On Saturday, February 5, Zahra participated in her first in-house tournament at the Gracie Barra Academy where she began training about a month ago. We are so proud of her! She's only been training a couple weeks, but she got out on the mat and had two matches with two of the other little boys that take jiu jitsu classes with her. Willie has been attending classes here for almost a year and a half and we all really like the academy. It's a very family-oriented atmosphere and everyone is really nice. Zahra liked going to the parents-and-kids classes with Willie and we decided to try and enroll her in the kids-only classes. We gave it a test run for two weeks just to see how it would go and Zahra really seemed to take to it. We thought she might be shy and hesitant to get involved, but we were quickly proven wrong. At the beginning of class, she follows along with the warm up routine and then the instructor goes over specific skills and has the kids practice with each other. Most of the time, Zahra pays attention very well and follows directions.
(The video was taken on my cell phone, so I apologize if the quality or camera-work aren't great.) In the video, the referee is standing on the left and her instructor (who runs the academy) is seated on the right. He's offering support and helping her remember what things to do to get out of the little boy's guard. Since she's pinned underneath, she makes frequent attempts to "bridge" by pushing her hips up so that she can get him off balance. After she pushes up, she can slide out from underneath him and make another move. Although this little boy is small, he's quite skilled since he's been training for a lot longer than Zahra. We reinforced what the instructor had told the kids and made sure Zahra knew that winning the match wasn't important. We wanted her to get out on the mat and make an effort of participating and trying her best. She did just that and we were really proud of her!