Poet, 19-time BJJ gold medalist, and aspiring CIA agent are not three career choices most of us would associate with one another.
Not all of us are Jazzmine Gwen, though.
Gwen is a 9-year-old student at Alex Martins Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Dallas, Texas, and at Infinite Dynasty Academy in Wylie, Texas. In only four-and-a-half years of training, she has won almost 20 gold medals and is about to compete for her third time at the Submission Hunter Pro Grappling Superfights.
Jazzmine wasn’t always the little butt-kicker that she is today, though. According to her mother, Melody, she was shy and would frequently let other kids “run her over.” Her parents therefore got her into BJJ, but it wasn’t all clean sailing from there, as Jazzmine did not like jiu-jitsu at first.
Today, Gwen stands up to bullies, destroys the competition on the mats, and is about to have one of her poems published in the Young American Poetry Digest. She is also an honor roll student, and she was voted the Best Female Athlete at her school. Furthermore, she is an artist who has won numerous first prizes for her work and has even been recognized by the mayor of her city.
That’s not even half of what she wants to accomplish, either. Jazzmine hopes to follow in the footsteps of great female fighters like Ronda Rousey by winning a UFC title. She also wants to live in Japan and join the CIA (not sure which order).
Needless to say, if Jazzmine’s goal in life is to be a great competitor and defender of the innocent, she’s off to a wonderful start.
The Jiu-Jitsu Times spoke with Melody Gwen via Facebook instant messenger. The following interview has been edited slightly for clarity.
Jiu-Jitsu Times: First off, can you tell us about your daughter. How old is she and how long has she been training?
Melody Gwen: Jazzmine is nine years old. She started when she was four-and-a-half years old.
JJT: What got her into BJJ?
MG: We decided to put her in jiu-jitsu because she was very shy and let other kids run her over basically, and her dad did jiu-jitsu when he was in the military.
JJT: And how has it changed her personality?
MG: Now she is very confident and always helps kids that were like her. Numerous times in school, when she saw kids getting bullied, she stepped up to help. The principal even thanked her in front of the students. She is also an honor roll student and writes poems about jiu-jitsu. Her poem is also being published in the young American Poetry Digest book. She feels best, she says, being on the mat, but when she first started, she disliked jiu-jitsu for a long time.
MG: She didn’t like to hurt kids. When she submitted her opponent, she used to cry and apologize. It even caught other people’s attention at tournaments. After she won, she was not happy and always concerned about her opponent.
Here’s an example to illustrate my point:
JJT: That’s incredibly nice of her. When did things start to change?
MG: About two years ago. Now she loves it and can’t live without it.
JJT: How often does she compete?
MG: Right now she’s been competing every couple of months because she has been preparing for pro matches.
JJT: How does she typically do during competitions?
MG: She usually places gold, sometimes silver. Her pro record is 1-0-1.
JJT: How many gold medals has she won?
JJT: Wow! So, tell us about this upcoming match.
MG: It’s her third pro match with Submission Hunter Pro, which is under Garcia Promotions. Mike the Truth is also affiliated with them. He will be fighting CM Punk in the UFC next. Jazzmine has been preparing with private lessons and a private strength and conditioning coach. She is very excited. Every time she steps on that stage, she said she feels like she can achieve anything in life. Those are her own words. She trains under Professor Alex Martins and Lucas Pinheiro at Alex Martins BJJ and our affiliate Infinite Dynasty under professor Bobby Pena. She is sponsored by Girl-Jitsu. Her goal is to get the UFC belt, live in Japan, and work for the CIA.