Camp Springs MD – A little over 10 years ago, Rhonda Edmond walked into Lloyd Irvin Martial Arts Academy (LIMAA) in Camp Springs Maryland to check it out. On her right hand was her 5 year old son Malachi, but it wasn’t just the two of them. She also happened to be almost 9 months pregnant with her other son, Isaiah. She signed Malachi up that day. Shortly after. little “ZaZa” was born and the memories began. As Malachi became a shining star in the martial arts academy by becoming Lloyd Irvin’s Youngest Junior Black Belt, his little brother Isaiah become a permanent figure in the school.
Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Black Belt and Coach of The Famed Team Lloyd Irvin Kid’s Team, Master Donnie recalls the early years.
“We watched ZaZa go from a newborn in his mothers arms,
“ZaZa” riding home from his first tournament at 5 years old
we saw him take his first steps, we heard him say his first words and we basically watched him become a fantastic young martial artist. It is an amazing thing to have someone grow up in the martial arts, he is like a son to the academy, we love him to death.”
When speaking about Isaiah’s big brother Malachi, Master Donnie gets very passionate,
“He is a fireplug and born leader. He has set the standard for a lot of students at Lloyd Irvin’s Martial Arts Academy and all of the younger kids, especially his brother, want to be just like him.”
Since that day 10 years ago, Rhonda and sons soon realized that they were not involved in a typical “karate” program, but instead a full blown character development program that uses Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu to teach kids how to be disciplined, focused, confident, positive, and most importantly, how to stay out of trouble. Lloyd Irvin’s Martial Arts Academy is located in Prince Georges County, MD and is owned and founded by World Renowned Coach and Martial Arts Expert, Master Lloyd Irvin Jr.
“Except for the few years I was away to college and the year I spent in California I have lived in P.G. County my whole life.” says the Central High and Bowie State Graduate.
“I started my kids program 11 years ago because I saw the direction my community was going and I didn’t like it. This is the best way I know how to make a difference.”
Master Lloyd Irvin speaks very highly about the Edmond family and recalls how it all began.
“Malachi is literally one of my first 10-15 kids ever enrolled. Even at five years old he would walk through my doors always smiling and energetic. He was so excited to take class. He would literally Make My Day.”
Malachi in 2003
As the oldest son, Malachi started training in the grappling art of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu when he was 6 years old. Unlike most popular martial arts, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu teaches self-defense through close range tactics and is almost completely reliant on a person using holds, leverage and body positioning to overcome an opponent. At LIMAA you won’t see children breaking boards or bricks. Instead you will see kids on the ground “rolling” and to the naked eye they will be simply wrestling around, but the trained eye of a grappling expert will see the Number 1 Youth Team on the planet. Highly skilled and well trained. The Team Lloyd Irvin Kid’s program which includes students from the age of 4 – 17 is the Best of the Best hands down. You won’t find a single argument to this fact. Malachi has been competing in the sport of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu since 2001. Isaiah jumped on board with his big brother in 2006 at just 5 years old.
FAST FORWARD to last weekend. The Edmond boys were both competing in the biggest tournaments of the year. Malachi, who decided to put his years of grappling to a new test last year, decided to wrestle for his high school, Henry Wise in Upper Marlboro, MD. Isaiah who is still in the 5th grade is currently the number 1 Kid in the country under the age of 13 and is simply a PHENOM in the art of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. Isaiah has gone 30-1 over the last two years in competition and has just been unstoppable in his grappling matches. Malachi finished his 2nd wrestling season as the 5th seed of the county tournament and was considered a long shot to pull out the title………
The P.G. County wrestling tournament was held at Northwestern High school. It is the ultimate goal in wrestling to win the State title. in order to win states you have to qualify by finishing top 6 in both the counties and then regionals. Malachi was fired up and ready for the tournament having his best performances of the year at the end of the season. Malachi would not be denied as he pinned his first opponent and then beat his 2nd opponent by points placing him in the finals. In the finals he would face an Oxon Hill wrestler who dropped weight to get down to Malachi’s division. This opponent defeated Malachi last season but that didn’t matter. Malachi out worked his opponent and finished the match as the victor. He became his high school’s very first county champion and Team Lloyd Irvin’s 2nd student to win the award.
Brothers in Arms
Over 3 thousand miles away riding in a van towards Beverly Hills CA, Isaiah Edmond is on the phone when he screams….
On the other end of the phone was his mom who just broke the news that his brother was the 2011 Prince Georges County Wrestling Champion.
ZaZa, as his teammates call him, yells to all of his teammates in the van..
“FIRST TIME IN WISE HISTORY! Oh yeah! Oh yeah! Oh yeah!”
“That kid was so happy for his brother, it was really a touching scene.” says Master Donnie.
Isaiah was not competing till Sunday and Master Donnie had the team out doing some strategic drilling and then some sightseeing to pass the day. When Sunday morning came
around Isaiah was more excited about eating cereal then the tournament itself.
Master Donnie on Isaiah’s mentality towards competition;
“This little kid is so cool when it comes to competition. Even when he is nervous he is chilling. What impresses me most about ZaZa is that he truly wants the tough matches. He loves being challenged.”
Isaiah would not be denied his moment in history either. He dispatched of both of his opponents by submission. In Brazilian Jiu-jitsu you can end a match by putting your opponent in a submission to make them concede or “tap-out.” In children tournaments the referee also has the option to tap out for a child if they feel the submission hold is secure and the child is in danger. This is the ultimate way to obtain victory in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu competition.
When asked about the significance of this great accomplishment Master Donnie sounds very nonchalant.
“We teach success to these kids on a daily basis. It does not surprise me one bit when I see what these kids are doing because I know how hard they work. Being the best at something is not easy. It is probably the hardest thing to accomplish in life. I’m not just talking about sports and athletics either. Being the best student, best employee, best employer, best doctor, lawyer…. It’s a grind. I am proud of these kids well before they ever compete. I watch their efforts on the mats, in training, before the competition. That’s what makes me proud. The tournaments and gold medals, that’s their reward. They deserve all the credit.”
Isaiah, Ms. Rhonda and Malachi in Las Vegas for a competition in 2008
When asked about the future of the Edmond brothers Master Donnie simply states,
“These kids are fully involved in our Martial Arts program so there is no limit to what they can accomplish within it. We are so happy that they are using the lessons from competition to help them achieve success in all areas of their lives. Ms. Rhonda, their mother, has not only kept them involved and motivated, but she also has made numerous sacrifices to keep them moving in the right direction. If you look at any successful person you will almost always see a strong parent supporting them. Thanks to Rhonda, the Edmonds have that. She is simply a SUPER MOM. Do they have the potential to be the very best or even World Champions?…. OH YES!!! Their is no doubt in my mind. They both have a fantastic work ethic when they have their mind on something and that is more important then anything else. Right now they are young, having positive fun and have their whole lives in front of them. So as far as their future… I don’t know… but I do know that whatever they want to be, THE SKY’S THE LIMIT!”
Congratulations to the Edmond Family. Home of the 2011 Wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Champions. Wow what a great weekend!!!
Interviews conducted and Article written by Jimmy Harbison