Back to School Martial Arts - A Teen's Perspective - Part 1
Posted: August 13, 2019
My name is Luke Gillett. I am 16 years old and I began my martial arts journey in September 2010, just before my 8th birthday. I was always a shy kid who didn’t have tons of friends. I had just moved to a new town in Rhode Island and I was looking for a way to meet new people and find a new afterschool activity. At the time, I was signed up for a recreational baseball league when my stepfather urged me to try Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Doing JiuJitsu was tons of fun. I remember that we would do hour long classes 2 nights a week, just like Elevate. I absolutely loved it and so did my stepfather. We became closer through Jiu Jitsu and he would go out of his way to get me to practice. (Side note, I would like to thank all of the parents who take their time to bring their children to practice. I never quite appreciated exactly what was being done for me at the time, but cannot stress enough that part of my success was having someone who was just as committed as I was). I made countless friendships and became less shy and more confident talking to others. Some of my closest friends and mentors were found through Jiu Jitsu. Recently, I actually found an old video from when I did martial arts as a kid. Here's a video from my old martial arts school.
When I was 9 years old, I met Sensei Brett at a Jiu Jitsu practice. I wish I had known just how influential he would be in the rest of my martial arts experience. In February of 2012, a year later, Sensei Brett and his wife Sensei Sandra, began a Wednesday night Judo practice. I was one of the youngest students in the class but I had something others didn’t. My experience with Jiu Jitsu was incredibly helpful. My familiarity with the mat separated me from others. Judo is very hard, much harder than Jiu jitsu. In fact, Sensei Brett argues that Judo is the hardest martial art. My first year of Judo was full of failures and difficulties. Judo was an uphill battle, that was one of the best things I have ever done. It instilled in me a mindset of working hard and pushing through struggle. I had faith that my hard work would pay off and it eventually did. I became better at Judo and my Jiu Jitsu benefitted as well. My composure in difficult situations on and off the mat improved. Martial arts have had a profound positive effect on my life and I am glad to have found them when I did. I look forward to the future to see where my path takes me.