February 14, Staff Report
On February 19th, 11-year-old Dutch Kills resident Jasminda “Jazzy” Madrid will be traveling to Long Beach, Calif., to compete in the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation Pan Kids Championship.
Madrid has become well-known in the sport by being ranked as one of the highest competitors in her age and division. She is currently an orange belt under Murilo Santana at the Unity Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Manhattan, and is nationally sponsored by Keiko Sports.
“Jazzy has achieved so much at an early age that sometimes we can’t believe she is just an 11 year old girl from Dutch Kills,” said her father Richard Madrid.
Local sponsorship by Long Island City business owners Angelo Bolbasis of World Class Cleaners, Luccas Leite of Brazilian restaurant Beija Flor, and Stefan Partridge of Space Realty have helped her get to where she is today, which her father attributes to the character of the Dutch Kills neighborhood.
“Growing up here, you know all your neighbors, their families, and the small business owners around the block,” Madrid said. “While some people claim Long Island City is becoming a transient community, the fact that local businesses are willing to support a young girl in their neighborhood chase her dream says otherwise.”
The young martial artist’s dream began when her parents took her to visit Lifestyle MMA at 37-15 35th Ave, where she decided to try her hand the sport.
“A new business opened up here and we tried it out, I would have never thought that it would have grown to this height,” said her father.
Her parents say Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has taught their daughter skills and discipline that helped her excel in all areas in life, particularly in school. Jasminda currently attends the Young Women’s Leadership School in Astoria, and was recently invited to take the entrance exam for Hunter College High School (HCHS).
“When we opened the letter from HCHS telling us that Jazzy had qualified to take the test from a school that only accepts a small percentage of entries, we were happy knowing she is as disciplined in her studies as well as her sport,” says her mother.