Noah Burke finds the fight within himself through Jiu-jitsu


Junior Noah Burke walked into his first jiu-jitsu class and left not being able to move his arm. 

“On my first day,” Noah said, “my coach put me up against one of the best just to give me a feel for it. He probably submitted me ten times in five minutes, and I couldn’t move my arm for the rest of the week because he bent it backward and then choked me out. So, that was a fun time.”

The class consists of one hour of learning and a half-hour of sparring. Noah’s first sparring experience did not exactly go well, but he was ready to jump back in the next day. 

“[Jiu-jitsu] was just something I wanted to do,” Noah said. “I know that it’s a difficult thing to start, especially with people who are a lot more advanced than you because it’s not really just a strength [or] power thing; it’s a lot more technical than people think. So, if you don’t have the knowledge for it, you don’t expect that [you can be beaten if you are stronger]. I kind of use [getting beat] as the more I get beat, the more ways I know how to beat other people. So, I’d have to just use those as learning moments.” 

Knowledge plays a large role in jiu-jitsu; Noah is constantly learning new moves and discovering how to beat people. This learning makes tracking his progress easier. It also assists in setting goals, learning a new move, or beating a certain number of people. 

“Well, I think it’s always fun when I learn new moves and stuff like that,” Noah said. “You can actually apply them in sparring and practicing and [I like jiu-jitsu] because you know when you’re getting better. You can tell because you’ll start getting submitted less or getting more submissions from opponents. [The] dudes in my gym [are] all better than me. When I started, they would smoke me, and I would just get destroyed every time [we sparred]. But, as my coach teaches me more [I started winning or lasting longer]. You can feel how much better you’re getting.”  

Noah improves every day. In part, that is because he treks to the gym each day after school. 

I know that it’s a difficult thing to start, especially with people who are a lot more advanced than you because it’s not really just a strength [or] power thing; it’s a lot more technical than people think.”

— Junior Noah Burke

Getting to the gym is the motivation Noah needs and what helps him fight through the school day. 

“I go every day, so it is a major part of my schedule,” Noah said. “It’s a motivation source because it’s helped me with school because I want to go, and I want to get better. I have more motivation to get my homework done so I can go and to keep my grades up so my parents don’t take me out [of jiu-jitsu]. Also, seeing yourself getting better and actually not feeling like you’re stuck in the same places is the big motivation to keep you going.”

Jujitsu is motivating, knowledge-based, goal-oriented, and of course, an appropriate way to get into a fight. 

There are different ways to get into fights: on a sports field, in the middle of school, in a proper gym, or in the middle of the street. Some ways are legal and others are, in fact, not. Noah, wanting to go into professional fighting in the MMA, picked a legal outlet. It gave him a way to get his anger out as he has always struggled with anger issues while also helping him get through the school day. 

On top of that, he has now set goals for himself. He yearns to improve and this provides him with more incentives to get to the gym. 

“Well, I think [it is a good anger outlet] because of the nature of it,” Noah said. “It’s kind of working on your strength and getting to fight without actually hurting people, and it is legal. Street fighting, you know, it’s illegal, so I can’t really be doing that. But it’s just giving me something to work towards and have goals. [I am going to] compete for the first time in December, so I would like to win at least one match, and that’s my goal for now.”