Heathwood 5th grader Jazzy Frierson is just 10 years old, but she’s already earned a junior Black Belt and won several world championships in martial arts —which is just one of the four sports she plays. This summer, she won every sparring division in 11U Girls while competing at the Battle of Atlanta tournament and less than a month later repeated this feat as a nine-year-old at the US Open World Championships in Orlando, Florida. In September, Jazzy also took home five 1st Place trophies at the Rumble in the Dirt Open Martial Arts Tournament.
In addition to martial arts, Jazzy swims, and plays AAU basketball and travel soccer. We asked her to tell us what it’s like to play so many sports, what she sees as the secret of her success, who her role models are, and what her goals are for the future. Here’s what she had to say:
How did you become involved in so many sports?
My family is athletic, and I started playing sports as soon as I could. I started playing soccer when I was two, and martial arts when I was three, which is also when I started dribbling a basketball. When I was four, I learned how to swim. It was all fun, and it’s hard for me to say which sport is my favorite—but I really love basketball!
What do you particularly like about martial arts?
It’s fun, but it’s also competitive, and I’m pretty competitive. I also like that in sparring, you’re competing one-on-one, and in forms you’re competing against multiple people at a time—up to twelve of them. But I have no teammates, so it’s all on me; I like to challenge myself. And I like that you can win 1st place. I really love coming 1st.
What’s your proudest martial arts accomplishment?
This year, I won the 11U Continuous Sparring division at the US Open World Championships, and that is my proudest accomplishment. I was very happy because I was the best out of eight fighters from around the world. I was even happier because in the championship match, I had to fight the same person who beat me in the championship last year when I placed second. It felt really good to come out on top. I was also happy to win all 1st place trophies in three different sparring divisions in the World Championships in the same year. I have two more years in the 11U division, and I am looking forward to defending my Black Belt titles.
You’ve already earned a black belt, which many people think of as the pinnacle of achievement in martial arts. So what’s your next goal?
My instructor is very good, but he is very hard, so I have a junior black belt. I hope to earn my First Degree Black Belt when I’m 16. That’s the youngest you can earn it with my instructor.
You also play a lot of soccer—what do you like about it, and what position do you play?
I’m a goalie, which is fun because I get to punt the ball a lot and because when people come at me, I have several options—I can either take the ball away, or I can tackle, or I can just clear it. I also like the challenge of playing this position.
What would you say is the secret of your athletic success?
I just like having fun and being competitive. I don’t like losing. And I like to stay focused.
Who are your sports role models?
My biggest sports role models are my cousins who are like brothers to me, Rasheed and Rashay. They both play on their high school basketball team, and I play with them a lot. Sometimes they run my basketball workout at the gym, and they push me to do my best.
As a 5th grader, you’re just a year away from being able to play sports at Heathwood. What appeals to you about that?
I actually get to play this year! I am so happy that I made the middle school basketball team. I’m excited about my first season playing for Heathwood and hopefully playing well.
You’ve been in Middle School for just a couple of months now—what do you like best about it so far?
It’s fun and very challenging. My favorite subjects so far are Science and History. But maybe the best part about being in middle school is that I get to wear a Heathwood jersey in basketball for the first time.