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  • Isaiah Mercado is SBG Buford’s Kids Martial Arts Student of the Month for February


    Isaiah started training in SBG Buford’s Kids Martial Arts program last December, following in the footsteps of his mother.

    Katie Fagan began training at Straight Blast Gym last fall, enrolling in our Muay Thai program. She had previous experience in another martial art and wanted to broaden her knowledge and skillset by adding Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to her arsenal. After a couple of months of kicking butt (sometimes literally) on the mats, she started giving thought to having her son get involved in our Growing Gorillas Jiu Jitsu program. After having him come to the gym and watch a class, he was ready to be a part of the tribe.

    “I signed Isaiah up because I love SBG, the people, the environment, the training style. I was hooked and I knew despite him giving up on martial arts in the past he would be hooked too. We have tried a few other gyms together and SBG has hands down been the best for many reasons.”

    Isaiah had previously done karate, but it didn’t stick. It’s a story we hear frequently from our young Brazilian Jiu Jitsu athletes; they just weren’t happy doing karate, taekwondo, or other martial arts that are frequently taught in America, for a myriad of reasons. His mother, Katie, thought that karate was “too repetitive, and there were too many kids in class for anyone to receive adequate attention.”

    In Isaiah’s own words, he didn’t feel challenged by karate, and thought that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu could be a more challenging endeavor for him to sink his teeth into. After letting Isaiah know that he was chosen by his coaches to be our Kids Martial Arts Student of the Month, he had this to say about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Straight Blast Gym:

    “It’s a cool way to fight; the other places were too easy with too many belts and you could advance fast, it didn’t challenge me. With SBG I know if I give it everything I got, I could be better and be the best, I want the black belt. A black belt is everything. I really like my coaches and my friends, they make me better. Being Kid of the Month just shows me that I can do it and I don’t ever want to give it up, I want to go all the way.” 

    Isaiah has brought a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and good energy to our Kids Brazilian Jiu Jitsu program. He’s got a very bright future in the sport, and with the SBG tribe. When he’s not snatching armbars in class, he enjoys hiking, basketball, hockey, video games, and play dates with his friends and cousins.

    Congratulations on being named February’s Kids Martial Arts Student of the Month, Isaiah! Keep up the outstanding work.

    Jim Sheppard

    is one of the co-owners of Straight Blast Gym Buford and Straight Blast Gym Atlanta. He has been training / coaching / competing in Muay Thai since 2013 and holds a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.