Ethan Erb, left, and Shea Fenton show off their medals at the Northwest Submission Challenge in Boise, Idaho. Photo courtesy of Ramona Stark
Ethan Erb, left, and Shea Fenton show off their medals at the Northwest Submission Challenge in Boise, Idaho. Photo courtesy of Ramona Stark

Maybe you haven't heard of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which is a martial art and combat sport that teaches a smaller person how to defend himself against a larger adversary by using leverage and proper technique. The Gracie family, the founders of BJJ, modified judo and traditional Japanese jujutsu to create the art.

Right here in Park City, we have our very own black-belt professor, Mike Diaz, and his academy Park City Jiu-Jitsu. Mike has also created a competition team that is traveling throughout the West. Jiu-Jitsu is growing rapidly in participation and competitions.

Park City Jiu-Jitsu students recently traveled to Boise, Idaho, for the Northwest Submission Challenge at the Capitol High School Gym. Six athletes traveled and all of them medaled. This small team made their mark on the event and impressed the referees and other coaches. The competition included athletes from California, Idaho, Nevada and Utah. It is one of the larger tournaments in the West.

Diaz was ecstatic with the results and said, "This is what we train to do. The kids and their parents are so committed and supportive. We have truly created something special in Park City. The other academies are impressed by not only our athletes' talent but the respect they show to the sport and their fellow competitors. "

The results from the Northwest Submission Challenge in Boise:

Adult Division:

Nick Howlett, 27: fought 10 fights, taking silver in two different divisions and bronze in the open-weight division.

Teen Division:

Collin Horne, 18: fought six fights, winning two gold medals in two different divisions.

Shea Fenton, 13: fought three times, winning a bronze and silver in two different divisions.

Ethan Erb, 13: fought three times and won gold.

Kids Division:

Rebekah Hardman, 11: the overall champion, winning all six fights with six submissions and two gold medals in two divisions.

Caden Gennerman, 9: the overall champion, winning all six fights with six submissions and two gold medals in two divisions.

Kili Rust, 11: fought three fights to win gold.

A few weeks later, members of the team traveled to Lehi, Utah, for the Northern Grapplers held at the Lehi High School Gym. The competition was made up of mostly kids and academies based in Salt Lake. The local professors were impressed by the talent and demeanor of the PCBJJ team.

The results from the Northern Grapplers in Lehi, Utah:

Rebekah Hardman, 11: Overall champion, submitting all opponents to win double gold.

Caden Gennerman, 9: Overall champion, winning both divisions to take home double gold.

Nate Rust, 8: First-time competitor won both divisions to take home double gold.

Kili Rust, 11: took silver and bronze.

Mike Diaz was again pleased with the results and said, "At Park City Jiu-Jitsu, once the kids improve, they are moved to a more advanced class to ensure the academy produces a high-level adult competitor. This is reflected in the results we are seeing."

Mike Diaz has been doing jiu-jitsu for 18 years and earned his black belt in 2006. Park City Jiu-Jitsu has been in business for over four years. PCBJJ is located at 786 Division Rd. in Park City (Silver Creek). They also have self-defense classes and BJJ classes for adult and kids who want learn the art and not compete. Email parkcityjiujitsu@gmail.com , call 801-638-5950 or visit www.parkcitybjj.com.