Meet Izabella & Penelope. Sisters. 

Fighting Social Anxiety together!

When these girls walked into my Academy, they were shy & would hardly speak to me or any of the other kids. I did not inquire into their behavior because, they were such sweet girls and, took it as just being young and shy. I never thought twice about it and I certainly wouldn’t have thought anything about social anxiety.

At first, they only partnered with each other or their cousin. Because of their resistance to communicating with me, I would have to talk through mom & dad during rest periods! Nine months later, they have made new friends, LOVE to train with other people and sometimes have to do a few burpees because I can’t get them to stop talking!

They have come out of their shells!

Again, I took this as normal behavior as they became more comfortable in the class.

I was wrong. This behavior was NOWHERE near normal for them.

I was BLOWN away by the e-mail I received for this months Student Spotlight!



 Check This Story Out! 

These Girls are Overcoming Fears & Making Leaps in Confidence!


Nicholas and Iris Longoria are the parents of these young ladies.

Odessa natives, Nicholas owns & operates a welding company while Iris is a teacher at a local Montessori school. They also have two other young children!

Izabella and Penelope both suffer from social anxiety. Penelope has a social anxiety disorder called, Selective Mutism and Izabella is SUPER timid and shy.


What is Selective Mutism?

Selective Mutism is a tyoe of social anxiety and usually happens during childhood. A child with Selective Mutism does not speak in certain situations, like at school, but speaks at other times, like at home or with friends. Selective Mutism often starts before a child is 5 years old. It is usually first noticed when the child starts school.

However, when they are at Vagabond they are outgoing little girls! I’m pretty sure nobody there would believe that Penelope was COMPLETELY mute at school since the age of THREE!

Since starting at Vagabond, Penelope has begun whispering in her classroom and just recently she has been talking ALOUD. It is a BIG milestone for her. At Vagabond Martial Arts, she won’t stop talking!!

Both girls have participated in dance, track, gymnastics and soccer. Penelope still participates in soccer. We chose Vagabond & Jiu Jitsu as a new activity because we wanted the girls to learn some form of self defense and stay active in their off season of soccer. Helping with the social anxiety issues was a big suprise & a nice bonus!

Why Vagabond?

We heard the kids BJJ at Vagabond was a great place and Coach Clay is the only bjj black belt instructor in Odessa! We have decided to stay as long as we have because the girls really love their friends and their coach and we have seen their self confidence rise and changes with their social anxiety while participating in Jiu Jitsu.

They enjoy the people, but they mostly enjoy the confidence they have acquired and they know they are able to defend themselves and their younger siblings.

Watching them learn and laugh while they practice is really nice. Coach is great with them. He knows when to be stern and when to have fun. Tough love.

If I could tell someone one thing about this BJJ Academy it would be that it is the best place for our girls to be.

They are acquiring skills that will help them throughout life; self-defense, confidence and how to be coachable kids.