A Day to Remember: Reflections from Singapore Youth Grappling Championship

Updated: Nov 14, 2019


fama singapore kids martial arts bjj brazilian jiu jitsu competition

What would some of the most memorable days of 2019 be for a child like 5-year old Parson Barr?


Off the top of our heads, we reckon that it would be his birthday, festive holidays (especially if he received gifts), and the time he went on vacation with his family. It could even be the day he became a big brother. But we are willing to bet that 6th October 2019 was also a particularly memorable day for little Parson, when he, along with more than 50 kids from FaMA - Fitness and Martial Arts, participated in the Singapore Youth Grappling Championship II.


fama singapore kids martial arts bjj brazilian jiu jitsu competition
Parson Barr achieving the mount position and getting 4 points.

FaMA does not consider itself a martial arts academy that trains its students for competitions. So why the huge turnout? For our Professors and Assistant Instructors, this local competition was a great opportunity for our young ones to apply what they have learned within a more challenging environment.


fama singapore kids martial arts bjj brazilian jiu jitsu competition

And so, a troop of FaMA BJJ Kids, Instructors, and parents showed up at that morning, bringing with them a feverish enthusiasm that was rather comparable to that of Liverpool fans at the Old Trafford when their favourite football team played against Manchester United!


Parson regularly attends the Little Warriors BJJ (4-6 year old) class at FaMA, and was one of the many from this class to compete for the first time that day. As little ones who work mostly on very fundamental Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) movements and occasionally spar just for fun and experience, they were about to have their very first taste of a ’tested’ sparring setting. The matches began, and you could hear the crowd collectively chuckle as the little humans, barely out of their toddler years, pushed and turned each other around with gusto and determination. All the Little Warriors competitors channeled their muscle memory and managed to execute the moves they had learned in class, much to the pride of the Professors, Instructors and parents!


fama singapore kids martial arts bjj brazilian jiu jitsu competition

fama singapore kids martial arts bjj brazilian jiu jitsu competition


Parson didn’t get to stand up on the podium that day, but it did not stop him from enjoying himself. When asked if he would have a go at a competition again in the future, he responded with no hesitation, “Yes!"


As the day trudged on, the age groups got higher and we got to see our older students give their best shots on the competition mats. Also, first-timers to competition, siblings Teanne and Thaddeus Tay (7 and 8 years old respectively) had spent their weeks in diligent preparation for this day. When asked how they felt moments before their matches, both agreed that nerves were definitely high.


fama singapore kids martial arts bjj brazilian jiu jitsu competition
Teanne Tay - FaMA BJJ Medium Monstro

fama singapore kids martial arts bjj brazilian jiu jitsu competition
Thaddeus Tay - FaMA BJJ Medium Monstro

For Thaddeus, the pressure seemed to mount up when he realised he would be matched against a particularly strong and experienced opponent. Yet, he faced his feelings of intimidation and stepped boldly to the mats that afternoon, and gave his all. “When I heard the cheers of my parents and my coaches, I felt happier knowing that they were helping me.”


fama singapore kids martial arts bjj brazilian jiu jitsu competition

He fell short of a win against that opponent that day, but all was not lost: “My opponent came up to me to tell me I did a good job, and I felt that was good because he was not just looking out for himself, but looking out for me too.” Endings like these encourage us adults, and remind us not to be too jaded, for the future generation still knows how to be kind and respectful even in competitive environments!


fama singapore kids martial arts bjj brazilian jiu jitsu competition
Erwanna Caudal - FaMA BJJ Junior Champion

Another notable first-timer to competition was 11-year old Erwanna Caudal, who had been convinced to compete by another classmate in her BJJ Junior Champions class. She had to face a male opponent who was the same weight and stripe level as she was. Though nervous at the idea of having to face someone with similar experience, she managed to keep her cool and stick to a simple strategy that got her a win that day.


fama singapore kids martial arts bjj brazilian jiu jitsu competition

For older kids with a more mature understanding of competitive sports, it is easy to start focusing too much on results and feel bad about themselves should they not get the result they want. Though some of our kids faced disappointment that day, even to the point of shedding tears, everyone emerged better from it. We were also happy to find that all of our FaMA Kids went home with positive learnings from this experience.


fama singapore kids martial arts bjj brazilian jiu jitsu competition

For Teanne, it was getting to experience the challenge of training for a competition. She thoroughly enjoyed the tough sparring sessions in class, and got to learn something new about the sport, such as the competition ruleset, point system, and even new terms such as “Combate” (the command made by the referee to start the match). Training sessions also drew her closer to her friends, to the point that she could enjoy cheering for them during their matches. Her mum added that she was also attempting to corner a friend with instructions on how to fight!


fama singapore kids martial arts bjj brazilian jiu jitsu competition

For Thaddeus, his learning point was what determined the value of winning - it was not about emerging a champion. Rather, it was about giving his best.


fama singapore kids martial arts bjj brazilian jiu jitsu competition

For Erwanna, her experience helped her realise her naturally competitive spirit, and discover the value of not giving up to the very end - which is what helped her achieve her win. With that said, we might expect to see Erwanna in more competitions to come!


fama singapore kids martial arts bjj brazilian jiu jitsu competition

Individual wins and losses aside, the collective effort from our students earned FaMA the “Best Academy” award that day with the most points scored! It is a rewarding experience to be able to take home such a significant accolade - however, this win remains superficial if not for all the other meaningful gains that took place: smiles on the faces of FaMA BJJ Kids, tighter relationships between students, parents and Instructors, and lots of growth for everyone. And we can’t wait to do it all again at the next kids’ competition!



 

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FaMA - Fitness and Martial Arts Established in 2016, FaMA is a world-class martial arts academy located in the heart of the Central Business District in Singapore. Walking distance from Clarke Quay and Fort Canning MRT stations, FaMA’s main goal is to help people improve their lives through martial arts regardless of age or athletic capability. Our Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), Muay Thai Kickboxing, Kids Martial Arts and Fitness programs are led by experts in their respective fields. So, whether it is weight loss, a fun workout, camaraderie, competition training, or just to break a sweat, FaMA has something for the whole family.