Saturday, September 30, 2023

A Jiu-Jitsu Story

There’s nothing the Community Services Athletics Division loves more than hearing success stories from our programs.

We recently received an incredible essay from one of our Jiu-Jitsu participants, Thomas Highsmith. Thomas recounts his experience moving to Southlake from Washington D.C. at eight years old and finding his home with Sensei George Weidenhof and the Southlake Jiu-Jitsu community.

Thomas felt like a “tiny twig in a forest of giant oak trees,” during his first few classes as a second grader. In order to accommodate his busy schedule, Thomas started out his Jiu-Jitsu journey in the advanced class. Rising to the challenge of being amongst older and more experienced peers, Thomas knew early on that Jiu-Jitsu was where he wanted to spend his evenings after school.

The road to becoming a black belt was long and winding. Thomas had to prove competency in over a dozen techniques and build up the stamina to learn more than 15 School Rules. Sensei Weidenhof’s community encouraged him in his practice and encouraged him to become a leader on and off the mat.

After multiple years of dedication, determination, and practice, Thomas Highsmith is officially a black belt! He feels “truly humbled by this experience, all I have learned, the history that precedes me, and the sacrifices of many people involved. I have gained so much confidence, kindled a burning internal desire to always achieve my very best, learned the difference between kindness and being nice, and am grasping the challenging tenets of effective leadership.”

Thomas’s story demonstrates the positive impact participating in youth athletics can have on a child’s life. Finding Jiu-Jitsu helped Thomas grow as an athlete, person, and leader and eased his transition to Southlake to the point of becoming an active participant in the community. The confidence Jiu-Jitsu gave Thomas on the mat transferred to him “actively embracing leadership roles in academic team projects and at the Southlake Public Library.” Thomas attributes this seamless transition to “the art of Jiujitsu, its virtues, Sensei’s consistent reinforcement, and the accountability he places upon every member of [the] class.”

Sensei Weidenhof was kind enough to pass Thomas’s moving essay to our staff. According to Weidenhof, he is “so proud of Thomas, an amazing young man! The support was the best from the monitors at the Front Desk to Athletics Supervisor Jonathan Weeks.”

Congratulations on your achievements, Thomas, and thank you for sharing your journey with us!

Falling into Jiu-Jitsu: Sign up for Adult Jiu-Jitsu this Fall

The summer celebrations came and went, and now is the perfect time to fall into a new routine!

Adult Jiu-Jitsu is back in September and October, and if you’ve been waiting for a sign to start a new hobby, this is it! Our Adult Jiu-Jitsu class is designed for beginners with little or no experience. In this class, you will learn basic moves, positions, and the fundamentals of Jiu-Jitsu. Alongside our experienced instructor, you will learn step-by-step techniques and build a strong foundation in jiu-jitsu.

There are many benefits of practicing Jiu-Jitsu, and it’s never too late to start! The physical benefits are similar to those reaped from other martial arts. Due to its highly rigorous nature, it’s no surprise that Jiu-Jitsu helps with physical conditioning. You will get a cardio, stretch, resistance, and breath workout in a typical practice.

In addition to improving strength and condition, Jiu-Jitsu teaches you self-defense after several years of practice. Who doesn’t want to be prepared at all times? If nothing else, Jiu-Jitsu teaches you proper falling techniques to avoid injury. Hopefully, you’ll never have to defend yourself from a bad guy, but at least you’ll be able to show those pesky stairs who’s boss the next time they try to trip you up.

You may already know the physical benefits of practicing Jiu-Jitsu, such as burning calories, improving flexibility, and building strength. However, there are multiple mental health benefits as well. Jiu-jitsu teaches patience and discipline due to the importance of timing and rhythm in the Jiu-Jitsu technique. Jiu-Jitsu also helps reduce stress, which is vital to building patience and discipline.

The benefits of learning Jiu-Jitsu are undeniable. If the physical and mental advantages didn’t convince you, then keep in mind that learning a new skill and perfecting a hobby is fun! If nothing else, give yourself the satisfaction of challenging yourself in new ways. You may even meet some great friends along the way.

Adult Jiu-Jitsu starts on September 8 and runs through October 27. Practices are held on Wednesdays from 7:30 PM to 8:30 PM at the Champions Club Premier Studio. Register here.

See you on the mat!

Kickstart Your 2019 with Southlake’s Spring Youth Jiu Jitsu Classes

Session 2 of our youth jiu jitsu program begins Monday, February 25 and runs through Monday, April 3. Registration closes the Friday before classes begin (February 22).

One of our most popular youth classes, jiu jitsu is a true mind-body workout that strengthens children’s physical, emotional and social skills. In addition to learning age-appropriate martial arts techniques that will prepare them to one day become a Black Belt, Jiu jitsu students also learn respect, responsibility, self-esteem, confidence, discipline, heightened awareness and much more.

Registration is now open for our spring 2019 jiu jitsu classes. Click your desired session and time below to see what all the excitement is about!


Resident Fee: $94
Non-Resident Fee: $118

February 25 – April 3
Ages 5–11: 6:15–7:00pm
Ages 12–18: 7:00–8:00pm

April 15 – May 15
Ages 5–11: 6:15–7:00pm
Ages 12–18: 7:00–8:00pm

If you have any questions, please contact Southlake Community Services at (817) 748-8019.

Registration Is Open for Mother & Daughter Self-Defense

Participants will learn simple and effective strategies for personal safety while increasing their situational awareness.

Southlake Parks and Recreation is proud to offer this unique class designed especially for young women ages 14 and up to train in self-defense with their mothers.

Instructors will begin by discussing situational awareness and demonstrating the four levels of awareness: white (tuned out), yellow (relaxed awareness), orange (focused awareness) and red (high alert). Students will then learn and practice proven self-defense techniques from jiu jitsu, a martial art that levels the playing field for smaller opponents by emphasizing strategy, leverage and ground fighting.

Participants of all ages will leave class confident in their ability to maintain active awareness and defend themselves in potentially dangerous situations.

Summer 2018 Mother & Daughter Self-Defense Class Schedule

All classes are held on Monday evenings from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m.

August Session: August 6–27
Cost: $40 per person
Click here to register

For more information, please contact Southlake Parks and Recreation at 817-748-8019.

World Class Martial Artist Maria Dhami Visits Southlake Jiu Jitsu Students

Internationally renowned judoka Maria Dhami stopped by Southlake’s jiu jitsu class on Monday, May 14 to share her journey towards becoming an Olympic athlete.

World class judoka Maria Dhami visits Southlake jiu jitsu classAlthough Ms. Dhami, a member of USA Judo National Team FORCE, will be leaving for China later this week, she returned on Wednesday evening to cheer on jiu jitsu students Kyle Harris and Maahiyaa Datwani as they tested for their black belt 1st dan. Their impressive promotions bring the total number of black belts generated by the Southlake jiu jitsu program to 40!

Southlake’s popular jiu jitsu program is designed to teach children self-discipline, confidence and techniques for channeling their energy in a positive way. Student growth is marked by progression through a skills-based belt system, but the heart of jiu jitsu is its emphasis on the hard work and dedication that goes into earning each belt. Sparring with partners teaches children respect, self-control and sportsmanship—and it’s a killer workout, too! In addition to improving physical fitness and flexibility, practicing jiu jitsu strengthens multi-tasking skills and even improves hand-eye coordination. The social, emotional and physical benefits of practicing jiu jitsu encourage kids of all ages to commit to living a healthy and balanced life.

Registration is currently open for our two summer jiu jitsu sessions: early summer (June 4–July 18) and late summer (July 23–August 29). You can register online using the links below or in person at Southlake Town Hall (1400 Main Street, Suite 210). For more information, please call Southlake Parks and Recreation at 817-748-8019.

June 4–July 18 (Mondays & Wednesdays)

Ages 5–7: 6:15–7:00 p.m.
Click here to register

Ages 8–18: 7:00–8:00 p.m.
Click here to register

July 23–August 29 (Mondays & Wednesdays)

Ages 5–7: 6:15–7:00 p.m.
Click here to register

Ages 8–18: 7:00–8:00 p.m.
Click here to register