GD Jiu Jitsu Student of the Month Ayden Peterson
[by Danny OD]
Ayden Peterson is a 15-year- old blue belt who has been training for 6 and a half years. Some of her main accomplishments in Jiu Jitsu include multiple AZ State Championships, 3 IBJJF National Championships, 2 Pan American gold medals and a World Championship silver medal. Ayden was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions about Jiu Jitsu, other sports she practices and her future goals.
1.. What do you like about competing and training at GD Jiu Jitsu?
Training at GD Jiu Jitsu has been incomparable to any other academy I’ve ever trained at. The instruction is superior and it shows in the athletes who train there. Everyone has a different game so it makes training diverse much like what you would experience in a competition. Before a tournament I never feel nervous or as if I’m not ready to compete because I know I’ve trained with and have been instructed by the most overall solid team. Competitions are one of the most thrilling things you can do as an athlete. I know when I step onto that mat that I have a knowledgeable and skilled mentor standing right outside those barriers ready to coach me. But, everyone who does jiu-jitsu knows, whether you’re a white or black belt, sometimes the match doesn’t go as planned. You slip, you lose your grip, you give up an advantage in the last few seconds. Sometimes, it ends up costing you the entire match. But either way, after I come off the mat, I know I have a team who supports me just as much when I lose as they do when I win.
2. Can you talk about your experience with diving and making the varsity team?
I’ve done Jiu-Jitsu for 6 years and I’ve known nothing different. This summer I signed up for a
summer dive camp. At first, I thought “It’s jumping off a board and flipping in the air, it can’t be that hard.” After my first practice, I had developed a whole new respect for divers and what they put their bodies through. The next morning I woke up with welts from head to toe after smacking the water. I lost count after my 10th time. It hurt, but so did Jiu-Jitsu, and I never gave up on Jiu Jitsu. Tryouts for the high school dive team were about a month away. I went to camp every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and an occasional Saturday. I was getting a lot better and I caught on quickly. I wasn’t smacking the water as often. Tryouts were spread out over the span of a week. Each day I worked a new dive position. I was nervous, but I would think about competing in jiu-jitsu. I thought about how calming myself before stepping on the mat was the same thing as calming myself before I got on the board. Slowing things down during a match to perfect the technique was the same as slowing things down in mid-air to perfect a dive. The end of the week came and cuts were posted. My name was in the top 4 on the list. I couldn’t believe that after a month diving I would have even able to make the team. Now, I’m projected to compete State Qualifiers representing Perry High School along with 3 other athletes.
3. What are your goals for Jiu Jitsu and for diving?
In both sports I want to work to be the best. I want to make both my teams proud whether that be at a tournament or a meet. In Jiu-Jitsu I want to be a world champion. In dive, I want to win at State and earn a letter at the end of the season.