Roughly five years ago, 13-year-old Gaven Robertson decided to try and find a form of self-defence after a case of bullying on the way home from school. Along the way, he discovered the self-confidence and a natural talent for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). 

Travis Robertson, Gaven’s dad, says Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has taught the young yellow-black belt a lot.  

“He’s become a very confident kid now. He has respect, not just for sport but respect in (his) life has changed.” 

Robertson says that Gaven’s become a role model for Alavanca in Airdrie, helping younger students in the club learn while he trains with the adults of the clubs. Despite this, he still makes an effort to mentor everyone, including his younger siblings. Gaven makes sure to always perform respectfully, and humbly, and be a good sportsman adapting the principle of Jiu-Jitsu.  

The skills Gaven has obtained he hopes will aid him as he looks forward into his Jiu-Jitsu career, with three upcoming international tournaments coming up.  

The first tournament was the North American Grappling Association Tournament in Las Vegas, followed by travelling to San Diego to train for a week for the two next tournaments. After San Diego, he will return to Las Vegas where he will compete alongside Echo, his younger nine-year-old sister, at the International Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Federation on September 3.  Then finishing off his busy month, he will compete in the ADCC Open on September 15.  

(File Photo)Echo (Left), Tim (Center) and Gaven (Right) posing together for a photo (Photo Provided by Travis Robertson)  

While Gaven hopes to do well at all of these tournaments, he isn’t necessarily looking at them as a win-loss competition, his father Travis added.  

“He’s optimistic he’s going to do well. He’s been training very hard but for him, he looks at it as a life experience, but he is gunning for that top spot”. 

From the sport, he’s gained more confidence in his everyday life from competing, including his school life where the bullying has stopped since he started doing Jiu-Jitsu.  

He has learnt to recognize situations where bullying might arise and tries to intervene and de-escalate the situation before anyone gets hurt.  

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