Laguna teen wins gold medal at the Pan Am World Championship Jiu Jitsu tournament

William (Paul) Wittkop, 13-year-old son of Laguna Beach High School teacher Scott Wittkop, won a Gold Medal this week at the Pan Am World Championship. The IBJJF Pan Am Jiu Jitsu Championship Tournament for kids was held at the Long Beach Walters Pyramid Center.

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Photo by Scott Wittkop

William Wittkop (on right) wins the gold medal at Pan Am World Championship

The Pan Am World Championship Jiu Jitsu Tournament is the largest one for kids in the world. William competed against athletes from South Carolina, Texas, Canada and the UK. He was undefeated in the tournament winning his matches by submission, 5-2, 5-0, and 9-0 in the Gold Medal Match. William competes for Alliance BJJ under Laercio Fernandes and Anthony Frank. 

 “I like the life of training and competing,” says the seventh grader Connections Academy student. “I train seven days a week and over 30 hours a week. My training includes Jui Justu, wrestling, and MMA. I train in the kids’ classes and also with the adults.” 

William’s father has been the LBHS boy’s cross-country coach for years and has also coached LBHS football.  

When asked how he compares William’s training to the rigors of cross-country and football, Coach Wittkop had this to say, “I think training for all sports is very similar. If you work hard, have good coaching and are dedicated, good things will happen.”

The Jiu-Jitsu Pan-American Championship has been held annually since 1995. While the first event garnered only 250 athletes, the event has grown every year and now hosts thousands of competitors from all over the world. 

This year, Laguna Beach’s own brought home the gold.

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