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  • SBG Atlanta’s March 2017 Kid of the Month: Richie Zuniga



    Little Richie has been training with Straight Blast Gym for nearly four years. Along with his father, Richard, they are two of our longest tenured members.


    Little Richie was only 4 years old when he first put on a gi and began learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Over the years Richie has blossomed into one of the leaders of our Growing Gorillas program, and is one of our more active competitors.

    In addition to being a soccer player and being on the honor roll, Little Richie finds time to commit to martial arts at least twice per week, usually more. His father, Richard, explains how Little Richie first got started in jiu jitsu, and the positive effects it has had on him:

    “When I was training my son would be off to the side just watching. I could tell he was interested, so I thought I’d let him give it a try. Four years later and he is still going strong. I really like the way it makes him face adversity and overcome. Sometimes a match or a practice don’t go his way and he has to bounce back stronger. I am super proud of him.”

    In February, Richie and his family traveled across the nation to Long Beach, California to compete in the International Brazilian Jiu JItsu Kid’s Pans. This is the largest kid’s jiu jitsu tournament in the United States, and brings out the best of the best kids. After suffering a tough loss on points at Pans, Richie quickly rebounded and wanted to compete again as soon as possible to get back in the win column. The following weekend here in Atlanta, Richie got his chance.

    Learning from the previous weekend’s defeat, Little Richie came in focused and ready. At the end of the day Richie stood victorious, earning a gold medal in his division.

    “I love that we get to compete and train together” says his father. “These are memories that I’ll always cherish, and I love that we get to have something like this in common.”

    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.