably the most serious they have ever been toward an activity outside of scholastics, by training consistently and with focused intent.
We were lucky everyone made it out there, with the ridiculous weather causing travel delays and disrupting plans. Thankfully all 10 Ivey Leaguers and our VA Beach friend made it to LA in the nick of time. We discovered fast that the temperatures out on the west coast sure are nice at double the degrees compared to back home, but also doubled were the commute times everywhere we went! Hence leading up to competition day we took it pretty easy with sight-seeing that wasn’t too tiring and munching on healthy food to keep the athletes in good form.
The big day was Sun Feb 16 and everyone arrived bright and early to support one another. The kids were scheduled perfectly throughout the day so that each had their own time to compete. With two coaches and multiple parents who also train, everything ran smoothly (including the competition organizers!).
All of the competitors did a great job of jumping in and giving it their all. We have highlighted a few outstanding performances here to paint the picture of the awesome experience we had!
Jameson started us off right winning two matches back to back. He showed great heart submitting both kids which brought him to the semifinals. In his last match, a really tough opponent was able to secure the win, eventually winning the entire division. Jameson earned his 3rd place with a great performance that lit a fire under the team!
After Jameson took the lead, several other students had their turn on the floor. Robert put on a particularly impressive display of natural grappling instinct. His matches were lightning fast with complicated aerobatics and fast reactions. It truly was a sight to be seen. He fell in the finals by 2 points but that certainly did not diminish his accomplishment.
Dax showed his “smooth like butter” approach in his first match submitting his opponent in under 30 seconds. He battled for his way towards the finals, capturing third after a tough match to a talented opponent.
Seton jumped on the mat raring to go with an attempted osto gari into an attempted drop sao nagi. Her opponent fought the take downs hard and managed to leach on. Seton gave every ounce of energy she could but wasn’t able to secure the finals match.
Lauren exhibited the reason we call her “Prototype” by putting on a dominant display of skill. She literally looked like she was born with the sole purpose of nailing bjj techniques. She won Gold, and an everlasting reason to smile after the show she put on!
The Marquez brothers both fought with their heart taking on stacked brackets and tough kids. While they were not able to accomplish their goals of first place, they did get to experience the highest level of competition and are motivated to get out there again! Joel and Joaquin volunteered for any available match they could get for more matches, but unfortunately IBJJF does not run the tournament with that option.
Madeliene returned to her second year at PanKids at a new belt level, and was faced with very tough opponents. The girls in her division were from the same school and were great talents. WikiFish wanted a different result but her experience will propel her learning faster than anything else she can do.
Jacob and Mike both had similar experiences to Madi in that they came back for a second year and had seasoned competitors to face. They had each done extremely well a few weeks before at NAGA, but were not able to replicate the results this day. They fought hard and can hold their heads up high knowing the road to black belt is a lifelong journey and this is part of their path.
Closing out the day, Erik from Outfox MMA got his turn at bat. He had visited throughout the year leading up to this competition and worked with some of the kids in their preparation. We were happy to cheer him on, especially since his matches were so exciting! His opponents honestly looked like full grown men but he was not intimidated. He won his first two matches with great skill, losing only in the finals to a kid who came all the way from Brazil. He of course wanted gold, but he showed great promise.
After all that, its clear all the hard work certainly paid off. The results are great in many ways, showing that we are producing champions and showing that we can always improve in our training.
Most importantly, many life lessons were learned by each individual (not to mention the coaches and parents). These lessons of dedication, endurance, challenge, achievement, enrichment, team spirit, and digging down deep to see what you are made of cannot be replicated in any other way then putting yourself out there and trying. This is why we are so proud of our students and their families; this is why we will continue to strive toward even better training within the Ivey League program.
True to form, we capped off our experience playing at the pool and visiting Universal Studios to celebrate as a team. Coach Danny may never be the same after the Transformers experience, but Mrs Teresa is just happy the cameras did not capture her screaming as we went flying down the Jurassic Park river. The trip was a blast, and now we are ready for 2015!