Brenda Armstrong, RCP Staff Richmond College Prep Schools
My name is Brenda Armstrong. I am part of the Richmond College Prep Schools where I have served for the past ten years in the following capacities: Instructional Aide, Gospel Choir Director, G.A.T.E. Program Coordinator, Instructor of Photography, and Disciplinary. Since I have in those areas I have full a working knowledge and engagement with most students at RCP, especially those who demonstrate challenging behaviors.
When the Jiu-Jitsu program began at our school several years ago I was asked to attend every class to monitor behavior. Many of the students selected for the program had behavior challenges, some very extreme. One student in particular exhibited depression almost daily. I’ll call him Student T. He rarely attended school, when he did come, would not participate in or complete academic assignments. For the most part he was totally disconnected or off task and sat in the classroom in a “zombie” state. There were rare occasions when Student T came and engaged in the classroom, exhibited the ability to receive instruction while performing well and on point. However, his involvement with his peers outside the classroom often ended with a heated exchange of negative words and physical encounters. Student T was not malicious at heart, he simply did not know how to control the deep-seated emotions that he experienced to interact positively with others.
This young man was with us from pre-school through sixth grade. It was in fifth grade that he first enrolled in the Jiu-Jitsu program. I would love to say that it was love at first encounter, but it wasn’t. Student T didn’t want to attend but the option of Jiu-Jitsu as a condition to remain at the school. Within a few weeks there was a noticeable change in his attendance, academic performance and interaction with staff and other students. Knowing him for so long, I noticed his eagerness to attend and his total engagement in Jiu-Jitsu class. I asked him what changed his mind about the class. He replied, “I found that I can let out my frustrations, anger and disappointment in this class. Then I am happier the rest of the time. So I look forward to getting it all out here instead of in areas that always get me in trouble”. Student T became a worthy contender in the Jiu-Jitsu discipline. He, who was a failing student, was able to turn it around and graduate from sixth grade. He comes by to visit regularly and is still doing well.
This was not the only case of a positive outcome. There were more than evidence that the Jiu-Jitsu program launched students into positive areas of personal and academic accomplishments. Young women and men experienced new outlook on life because of the confidence experienced in class and from interaction and competition (tournaments) with students from over the Bay Area and more.
I highly recommend this Jiu-Jitsu program with Sensei David. His directives are clear, he has impacted many students and impressed staff with his sincere desire to improve the lives of students through discipline and consistent work ethics. His professionalism balances well with love for what he does and the care he shows for students.
Tana Monteiro former Richmond College Prep Administrator and parent of students in the program.
“My son Seth had just gone through the traumatic experience of his parents separating and his grandfather dying of cancer. Seth was suffering with anxiety attacks. He would start crying uncontrollably for what seemed to be no reason. Seth was already a very shy kid but he was also becoming a loner. He also was having major anger outbursts. I didn’t know what to do. My other sons were not acting out in this way. I had meetings with his Teacher and the Principal. We tried various activities to help him figure out what would trigger the anxiety attacks and the angry outburst. At that time the new jujitsu program had started at the school. The Principal suggested that Seth sign up. Jujitsu changed his life. He had more confidence. He was able to get out aggression in a positive, controlled, and safe way. It really helped him learn how to deal with his emotions. I am so grateful this program. It changed my son’s life.”
Ms Shondra Dorton Educator at Richmond College Prep .
“Ms. D Ju Jitsu at Richmond College Prep has improved the behavior of some of our troubled students tremendously. I’ve noticed the change amongst students with tempers calm themselves instead of being violent with others. BJJ being offered after school has also encouraged students who did not normally turn in their homework to complete their homework daily. It’s a great alternative for students not interested in Physical Education. Brazilian Ju Jitsu being brought to RCP has taught self awareness and discipline and I would recommend this practice/program to all schools.”
Maria Simpson Administrator at Richmond College Prep and parent of students in the program
“For the past three years my daughters’ have been practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at their school Richmond College Prep. I strongly believe that the BJJ program at RCP is a perfect mixture of physical education and character development. The following are the traits my girls have developed through the practice of jiu-jitsu: self-defense, self-confidence, concentration, flexibility, strength, and general physical conditioning.
Also, the BJJ program at RCP asks the students to consider their jiu-jitsu goals for the upcoming school year. Setting goals as a practice, has given my daughters’ a sense of purpose, drive, and self-discipline.
Every elementary school should include BJJ as part of their physical education program.”
Marilou Asis Parent of Children in the Program
“I’m Marilou Asis mother of Zam 5th grade at RCP and Zaak freshman student at Summit K2 El Cerrito. Way back 2014 when Zam 3rd grade started his after school program Jujitsu, at first just a simple learning martial arts as time goes by Sensei David and Sensei Cutter saw Zam has a potential for being good jujitsu protege. Hard training for him and started to love it and he gain Discipline,self confidence,interact w other people and started competing to other cities and received bronze at first he was so happy then he continue earned medals and now a gold medalist so proud parents for my sons achievements. He even compete in Los Angeles this is his best memorable moment in fairness his Sensei provides sponsor to all the competitors hotel and service car. My son Zaak 14 yrs old started this year for 2 months of training earned gray belt just focus and continue learning !!!! Thank you we are so grateful and awesome Sensei David and Sensei Cutter!!!”
Sedie Blunt Former Student.
( Sedie Came to us shortly after he aged out of the foster care/youth probation system he is now 22, has attended college, and is no longer institutionalized in the criminal justice system he has also lost over 100lbs)
“Walking into the YJC for the first time I was a whoping 410lbs with a whole lot of anger inside me with growing up in foster care always being told I would not amount to anything i couldn’t be anything I was fat ugly used to get teased over the fact that family was a foreign subject to me growing up being placed in home after home and to walk in the doors of an establishment , where almost everyone is more together then you are , and not be judged just welcomed with open arms it was awesome my first few months on the mat were the hardest I was the biggest thing in there (besides David’s personality of course haha) yet everyone was patient with me showed me ways I could improve even when class was over almost 2hours ago … and it wasn’t just a gym for 95% of us it was home I felt apart of something a lot more … you have to understand that growing up and having nothing to all of a sudden haven 20-30 family members who take you in on holidays joke around with you and treat you nothing less then family it was an amazing experience I can honestly say if I didn’t walk in those doors when I did I don’t know where I’d be I was heading down an awful path in and out of trouble and fights could not stand authority and now… I’m calm collected my anger is almost nonexistent and real nonchalant in situations that a few years ago would have made me blow a gasket I’m thankful for Moali/Mindset martial arts I’m thankful for the family it has given me and I’m thankful that David can continue to spread the greatness of Jiujutsu to others A lot of people say this but for me it is absolutely the truth Jiujutsu saved my life made me a better person it had made me confident It has forced me to become comfortable being out of my comfort zone and most of all it’s a bond like no other Thank you”