HoneyKids had a chat with cool teen Kamila Khalyksovet about what it takes to become a BJJ World Champion, how she juggles school and training, and how the sport has taught her many important life lessons.
In a time where you constantly hear parents complain about their kids’ screen time, how they can’t get them to play outdoors or get into sports, it’s refreshing to hear about a teen like 14-year-old Kamila Khalyksovet. Since starting Brazilian Jiu-jitsu (BJJ) in 2011, Kamila has joined 34 competitions around the world and won 25 gold, four silver and five bronze medals! On top of that, she’s a full-time student with what seems like a never-ending load of school work – eek! Luckily, the discipline she’s learned from BJJ has helped her manage her workload at school, and in many ways, has even made her a better student! We had a little chat with Kamila to find out why she loves Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, how she balances her homework with training and her advice to other teens and kids who want to start competing in martial arts.
Hi Kamila! We see you’ve just received your green belt – congratulations! Could you tell us more about how you got started with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
Hi! I’ve been doing Brazilian Jiu-jitsu at Evolve MMA for about nine years now. In 2011, my younger brother wanted to join the Little Samurai Children’s Programme at Evolve so he attended a trial class and I tagged along just to see what it was all about. I had no intention of joining since I was already doing ballet at the time. But when I watched him in class, I became really intrigued about the sport and asked my parents to sign me up. I’ve been training ever since!
I’m lucky that my family has always been very supportive. They travel with me to all competitions and love watching me train and improve after every tournament.
That’s awesome! What’s made you keep on going to class?
I’ve learned a lot of life lessons because of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It’s given me lots of opportunities like getting to travel all over the world for competitions. Most importantly, I love all the friends I’ve made from training. It’s a challenging sport, so I if I want to do well, I need to stay focused and never give up! Even if I’ve had a lot of successes and won gold medals, I still encounter setbacks. Whenever I lose in a competition, I think about what I could have done better and at times, I get really disappointed with the result. But I’ve never given up and tell myself I’ll work on fixing my mistakes and coming out victorious the next time around.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has also changed my life in many ways. When I was younger, I was always very shy and awkward and BJJ made me more confident in school, in training and even at home. I’m also more disciplined because now I’m better at focusing on the tasks at hand, be it in my school work or in other areas of my life. One important lesson you learn in training is that when one move doesn’t work, there are always other ways to counter it. This helped me find other ways to solve problems and issues, which is really useful, on the mats and off them. It also made it easier to adapt to the sports we do in PE like touch rugby, cricket, basketball and even football.
How do you balance school and training? It must be tough!
Admittedly, it’s quite challenging to manage all my school work and make time to go to training every week. But, BJJ has helped me work on my time management skills because I know if I want to train and get better, I need to have a plan that won’t affect my school life.
People are surely surprised when you tell them you do Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
Most people think I don’t look like the type to do BJJ. They’re even more surprised when I tell them that I’m an actual world champion! I love it so much, I think of it as a life-long sport. I think I’ll still continue to train when I’m older. It’s been such a big part of my identity growing up that I can’t imagine life without it.
What’s your advice for other kids who want to be BJJ World Champions?
I think you should always believe in yourself, do your best and stay positive, even in your worst moments on the mats! Try to always surround yourself with people who will support and believe in everything you choose to pursue. Even if you lose, remember, that in BJJ, there are no losses. You either win or learn.