Sport: Lenin Simi to measure himself against Oceania's best grapplers
Lenin Simi has few equals in his class among young up and coming Brazilian jiu-jitsu grapplers in New Zealand.
The Mangere resident has won 11 regional and national titles since hooking up with Oliver MMA in Manukau as a seven-year-old.
But 11-year-old yellow belt needs a better yardstick to know just where his jiu-jitsu game is at.
That is why he, his Dad Aina and Mum, Heidie are looking forward to his getting on the mat at the Pan Pacific Kids International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Oceania Championships in Melbourne on October 28.
Hopefully it's a stepping stone, Aina says.
"He was doing so well in tournaments at the regional and national level in New Zealand that his trainer believed he needed to step up a level and compete at the Pan Pax IBJJF tournament.
"He will compete against Oceania's best and if he does well at the Pan Pax, the World IBJJF tournament in 2018 is the next step."
Lenin says he can't wait.
"I'm excited and looking forward to competing," he says.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu was the martial arts form Aina and Heidie chose when young Lenin got to an age when parents consider the rough and tumble of the school yard and whether their child has the tools fend for him or herself.
"Lenin liked martial arts movies so it wasn't too hard to convince him," Aina says.
"It was primarily about self defence and his ability to look after himself. BJJ has helped Lenin learn how to be resilient and the importance of training. He has since added wrestling and kick boxing to his game.
"He is a busy boy but it has been good for him. He has learned the values of respect and dedication and has transferred a lot of what he has learnt through to his schooling and the way he treats people."
It's also hardened Lenin's attitude to losing.
"I hate losing," he mutters.
"There's this wrestler who beat me twice last year. It still hurts. I'd like to have another match with him but he has moved up an age group."