• Dainis Nguyen-Huu

Overcoming Adversity - From Newbie To Pan Am Champ In 1 Year

Updated: Nov 3


We have all heard the phrase "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard" but what does this really mean? Let me tell you a story about a kid who is the epitome of this phrase and defied the odds through his work ethic and determination.


Nolan is 10 years old and has been training for Jiu-Jitsu since he was 8. Nolan came to us from another dojo, a little over a year ago. His first day was a rough one as the less experienced younger and smaller kids were getting the better of him and he was extremely upset and frustrated by it. It's important to note that Nolan was not a "natural" by any means and Jiu-Jitsu did not come easy for him at all and even though he had trained Jiu-Jitsu for 2 years, Japanese Jiu-Jitsu is much different from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu amd he was missing many of the required fundamentals for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I knew he would be good because he always gave his best, tried really hard, and was super resilient(almost to a fault, as he never wanted to tap). We had a talk with his mom as the kids were getting ready for the kids pans in 2017 when they had just joined and she said I hope one day Nolan will be good enough to go and compete at the pans. We told her just bring him to class and leave the rest to us and next year he will be more than ready to go. Nolan attended 4-5 classes a week at DNA along with doing a private class with us bi-weekly. Not only did he show up to class, but he always gave his best. There is a huge difference between showing up and going through the motions or actually trying hard and the results will always show. Fast forward one year later, this kid's hard work and determination has picked up momentum and paid off huge dividends. He has steadily continued to improve and he is now amongst the top kids in his class. Nolan has won most of the local competitions he has entered and won all of his matches in California to become the 2018 IBJJF Kids Pan Am champion! Most importantly, he loves training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and his confidence has grown immensely which is more important than any medal he could ever win. The most astonishing thing about all of this is that Nolan wins by using only basic cookie cutter techniques that he knows all of the ins and outs of is super efficient with. He is another testament that you don't need fancy techniques to be successful at the highest levels of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as well refined basics will do the trick. On top of everything that Nolan's achieved, he's a super polite kid who always says thank you to the coaches after every class, he's the kind of student everyone should aspire to work like. Nolan has a very bright future ahead of him and we are proud to be a small part of his martial arts journey. It wouldn't do justice to end off this article without mentioning how amazing, instrumental and supportive his parents were in the last year during his journey as there were many challenges and just as many "downs" as ups. If you are located in Durham Region and are interested in enrolling your child (or yourself) in martial arts, come try a full week of free classes at DNA BJJ to see why we are right gym for your family. Your child's first class will be an intro to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu lesson with one of our instructors (usually Coach Sarah) where they will learn how to fall safely, fundamental movements, and to help them get comfortable in a new environment. Does your child feel too intimidated to try a class? Check out our schedule and come watch one of our classes from our viewing area with your child to see what we are all about. We specialize in teaching Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu but also have a Judo and Wrestling program to complement it. Contact us today to book your child's free intro to BJJ lesson and kickstart their 7 day trial, we are located in Whitby, close to HWY 401 and the Oshawa border.

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