Hodges gives back to the community

Published 8:52 am Thursday, December 24, 2020

Jesse Hodges was born and raised in Bogalusa and has a passion for jiu jitsu.

Since 2007, the 43-year old has been giving back to the community by teaching his passion to people inside SNAP Fitness in Bogalusa for free.

Hodges began by teaching adults, but started teaching children and enjoyed working with them, so he stuck with that.

The name of Hodges’ jiu jitsu is called Mean Monkeys Jiu Jitsu Academy, which was picked by a few of his students last year.

The children are ages 7-18 and Hodges has 20-to-30 regulars.

Hodges helps prepare the children for competitions and for life.

“Jiu jitsu has been a big part of my life,” Hodges said. “I’ve only been teaching since 2007, but I’ve been fighting since 1998. I had a passion for working with adults and then I got the passion of working with kids. It was tough at first, but once I saw them improving, it just became a passion for me working with kids.”

One of the things Hodges teaches his students is handling failure.

“It seems like any success comes with failure at first,” Hodges said. “I don’t know why parents protect their kids from failure. If failure is a big part of reaching the pinnacle of success, then why protect them. It helps them deal with life.”

Hodges said that when most kids compete, they fail at first, but the successful ones are the ones who stick with it and continually work harder and become successful.

Hodges said his students compete as much as possible. They recently competed in Jackson, Miss. He said the competitions are all over the place. They have competitions coming up in January and February.

The competitors are classified by weight and age.

If the match goes past five minutes and there is no submission, it goes by points.

Submission has to be where an opponent taps out or the official feels the child is about to get injured.

Hodges talked about the most rewarding part of doing this.

“Smile of those kids’ faces when they get that gold medal,” Hodges said.

Hodges said he has posters of every gold medal kid with their hands raised. They line the entire room.

Prior to teaching jiu jitsu, Hodges was a cage fighter and went 5-2.

Hodges trained under now former Mixed Martial Artist Rich Clementi before going to Lawrence Patrick, who came from Clemente. Patrick runs Gold Dragon Martial Arts in Picayune, Miss.

Hodges is a black belt in jiu jitsu.

Jiu jitsu teacher Jesse Hodges is pictured with one of his students.

Jiu jitsu teacher Jesse Hodges is pictured with one of his students.