When 11-year-old Honour Clark began training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in 2017, his parents, Beth and Benjamin, probably didn’t imagine at the time that six years later, they would be living in Panama to allow their kids to pursue the sport more seriously.
The move came gradually.
In 2018, Benjamin joined his son at Seng’s Martial Arts in Kingsville. He was followed by his two younger children, 8-year-old daughter Journey and 5-year-old son, Valour. Beth joined her family in 2021.
Beth and Benjamin had always had a desire to travel and allow their kids to experience different cultures while also finding places where they could spend more time outside in the winter months.
A trip to Panama in 2021/22 included visits to some local jiu jitsu gyms. This helped the kids find an instant community and this is where the family met Professor John Boyle of Playa Venao Brazilian Jiu Jitsu who they connected with instantly.
The Clarks saw how incredible Professor Boyle’s children’s program was and how well he taught children. So, in late 2022, the family returned to Panama to give the kids the opportunity to study under his training and expertise.
On July 22 and 23, Journey and her brother Honour competed at the Pan Kids IBJJF Championships, the largest Brazilian Jiu Jitsu event for kids.
Journey placed 3rd overall and brought home the bronze medal from the competition. She won three consecutive matches and lost the fourth, the semi-final, by points.
Journey prepared for the competition for months, trained incredibly hard and won a podium finish!
In addition to the great training under Professor Boyle, Beth attributes Journey’s success to her early training under Coach Chad and Coach Kelsie at Seng’s Martial Arts in Kingsville.
Beth and her family are grateful to Seng’s for introducing them to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and she believes that Kingsville is incredibly fortunate to have an asset like Seng’s Martial Arts in town and available for our community.
Apart from the many jiu jitsu competitions that all members of the family have taken part in, the kids have also competed and placed in local surf competitions in Panama.
In their downtime, Journey and her two brothers love to swim in the ocean, play with their dog, Ruger, and their cat, Rex. They also like to play Roblox together and spend time with their friends in Panama and in Ontario, where they also soak up time with their family in Cottam and Kingsville and play on their grandparents’ farm near Harrow.
The family plans to spend their time between Canada and Panama, enjoying the best of both worlds.
Photos courtesy of Beth Clark