Teenager's inspiring performance at championships

A sport-loving 15-year-old with autism has won Silver at the National Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu championships.

Friday, 17th March 2017, 3:40 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:10 am
Szymon Bulski at the championships

Szymon Bulski, who attends Roman Fields specialist school in Hemel Hempstead, has a diagnosis of autism.

Autistic people can be sensitive to sensory issues, including loud noises, bright lights and being touched.

Despite this, Szymon, who took part in the championships in Wolverhampton on March 5, reached the final bout of the tournament and finished second in the white belt heavyweight category.

Before his weigh-in, Szymon said he was nervous.

Sports teacher, Steve Brinkman, said: “It is normal to be nervous, when you are about to step on a mat against another heavyweight 15-year-old.

“But the idea of naming an emotion shows a real level of self-awareness which can be difficult to express when living with autism.

“Szymon and many other young people at Roman Fields do not look at their autism as a hindrance, but rather a gift that lets them see the world in a different and useful way.

“One way this plays out for Szymon is that he can readily adapt new physical concepts.

“For example, he can learn and apply new grappling technique quickly and even under pressure. In his semi-final match, Szymon was able to read his opponent’s moves as they were happening and adjust.

“The staff and students of Roman Fields have been inspired by Szymon’s performance, which should show everyone living with autism that they can accomplish anything they put their incredible minds to.”