BY MELANIE BUCK –
On Saturday, June 13th, members of Ouachita Mountain Martial Arts (OMMA) competed at the North American Grappling Association’s (NAGA) Arkansas Championship Jiu Jitsu tournament. The OMMA team brought three competitors to the event. Toby Watkins, competing in his first grappling tournament, Lilly Rowland, a seasoned competitor for her age and Gage Henry, a great up and coming grappler competing in his second tournament.
Lilly Rowland fought hard and showed great courage to get on the mats despite the anxiety that comes with competition, especially with bigger older opponents, which was the case for her. She competed hard and ended up coming home with two silver medals, one in her Gi (martial arts training uniform) division and one in her Nogi (without the Gi) division.
Gage Henry fought in Gi and Nogi and displayed great technique coming home with a silver medal in Nogi and winning first place in Gi, which earned him a katana (samurai sword) which is the customary first place prize for kids in NAGA tournaments.
Toby Watkins, in his first tournament after months of hard training, shined in three different divisions winning first place in all three divisions, beating opponents with more experience in each division. Toby also won a katana and two gold medals for his efforts.
Through competition, and Jiu Jitsu in general, all three competitors learn valuable life lessons of respect, hard work, facing your fears, and overcoming adversity. OMMA was honored to have them represent the team on the big stage in Little Rock. OMMA has classes for kids as young as 5 and for adults. If you and/or your child are interested in trying a free class, contact Andy Threlkeld at 479-216-1629, check us out on Facebook, or come by and see us in the Atwood’s shopping center in Mena, right next to the new Dollar Tree.