When 14-year-old Mitchell Hess got the invitation to participate in an international mixed martial arts tournament, he said he was immediately intrigued.
It was after competing in Vancouver’s annual Tiger Balm tournament that Hess got the invitation to return to the city and participate in the first ever Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Expo on June 11-12.
“I was up for the challenge,” Hess said.
It would be Hess’ first MMA tournament and he certainly made the most of it, returning home with two silver medals and a gold.
The tournament hosted an array of martial arts, and competitors from as far away as Norway.
“It would range from just the normal karate all the way to wrestling to you name it, it was there,” Hess said
“I enjoyed just seeing people that were into almost the same stuff as me, I could relate to them,” he added.
The fights were a little different for Hess who has only background in Jujitsu. Fights were won by submission only, a bit of a new experience for the athlete as jujitsu can be won on a point basis as well as by submission.
In the end, after taking on competitors up to three years older than him, Hess won silver in gi grappling, and mixed martial arts, and gold in no gi grappling.
He was also the only competitor at the tournament from northern B.C.
Coach Shane Palahicky said the club is very proud of Hess and his performance at the tournament.
Hess has been a member of the Terrace Northern Jujitsu Club for four years.
An additional highlight of the tournament for Hess was the number of Ultimate Fighter celebrities who attended to watch the matches, sign autographs and take pictures with the contestants.