A HIGHER Crompton schoolgirl has been nominated for recognition as the UK’s most promising martial arts exponent.
Libby Genge, who specialises in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and judo, is one of 14 hopefuls in line to become the coveted ‘Warrior Collective Young Martial Artist of the Year’.
A video featuring the Crompton House pupil’s achievements will be posted online and the public asked to vote for their winner.
Recognised as one of the top five UK fighters, Libby is heading to the US on Sunday, February 18 to compete against the world’s best at the Pan American Kids’ Championship.
She could eventually become an Olympian with the sport of Brazilian jiu-jitsu pushing for inclusion at the 2024 Games in Paris.
Proud dad Paul says: “The winner of the public vote gets funding towards training / competing and equipment.
“Brazilian Jiu-jitsu came from Judo prior to it got altered as part of the
Olympic movement and has been made famous through early pioneers using it with great success in the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) and other MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) events.
“Like judo, it focuses on grappling and uses takedowns and a variety of submissions to incapacitate an opponent.”
Libby has already travelled extensively in her bid to become the best including a gold medal winning trip to Moscow last year for the Gymnasium Cup.
She trains an average 15 hour a week with the Stealth BJJ Club in Chadderton and also at Bacup Judo Club alongside former double Olympian, Sophie Cox.
It’s a far cry when her exercise routine was centred around ball room dancing.
“I would rather learn to fight than dance,” she explained after converting to martial arts.
And it’s not been success all the way for Libby. Initially outclassed by a multiple British champion, she responded with extra BJJ training sessions and took up judo to improve her takedown skills.
Her first success was at a North West Brazilian Jiu-jitsu League event where organisers couldn’t match her with any girls. Fighting boys did not frighten Libby and she beat two of them to take gold.
To get access to more instruction Libby and family moved to Stealth Manchester where she was able to train alongside the adults and has the opportunity to train seven days a week and for several hours a session.
Libby is now a member of the UK Elite Youth Squad and has also represented Stealth and the UK Elite Squad at competitions in the UK and across the world.
“Her trip to Russia was particularly noteworthy,” says Paul. “She was the first child from the UK to compete in a Brazilian jiu-jitsu competition in that country.
Though the competition was held under the IBJJF rule set it had national team members from judo, sambo and jiu-jitsu teams that came from all over Russia and a number of the other old Soviet bloc countries.
“This made the standard of grappling incredibly high, but Libby took gold after two tough matches.”
On the latest trip to the States, Paul says: “This event is the largest Brazilian Jiu-jitsu competition for kids in the world.
“Last year Libby fought up an age at this competition and took home bronze
“She looks forward to the challenge of bringing home a gold next time and is training hard in preparation for this event.”
Libby also continues to train two judo sessions a week and also competes in it when her BJJ competition schedule allows.
She is part of the North West judo squad having won the North West championship. She has also competed in her first international Judo competition at the Southend Open last year where she took a bronze.
“Libby’s interest in martial arts goes beyond competition.,” confirms Paul. “She loves to help develop the younger and less experienced members at Stealth BJJ.
“Ultimately, she aspires to being a full-time coach. In class it is not uncommon to see Libby helping out the younger players and she is a great role model for them on and off the mat.”