Jessie Ward, a junior in high school, isn’t your average 16 year-old. Currently, he’s a blue belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and attends ATA Martial Arts in Minot. Ward recently broke a record in the world of Jiu-Jitsu. Local 16-year-old becomes youngest Jiu-Jitsu instructor under the Gracie banner. As an instructor, he technically outranks the owner of his academy. Oh, and Ward is a black belt in Taekwondo!
His journey in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu started at the age of six. At the time, Ward’s instructor considered him a somewhat awkward and uncoordinated child. Dan Merck still remembers that his young student had heart and tenacity unmatched by his peers. A decade or so of training has turned Ward into a young prodigy. To become a certified Gracie instructor, Ward headed to California to showcase his abilities in front of the Gracies.
It’s hard to argue against what Ward has accomplished, and he plans to keep going in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. For now, he’s a blue belt, but another decade could see him reaching far beyond that stage. A love for Jiu-Jitsu and a general desire to improve fuels Ward’s success. Perhaps he’ll enter into BJJ competitions on a grand scale in the coming years.