Bailey Sherbourne, left, of Clay, takes top honors at a recent tournament. Bailey, 13, aspires to be an MMA fighter.
Clay Don’t mess with Bailey Sherbourne. She’s not your average 13-year-old girl.
Bailey, of Clay, has been practicing martial arts for 10 years already. She earned her black belt after three years of karate, moved onto Brazilian jiu-jitsu, for which she has seven years under her orange-yellow belt, and began wrestling this past year with the Cicero-North Syracuse High School modified wrestling team as one of two girls out of more than 40 teammates.
Now training at Tai Kai Jiu-Jitsu in Liverpool, Bailey practices jiu-jitsu nine to 12 hours per week during tournament time.
Mike Bidwell, one of Bailey’s coaches at Tai Kai, has worked with her for about two years. He said that after one of her tournaments two years ago, Bailey left “kind of bummed out because she didn’t do as well as she wanted to,” but after working to improve, “she’s gone back and has won several championship belts. She’s been crushing it.”
Bailey has won two swords, two belts and approximately 20 medals for her various competitions. She earned the swords for winning intermediate divisions, and the belts for winning expert divisions.
Bailey’s most recent tournament took place in Albany on Saturday, Aug. 24. She competed against a 15-year-old boy in the teen intermediate division. While Bailey technically belongs in the kids division, which is for kids ages 13 and younger, she had to move up to teen because there was nobody in her weight class in the kids division to compete against.
At the Saturday North American Grappling Association (NAGA) competition, Bailey felt a pop in her chest and had to stop the match. A medic determined that the pop was muscular and that nothing was broken, but because she could not raise her arm above shoulder level, Bailey had to withdraw from the match.
She plans to be back on the mats again in one week’s time.