SAN ANGELO, TX— Jiu-jitsu is a martial arts form involving many fighting techniques with various belt levels. For one family in the Concho Valley, they all have a belt in this sport which helps grow their passion and strength.

“It’s awesome. It’s awesome to train alongside my daughters, son, and husband,” said mother, blue belt holder Gina Birdsong.

When you first start the sport of Jiu-Jitsu, just like every martial arts class, you begin as a white belt. Close action combat is used in these pieces of training as you develop further, and what better way to grow closer on the mat than alongside your whole family.

“It’s the time together. There’s a lot of camaraderie here. It’s not just tackling and grappling, you know you are out here, and you are learning techniques and are with a bunch of like-minded people. A lot of family-oriented people are here to learn something new and train,” said father, blue belt holder Michael Birdsong.

Each member of the Birdsong family has a belt in Jiu-jitsu. Abby and Sofia Birdsong are the oldest at 13 years old, and Anthony Birdsong, 11 years old, is the youngest. All the kids have grey belts, and the hours spent at the gym ultimately help grow their bond and dynamic on and off the mat.

“It helps us focus as a family. I was craving that structure that I used to have in the military, and we are a very tight-knit family. We are a homeschooling family. We are together all the time, but I was missing the structure and Jiu-jitsu has done that for me,” said Gina.

The kids have grown confident at a young age, and being around adult trainers has allowed them to find a voice in themselves.

“It was really scary for Abby to get out there, and now to see her mentoring other young girls and to see my daughters passing that on, I feel like they are going to carry that with them always,” said Gina.

Jiu-jitsu is a sport you can learn and grow mentally and physically, and with that always comes competitiveness.

“You know someone is like ‘hey I just learned this move let me try it on you’ and so you always have that kind of passion to do that,” said Michael.