The thought of wrestling with sweaty people once put Carl off, and he thought he would be crazy to ever do so. Well, "crazy" caught up with him when he attended his first Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class at FaMA - Fitness and Martial Arts, thanks to the relentless pestering of a close family friend.
All of a sudden, BJJ became an itch he could not scratch. Today, Carl is not just a regular attendee of our morning BJJ classes. Members of his family have joined in on the fun - 8-year-old Olivia, and 6-year-old Ava.
Not Just Any Fitness Regime
Upon taking his first few classes at FaMA, Carl discovered that martial arts are unlike a typical fitness workout. "I never thought of myself as unfit; I could cycle 10km or run 5km without any problems." Muay Thai proved to be a totally different ball game together, leaving Carl "absolutely hammered" within the first 35 minutes. He then moved on to trying BJJ, finding it surprisingly refreshing.
"There are unlimited ways to set up and finish a move… and every time you mess up, you know you can find ways to do better next time." Another factor that got Carl coming back was the community in the early morning classes - what he fondly calls the 'Dad crew.' "Around the same age or older, they were always willing to help and teach me out… just minutes after nearly killing me with some choke or move!"
Empowerment For His Little Girls
Seeing how BJJ could be a useful skill for girls, Carl enrolled his daughters Olivia and Ava into the Medium Monstros and Little Warriors programs respectively. BJJ not only proves to be a great self-defense skill to learn at a young age, for the girls, it is also a great way to stay fit and make friends with others of different walks of life and nationalities - our Professors included!
Spend an hour with the girls, and you will know right off the bat how different they are in personality. How does BJJ help them, respectively? Carl shares how the sport has helped each girl in their own way.
"Olivia is introverted and quite shy, and the classes expose her to a completely different environment. She still tells me that she should not be fighting with anyone as she doesn't want to hurt anyone. I tell her that she's right, and what she is learning now is meant for the future - if she ever needs to use it to defend herself. I tell her this to encourage her to try her best during classes. She has become a little more confident of herself now, and is more willing to try out new things."
"Ava is a little more extroverted and gung-ho, so she will go 100% during classes. She is quite petite, and one of the smaller girls amongst her peers. However, this has not rattled her once she discovered that BJJ helps smaller people defeat bigger adversaries. She went for her first competition in October 2019, and that was a great experience and life-lesson for her."
"There, she was exposed to failure and the reality that there will also be others who are better, faster, or stronger than her. There, she learned how to pick herself up, keep going, and to always try her best."
Carl underwent his Blue Belt Exam in December 2019, and his daughters insisted on tagging along to watch him get assessed and graded. It was a memorable event for all three of them, more so for the girls who had a field day teasing their dad.
"They were very excited to tell everyone back home… and also asked why I was so "lousy," having taken a longer time than them to get graded to a new belt!"
However, this experience was also an eye-opener for them. The girls had the opportunity to see adults go through familiar moves, albeit at a higher intensity and with seemingly more difficulty. Being able to see the grown-ups apply the same techniques convinced the girls that BJJ does have its benefits, indeed!
Bringing the Adventure Home
Today, Carl gets to enjoy bonding with his daughters at home, thanks to the applications of BJJ.
"They take some of the lessons home and spar with each other - pretending and acting out exactly what happened in the classes at FaMA. They can actually spend quite a long time doing this, and end up with bumps and bruises from the furniture!"
Of course, Carl gets to join in, on the condition that he becomes the "bad guy" in the scenarios!
Fortunately, this has piqued the interest of their two younger siblings, also girls. The little ones have occasionally joined in on the action, and this plays well into Carl's plan.
"When they are the right age," he says, "I want them to go for classes as well."
We love to hear stories of parents and children drawing closer to each other through the shared love of martial arts! If that is something you desire for your family, why not enroll everyone for a free week's trial today, and enjoy a promotional package for when the whole family signs up. Click here to get your family martial arts journey started.
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.