Kids show “secret moves” at Samurai Pro

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Fabricio Werdum and business partner Lucas Pires threw their first Samurai Pro Jiu-Jitsu Tournament, over the weekend at the CSU Long Beach Pyramid and it was a big success among children. Over 182 kids competed in the tournament. In the end, it was A-Team who took first place in the kids’ competition team standings.

A-Team takes first place at the tournament. Photos: Deb Blyth

A-Team brought about 18 kids to the tournament and most all of them medaled and made it to the podium. Nine-year-old yellow belt Alyssa Wilson took gold in her division. Wilson is no stranger to the competition circuit. She travels around California and to other states along with with her family competing in Jiu-Jitsu tournaments with other A-Team members. She wins gold regularly.

At the Samurai Pro, her performance proved no different. Wilson only had one match, but says she gave it her all. “I submitted her with my secret move, the OMAR #9,” she says slyly, “But I can’t tell you what it is!” This little spitfire says her favorite Jiu-Jitsu move is “The Paintbrush”. It’s like an americana,” she laughs.

Wilson, who’s been training since she was about four-years-old says her dream is to be a black belt one day. “I love doing Jiu-Jitsu,” she says.

Aalijah Pineda with her dad, Jeff

Seven-year-old Aalijah Pineda has been training Jiu-Jitsu for 1 ½ years. She’s currently a gray belt (equivalent to a yellow/white belt) at Cleber Jiu-Jitsu in Huntington Beach, but her long term goal is to be a MMA fighter. At the Samurai Pro, Pineda had three matches and competed in all of them against boys. The first match she won by points, and the second and third she won by armbar.

“I had a good day,” she says, “I had fun. I had tough opponents.” Pineda’s dad moved her up in weight classes because he says he wants her to get to used to fighting up. “Aalijah fights pankration,” he says, “She just came in second in the States.”

While Pineda trains MMA at Rukkus MMA, her first love is still Jiu-Jitsu. “I love it when people are cheering for me during tournaments,” she says, “I love Jiu-Jitsu the best. I love fighting.”

Kaitlyn Harper with Fabricio Werdum

Kaitlyn Harper of GB Pasadena is an eight-year-old yellow/white belt who’s been training in Jiu-Jitsu for 1 ½ years. This sweet little girl with sparkles dusted all over her head and a pink and white polka dotted bow in her hair turns into another child altogether when she gets on the mats to compete. “She’s all girly off the mats, then she tears the other kids up when she gets on the mats!” her coach Orlando Sanchez says, “I love this girl! She’s so great!”

Harper had two matches on Sunday. She won both with armbars. “We all have fun”, she said. As for competing, she says she doesn’t do it often, but she does like to come and meet other competitors. “I got nervous today,” she says, “I felt like I was going to cry, but once I started competing I felt great.”

Ellie Tsang with her dad, Andrew, and her coach, John Munoz

Ellie Tsang, an 11-year-old white belt from C-Quence Jiu-Jitsu fought two matches, both against the same boy. She won her first match by triangle and her second match by points.

“I like to learn new techniques,” she says, “My favorite move is the armbar.” This was Tsang’s third tournament and she had a lot of fun at the Samurai Pro. “I had fun today,” she says, “But I was nervous.” In her final match she had to come from behind to win. To get over her nervousness, she says, “I just do my thing!”

Tsang’s professor is John Munoz, and he says that Tsang is a tough girl and very technical for a white belt. “She’s always willing to listen and learn,” he says, “She pays attention in class and has a really bright future. Her family is supportive and her dad is really helpful.”

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