Even though he's the youngest Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt to start an academy in San Diego County, Kevin Hosseini believes he has a lot to offer.
“I love teaching kids, I love teaching adults,” Hosseini said. “I’m kind of a big kid myself. I make it a fun atmosphere here.”
Hosseini runs the Ramona Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy with pupils ages four to 63. His students have rolled up medals galore in the Grappling X competition circuit, but that's not really why he teaches.
The 26-year-old wants to eliminate bullying in schools.
“The main thing is when a kid has confidence in themselves, to be able to stand up for themselves, just that energy that you put out is what's going to stop people from bullying you,” Hosseini said.
Alexis Sherman, 8, takes classes a couple nights a week. She recently finished third in the west coast in the tournament of champions and she, too, believes jiu jitsu helps her avoid confrontations.
“I like it because other people get to defend themselves,” she said. “And it's kind of fun to be with other people and make new friends.”
“The biggest effect I've seen, at least in my kids and my family, is that they're becoming mature a little bit quicker,” said Sherman’s father Justin. “They are understanding respect, that there is a right time and a right place to do the things that they want to do. There is a lot of discipline that they learn in this.”
Contrary to what it looks like, Hosseini said jiu jitsu is called “The Gentle Art” and he focuses on technique so no one gets hurt.
“The first thing I tell people is I say, ‘You're not here to try to prove a point to somebody. You're not here to fight somebody. Not here to say you’re the big man on campus,’” Hosseini said. “We're here to help each other out to progress with each other.”
Hosseini said jiu jitsu kept him from dropping out of high school (he graduated from Mira Mesa High School) and he recently earned a degree in civil engineering from San Diego State University.
Instead of designing buildings, he's helping people build a foundation - from the mat up.