On March 22nd and 23rd, I was lucky enough to be invited along with Damian from Salmo Jiu Jitsu to the Gathering of Voices conference for aboriginal youth in Kelowna to present three 3 hour workshops about Jiu Jitsu to young adults aged 12-18.  This was a heartwarming and soul building experience for me as we got to work with a ton of youth from all over BC.

Our seminar focused around having an older brother, sister or friend that wanted to throw you in the lake and our promise was that once they completed the seminar that anyone trying to throw them into a lake would have an extremely hard time.  Our goal was to teach them first about setting boundaries, learning to say “no” and “stop” and then being able to get away from someone trying to drag, push, or pull them to a place they didn’t want to go.

The experience was rewarding as we flowed through wrist release strategies (remember to not punch yourself in the face people! ;)), mount escapes, how to hold someone down in mount and finished with some light rolling to show them what Jiu Jitsu was all about.  I can’t express how proud I was to see the confidence grow in our students throughout the three hours and was gifted surprises when some students who were sitting out ended up chiming in to help their fellow classmates by correcting their techniques from the sidelines.

The Youth Coordinators there are doing such an amazing job.  I could easily see the passion they had for the kids and the enthusiasm they brought helped the students all feel at ease.

If any of the Youth or Youth coordinators are reading this, just know how honoured I am to have met you and trained with you.

We finished the class with a group photo and looking back I can truly say that this experienced has helped make me a better person.  Thank you for allowing me to express my art with you and I hope that this isn’t the last time I see everyone I met.