At the beginning of October, Matej and Mirko Mlynčekovci will celebrate their eighth birthday. They live in a family house in Sučany and both agree that it is an excellent place to live where they can go right outside to play. “Since childhood we love movement – we inherited it from our father. He has done sports all his life and encourages us to play. Mom takes care of us so that we have something to eat when we get starved from training,” brothers Mlynčekovci say with a smile.
You both do Brazilian jiu-džicu? How old must one be to be able to start with this martial art?
We have trained since we were 4 years old. We started with gymnastics, and a year later, our parents signed us in Sai Club, where we started movement training. Since we’ve had experience in gymnastics (which related to flexibility and overall movement), coach Mirko Sevcik was slowly training us the in the basics of Brazilian jiu-džicu. We grew very fond of it!
So your parents were behind the idea of jiu-džicu? Why this sport?
This sport has chosen us – we did not choose it. As we said earlier, we had a good physical foundation and probably also good fortune to have a club where we train. The club is devoted to this kind of sport. We liked Jiu-džicu and we have stayed with it.
Many of us have never tried any of the martial arts. What do you enjoy about it the most? And what helps you the most when you are tired and want to quit?
We like wrestling the most. We are glad that we often train in and visit other cities and sometimes win trophies and medals. When we are tired, we take a rest, but in truth, it does not last long because we want to go on training with our friends. It helps us greatly that the club has a very good team.
Have you ever wanted to quit? If so, why?
Yes, but only once. We went to our first tournament in the Czech Republic, where we dropped out early in the first round. Our father and coaches encouraged us to keep going – not to give up keep on training. A year later, we have already won the tournament (Matej was first and Mirko, second).
Well, it is important not to give up! What other attributes do you think every successful athlete should have?
There are three. He/she should be patient, consistent and persistent. 1) Patient, because the time of initial training until reaching the first goal may take a long while. After initial failure, there is no need to give up, but train even more. 2) Consistent – to regularly go on training and not make excuses. A successful athlete also has to be (3) persistent – to be dedicated to one particular sport and not to try to do others at the same time. That can lead to not advancing in any sport at all.
What is your motivation for achieving the best results?
In our sport, one receives belts for performance, and so we try to fight our hardest. Belts range from white (beginning) to black (final). We try to get more trophies than our dad (laughs)!
How do your friends support you? Do you think you would do as well without them?
Everyone in our family encourages us and enjoys our efforts. It is the same with friends. When we get tournament cups or medals, and we carry them to school and share the excitement of our success. Our friends compliment us and congratulate us. Without support, it would be certainly more difficult.
Does the sport have impact at your school results? Does the school help to develop your talent?
We have to study and do well in school so that we can go to training and tournaments. Certainly, it helps us also to go physical education classes. The school supports us. The teacher gave us time off before a tournament in Prague when we have had to travel on Friday because the tournament started on Saturday morning. We try very hard to keep caught up with our academics.
Which of the athletes is your role model, and why?
The Brazilian jiu-džicu coach, Mirko Sevcik, and trainer, Andre Monteiro, who come once a year from America to train us and help us. Mirko already has a black belt, an achievement that we would like to someday accomplish.
For young athletes to be successful, they need understanding, patient and kind parents. So we asked them some questions.
Please reveal what it is like to have athletes at home? What do you like about this fact?
To have athletes at home, a parent must be very responsible and organized – which is a full-time effort. A big benefit is certainly that children do not have time to get bored, teaching them regularity and responsibility. Finally, of course, it’s also about pride in our children.
Many children today prefer passive sports, hanging out with computers, tablets; TVs. How do you think parents can help to spur interest in sporting activities? How can we motivate children to play sports?
Parents can lead by example. When a child sees that parents do nothing, it is easier for them to do the same. It is true what they say – “the child is the image of his parent.”
For you, is sport and enrichment for your children, or a burden?
The benefit always outweighs the occasional pitfall. We have very colorful and enriched lives; we spend a lot of time together; and, it is very beneficial to our health. The drawback, in a certain sense, is that we have a very busy schedule and we do not have much time for other activities.
Do you feel that the Lutheran Academy supports the development of sports for its students?
Certainly! We see that the school is proud of the achievements of its pupils. Also, student-athletes are able to encourage and motivate other students.
Do you feel supported by the school and its teachers in the development of the athleticism of your children? What would you suggest any school to provide help in the sports field?
Yes, we feel the support of the school. The teacher, Palková, accommodates us, for which we are grateful. Maybe school could, in cooperation with the sports clubs, organize a way for the clubs to make presentations to teachers and students. Clubs should have the opportunity to come and show children how and why they train. In this way, other students may be attracted to the sport they offer. We think that many children and parents are not even aware of how many sports options are available in Martin.
We are pleased that our students have access and the opportunity to pursue and not give up on their dreams! Lutheran Academy in Martin supports their decisions. After all, a victory in sports is much sweeter when others can enjoy it with us!