LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) -The Dreadnought Brazilian Jiu-Jitzu gym in Lawton aims to build confidence and discipline in its students.
Virgil Allen, owner of Dreadnought Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, teaches his students martial arts for sport and for self-defense.
“My job as an instructor, as far as martial arts, is to try and teach those kids different ways to handle those bullies without having to use physical force first. After that physical force has been broken and that kid needs to defend himself, then he needs to utilize techniques that are ground based techniques of controlling and manipulating the body," said Allen.
Monica Henson’s three children are students at Dreadnought, and have each benefited in different ways. Her daughter started training at Dreadnought because of a bullying incident.
“She believed people hated her. It took her a year to overcome that negative thinking that she had about herself, but with almost a year of coming here, she was able to regain that confidence. She was able to see what she was capable of," said Henson.
For her eldest son, it gave him new goals.
“He went from going from 3,4,5 hours of video games a day, to ‘I want to be in jiu-jitsu. I’m tired of sitting around at home. I’m going to go outside and make friends. It really opened him up, too," said Henson.
And for her youngest son, it made him feel included.
“He doesn’t feel that he’s behind or he’s not like everyone else. The family aspect of being here, the friends he’s made, the loving coaches that care for him, all of them. They didn’t give up on my kids. They made them feel special,” said Henson.
Allen wants Dreadnought to feel like a family, which is why he helps cover the cost of nationals, so his students and their families don’t have to. Allen hosts fundraisers, car washes, and is seeking business sponsorship’s to help pay for the trip.
“It helps so much because, you know, we pay monthly, but it’s not that bad, but when it comes to getting uniforms and extra stuff and travel, hotels and then you have to pay entry fees and spectator fees, it really helps when he does all that,” said Brandi Bannister.
“Not only do they feel something, that accomplishment if they win, they’re also being with the whole team. While it may seem like an individual sport, all of them go up there and they’re together. They’re taking a group photo. It just seems so inclusive, and I love that. I love that for them,” said Henson.
Last year they were able to take 56 students to nationals, and this year they're aiming to take 100.
If you’d like to help send Dreadnought Brazilian Jiu-Jitzu students to nationals, you can drop off donations at 1912 northwest Lawton Avenue.
Business sponsorship’s are also welcomed. For more information, contact Virgil Allen on his gym’s Facebook page.