Lots of kids get into jiu-jitsu after being bullied, and from there, what starts out as a means of self-defense often becomes a lifelong passion.
This seems to be the case for ten-year-old London Navarro, who trains at Form Jiu-Jitsu in Baltimore, Maryland. London began her BJJ journey as a bullying victim three years ago. Her mother, Kim, says that London’s older brother Giancarlo, who has autism and ADHD, was bullied by the same kid and took up jiu-jitsu as well.
“He trains with adults now because of his weight and height, but he still has days where his sensory [sensitivities] get the best of him. Jiu-jitsu has helped him in so many ways. It has taught him discipline, increased his social skills, heightened his confidence and self-esteem,” says Kim.
The love of jiu-jitsu has certainly become a family trait — the kids’ father also trains and is now a blue belt. London in particular, though, has excelled in the sport, winning multiple major titles such as the IBJJF Pan Kids Championship (twice) and the Kids IBJJF International Championship (also twice). She also has a heavy collection of medals she’s earned at local events, such as NAGA, Good Fight, and Grappling Industries.
Unsurprisingly, London’s Cinderella story has earned her a good bit of media attention, including an article in the Baltimore Sun. Soon, her skills caught the eye of the people behind NBC’s Little Big Stars series, which features the talents of young stars like London. The grappling star has now had her chance to shine on the show, getting to meet actor Melissa McCarthy and demonstrating some of her gold-medal-winning skills on McCarthy’s stunt double, Luci Romberg. The interactions London had with Romberg were particularly special to her, and she said she felt like she “gained a big sister” after the show was taped.
London’s appearance on the show was a hit, and she’ll now be among the Little Big Shots kids who will appear in the show’s quarantine special at home.
Check out London’s demonstration below, and make sure you keep an eye out for this young star. If she’s this good now, there’s no telling how far she’ll go.