Hey there, this is “Mouth”, one of the kids that take classes from Ivey League Mixed Martial Arts. I’ve been taking classes here for 2.5 years and now compete on their youth team.

Today I’d like to talk about my experience going to the 2015 Pan kids Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) Event and how it feels to put in such hard work and see it pay off.

This was my third go around at Pan Kids and I told myself that I was not coming home with anything less than gold. I’ll tell you that winning at this level isn’t an easy thing to do.

What was the difference between this year and the last two? I’m pretty sure I can thank the new training regimen I took on after last years’ loss. What did I do differently?

For the past year I’ve been training hard, very hard, for 6 days a week. When I finish with my training at the gym afterwards I’ll go home and study jujitsu videos on youtube for hours and hours.

It’s a lot of work on top of the work I put in daily in middle school. I think it’s safe to say that all this hard work and training is what’s really produced my results in competitions.

That's me in the blue shirt during a Wrestling seminar that Ivy League MMA hosted

That’s me in the blue shirt during a Wrestling seminar that Ivy League MMA hosted

That along with my competition experience really helped me with the anxiety that most kids have at big tournaments like Pan Kids. The day of the tournament, any tournament, you have to mentally prepare before taking the mat.

I have tried lots of techniques; some work and some not so much. Everyone has their own way of warming up and getting ready.

For me, having a clear mind gave me a lot confidence, which I think pushed me to that next level causing me to win………that and the look on Master Danny’s face as I stood in the bull pen waiting to take the mat.

I knew he was counting on me and it was important for me to prove to him that all the hard work that he has put in was worth it. The hours of working with me and coaching me, it would all pay off.

Don’t get me wrong this was the hardest tournament I have competed at in my life. If I hadn’t put in the hours at IL winning wouldn’t have be a possibility.

Even though I wasn’t so nervous about actually competing, I was extremely nervous about setting a good example for the younger competitors and new kids.

Being the oldest one in the bunch adds a bit of pressure. People don’t’ realize it. I watched everyone else compete and tried to be there for them for their losses, but this time I had to worry about my match.

I couldn’t let my head get foggy with how everyone else was feeling or what had happened to my teammates. Everyone sits around and waits for you to compete…….they have all had their matches and are looking to you for a win.

bjj classes for youth by danny ives

Mouth standing where he wants to be, atop the podium in 1st place!

When it happened, it was amazing. I fought 3 back to back matches with only a few minutes in between each match. I left everything on the mat and gave it everything I had.

When I finally finished my last match and that ref raised my hand……well I can’t really put that feeling into words. But it was pretty cool. A moment I won’t forget for sure.

Putting in that extra work in the gym really allowed me to finally take home the gold after missing out for 2 years. I hope that others that have watched me push through my losses.

My winning this year’s gold medal can be a great lesson for our new competitors to persevere through those rough patches and they will eventually see their hard work pay off with good results.

The day I got to stand on the top of the podium with my gold medal at Pan Kids made up for every loss, every injury, every fail. Like Master Danny says, “we’re not baking cakes here”.

-Micheal “Mouth” Garlington
Orange Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
2015 Pan Kids Champion

After being promoted to Orange Belt I couldn't resist wearing it everywhere I went, including on the street

After being promoted to Orange Belt I couldn’t resist wearing it everywhere I went, including on the street

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