Today we’re kicking off the first of a series of blog posts about the people that make up Bay Jiu-Jitsu. Meet our members, learn about their background, their experience and what excites them about the future. Join us over the coming months as we introduce you to our incredible Guys and Gals Behind the GIs. 

Today, meet 11-year-old and 4 year Bay Jiu-Jitsu member, Lucas Tucker.
How long have you been doing Brazilian jiu-jitsu?
I started around my 7th birthday, about 4 and a half years ago. My friend told me he was training in BJJ and liked it, so I decided to give it a shot.

Do you participate in other athletic activities?
I started playing lacrosse about three years ago, and am now on my school’s lacrosse team. This helps my physical strength, balance and cardio. I have also done competitive soccer, baseball and skiing in the past. All of these sports have helped me to develop a competitive mentality.

What would you say is your biggest accomplishment in Brazilian jiu-jitsu?
My biggest accomplishment is having participated in about 40 tournaments, and especially pulling off a flying armbar at NAGA, which surprised me more than anyone!

How do you set your Brazilian jiu-jitsu goals?
After I lose to someone good in a tournament, I say to myself “I’m going to beat that kid,” and try to figure out how to do that, what are his strengths and weaknesses.

What one or two things do you currently do in your training that are keys to your success?
Rolling with my dad at home, and focusing down on one or two moves at a time and doing my best to master them.

What is your biggest challenge with Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and what do you do to manage this challenge?
Technically, my biggest challenge is getting out of half guard. Otherwise, my challenges have been learning how to roll with adults, and dealing with nerves before a big tournament.

Do you have any recommended resources to share (books, seminars, websites, coaches)?
Key coaches for me have been Stephan, Shawn, Travis, Junior and Alex. The seminars with Gianni Grippo and Reilly Bodycomb made a real difference for me, and got me fired up! I’ve read through a few BJJ books, including Marcelo Garcia’s X-Guard, and Reilly Bodycomb’s book on Sambo Wrestling. Mainly when I want to learn things about martial arts, I go online and look at Youtube videos of people I know competing in BJJ, wrestling, judo or MMA. I’m also a big UFC fan, and my favorite fighter is Cub Swanson.

Have you experienced a breakthrough with Brazilian jiu-jitsu?
Once I was in a tournament with five matches against kids who were 1-2 years older than me and up to 15 pounds heavier, and I was getting destroyed. I felt ready to quit, but my father said if I beat the next kid he would get me a chameleon. That was what it took, and I woke up, beat the next kid, and now own a cool panther chameleon from Madagascar.

What was the best advice you were ever given regarding sports?
People have told me a lot that winning and losing are not the most important things, but just doing my best, and I think that’s true.

Do you have a saying or motto that you live your life by?
For BJJ, it’s “leave it all on the mat.” For life in general, it’s “do your best and never give up!”

Anything else you’d like to share?
BJJ has gotten more fun as my skills have improved, and I’d encourage other kids to stick with it, especially when it seems hard or scary.

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