"It's in her blood: Prince follows in parents' footsteps, climbing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ranks"
Originally Posted by the Carrollton News Democrat | By: Tim Hendrick
Cartmell Elementary fifth-grader Brooklyn Prince is not your normal 10-year-old. First, she was diagnosed with Type I diabetes when she was two years old. She has been wearing an insulin pump since she was three. But she hasn’t let that slow her down. She also is recognized nationally as an up-and-coming Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitor with plans to compete in the national tournament in November.
Brooklyn is the daughter of Emily and Randall Prince. The family moved to Carroll County four years ago from West Virginia when Brooklyn’s dad came here to work for the now Dow Chemical site. Emily said there were a lot of reasons they moved to Carrollton from West Virginia. She said better schools, access to more diverse medical resources, family in the area and better Jiu Jitsu gyms were among the reasons.
A good gym is important when you are literally born into the sport. Randall was a wrestler during his scholastic career and he became interested in Jiu Jitsu when Emily was pregnant with Brooklyn, so Brooklyn has been around the sport her entire life.
Randall is working towards his black belt, which Emily said could take 10 or more years. Emily said there are not many belts to achieve, so getting to the highest-ranking belts is literally called a journey.
“My dad started teaching me the basics when I was little,” Brooklyn said. “He would be training and show me what he was doing.”
Brooklyn currently holds a grey belt and trains at Oldham County Martial Arts Academy with Aaron Burgin. Emily said they could not say enough nice things about Burgin. “He has been great to Brooklyn.”
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is derived from Japanese disciplines. Emily said in the grand scheme of martial arts BJJ is relatively new, having existed for less than 100 years.
BJJ is ground fighting and is derived from judo because it uses throws to take someone to the ground and then uses Jiu Jitsu to take the opponent to submission.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is the basis for Mixed Martial Arts fighting. It promotes the concept that a smaller, weaker person can successfully defend themselves or another against a bigger, stronger, heavier assailant by using proper technique, leverage, and most notably, taking the fight to the ground, and then applying joint locks and chokeholds to defeat the opponent.
While Brooklyn has been around the sport all her life she has just begun to compete. She has been going to tournaments for a little over a year, Emily said. She had advanced very quickly and surprised many with how quickly she has progressed.
The Prince family has traveled to tournaments in West Virginia, Ohio and Indiana and plans to compete in the national tournament in California in the late fall. There is a national tournament coming up this month, but Brooklyn is not ready for it just yet, Emily said.
Tournament matches for youth are set up when the competitors have weighed in. The classes are divided up by weight and age. Emily said there is never any pressure to make weight like there is in wrestling.The International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation has unified the scoring system.
Emily said the matches in a tournament could last as long as 5-6 minutes depending on the format. Competitors earn points or end the matches upon submission.
“I like the longer matches because it is more difficult to get submission in the shorter matches,” Brooklyn said. “Winning a points match is not as much fun. I want my opponent to tap out [submit].”
Emily said the scoring is similar to a wrestling match. Competitors get points for technique, but submission is the same as a pin, it cancels the points.
Brooklyn has won six silver medals in her last six tournaments over the last six months. Emily said she will earn a gold medal in the near future.
Brooklyn is not training as much right now to give her body a chance to grow and prevent burnout. She is training three hours a week right now, but she will go back to six to eight hours a week before long.
Brooklyn also suffered a concussion six months ago. She was picked up in an illegal move and slammed to the mat. Emily said just like any sporting event, some of the tournaments are run better than others.
Brooklyn currently weighs 98 pounds and said she weighed between 85 and 95 in the tournaments over the last six months. Her mom said she is going through a growth spurt right now.
At 10 years old Brooklyn has sponsors: Breakpoint and CK Fightlife. They pay for training, entry fees, gear and travel to the tournaments.
Both of Brooklyn’s parents are coaching in the new Carroll County Parks and Recreation wrestling program. Emily said they are so excited to have this program here. Brooklyn wrestled in the Oldham County Youth Colonels program. Randi Miller was her coach and she was a women’s wrestling bronze medalist in the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Emily said there are new women’s college wrestling programs and there are lots of college scholarships available. Emily described Brooklyn as quiet and artistic. She likes creating art and playing the drums. Her mom said she is a good student and is good at math and science.
Brooklyn said she also was becoming interested in animation. Brooklyn is in Samantha Abercrombie’s fifth-grade class.
“Brooklyn is so strongly determined in everything she does,” Abercrombie said. “When she develops an idea of how she thinks something should be, she works to make it happen.”
When asked if Jiu Jitsu training has helped with her focus and work ethic, Abercrombie said, no doubt.
“Brooklyn takes the time to see the fine details and reasoning behind things,” she said. “I absolutely believe her Jiu Jitsu training has helped her refine those skills.”
The Princes have four children. “The plan was to space them out every four years,” Emily said. “The second oldest is a daughter, Tristen, 7, a son Harper who will be three in about a week and the youngest son, Logan, who is one year old and was a slight surprise. All the children train with us.”
Emily summed up Brooklyn’s Jiu Jitsu training saying it is nice to know that your child is bully proof.