People from all backgrounds train jiu-jitsu, and as we’ve seen in the past, jiu-jitsu has proven itself to have great benefits for practitioners with autism.
A young boy named Anakin is among the BJJ athletes out there who are on the autism spectrum, and a few days ago, he got a match against a boy named Collin at the Battleground Grappling Championship in Texas. Anakin’s dad, Michael Eaddy, said in a post that he expected this to be a life lesson for his son, that you can’t win every match. But instead, he watched as Collin put up a decent fight, but not enough to beat Anakin.
It was soon apparent to Michael that Collin was letting Anakin win the match without making it too easy for his opponent. Michael later caught up with Collin’s mother, Crystal Tingley, who revealed that she’d spoken with her son prior to the match, who said that her son had wanted to “make [Anakin] work a little bit,” then let him win the match via tapout.
The experience was an emotional one for everyone involved, and Michael shared his thoughts about it on Facebook:
“I just wanted to share my gratitude for the empathy and humility your students showed my son. My son (Anakin) has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) High Functioning. Our Professor reached out to the Battle Grounds Tournament team and they found a fight for my son. This young man graciously allowed my son to “win” the match by making him feel like he was really fighting to win. I had no idea this was happening until I watched their match. I realized that this young man, Collin Tingley, was allowing Anakin to win. I just assumed that Anakin was gonna have to fight and learn that you can’t always win. Later after speaking with Collin’s mother, I learned that she had a talk with him about his plan to fight my son. She said he wanted to make him work a little bit, then he was gonna tap out and let Anakin win.
I was a mess afterwards, I was so caught up with emotions. This is why I love BJJ. Even though we are on different teams, we love and look out for each other. What an amazing family you have at your Dojo. Revolution Dojo has an amazing team and obviously some amazing coaches. Again, I can not thank you enough for making my son feel special. God bless you all.“
You can watch the special match below: