Although Alex Enriquez recently bested one of MMA’s finest female fighters and Olympic silver medalist Sara McMann (yes—that Sara McMann) at Kakuta Submission Challenge 6 in September, she will be the first one to tell you that some of her proudest moments come from serving as an instructor of Kids BJJ classes at KnuckleUp Fitness.
Now 16, Enriquez started taking Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes just five years ago when she was eleven years old. After being coached by Steve Mitchell, Enriquez says she discovered she had a passion for teaching others.
“I enjoy helping others and find happiness watching those I’ve helped succeed,” says Enriquez.
As a young student, Enriquez credits Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for helping her develop many needed skills to help her overcome adversity in both life and at school. Through being a student of learning she was able to find ways to learn to balance schoolwork and sports. She developed perseverance, which helped her get through the tough times all people face.
“The people I am surrounded with in Jiu-Jitsu have taught me to keep pushing and how to make life choices,” Enriquez explains.
In a society where bullying is still a common problem in schools, the KnuckleUp Kids BJJ program offers up the development of character traits that allow kids to stand up for themselves and others in an appropriate and self-confident way.
Kids that come into and stick with the program, explains Enriquez, “have a unique drive that separates them from other martial arts or athletic activities.” Enriquez says results will include: confidence, early leadership skills, perseverance and an overall healthy physical and mental growth that she has found in herself having grown up with the sport as part of her life.
Enriquez herself loves that being an instructor with Kids BJJ enables her to continue to grow. “The kids at KnuckleUp have a wide range of personalities and I adore each and everyone of them. I find myself learning as much as I teach.”
For those coming into the Kids BJJ program for the first time, Enriquez says they will be hit with a typhoon of movement and noise, but she encourages new students to embrace their environment and stay the course. “The atmosphere here at KnuckleUp is one of the most welcoming, whether you are looking to be competitive or just looking for a hobby.” Enriquez, who calls her trainers her second family and the gym her second home, knows students will find the same connection at KnuckleUp.
The Kids BJJ program is, as Enriquez describes it, “a force to be reckoned with.” In competition, she says, the kids program has always brought home medals and championships from each of their competitors. The spirit of learning and competition is strong at KnuckleUp Fitness.
Enriquez is honored to be such a big part of Kids BJJ at KnuckleUp. “I can proudly say that I have full faith in every one of the kids and soon enough our program will be number one in Georgia.”