Fourteen-year-old martial artist Jaeden Wilson says he’s been fighting since he was a baby.
He recalls watching a video of himself at three years old throwing punches, hands up, protecting his face.
One of the biggest misconceptions about the sport he says, is “people just assume we’re like Rock’em Sock’em robots out there.”
In fact, the sport requires a great deal of control, strategy and skill. And Jaeden has all three in abundance.
On Sunday, Nov. 12 he attended the West Coast Combat Championships in Prince George where he won three gold medals, easily defeating many of his opponents.
Coach and father, Trevor Wilson says “we might have over-prepared.”
Although Jaeden has been training and competing in judo since he was seven, for this tournament he competed in two divisions of Brazilian jiu-jitsu and in kickboxing.
According to Trevor, Jaeden announced he wanted to try kickboxing only a month before the competition.
Since Trevor’s background is in kickboxing, he was a willing sparring partner and trainer.
In the weeks leading up to the tournament, Jaeden practiced kickboxing twice a week for a couple hours and judo also twice a week.
He says he was training on average about five or six days a week on top of starting a new job at McDonald’s and doing school work.
“I’m taking math and there’s a lot of homework,” he adds.
The transition to Brazilian jiu-jitsu wasn’t that difficult for Jaeden as it has many similarities to judo, including a lot of ground work.
He competed and won gold in both the gi and no gi divisions.
The gi is the traditional white uniform that martial artists wear.
The no gi division sees the participants battle it out in shorts and a T-shirt.
In the jiu-jitsu matches, “the only way to win is to get the submission,” notes Trevor.
Jaeden coaxed submissions out of all his opponents, possibly due to the fact that he often trains against adults.
He notes that he’d really like to test his skills against other fighters his same age and size.
“I was definitely the biggest 14-year-old at that competition,” Jaeden adds. But maybe he’ll get his chance at the BC Winter Games.
He’ll be trying out for the judo team in two weeks time in Prince George and he hopes to secure a spot in order to test his skills and strategy as well as compete in a sport he loves.
In a team sport, he explains, you’re relying on other people but in martial arts, “I have to rely totally on myself. It’s pure skill and strategy.”