Former LHS wrestlers now competing in jiu jitsu
IRVINE, CA – Lahainaluna High School graduates Kazia Lecker and George Chihara have fashioned a pathway to life enrichment and health in the ever-growing martial art of jiu jitsu. The married couple, now residing in Irvine, California, was introduced to jiu jitsu at Carlson Gracie Brazilian Jiu Jitsu of Lahaina after sterling careers in wrestling at Lahainaluna.
After graduation, Hana girl Lecker – a four-year boarder at Lahainaluna – attended Grand Canyon University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing. Chihara enlisted in the United States Coast Guard and was assigned to stations from New York to Washington State and most recently to Newport Beach, California.
After getting married in 2015, they kept up their jiu jitsu practice and enrolled in One Jiu Jitsu of Irvine led by Professor Giva Santana. They have found the program to be an ideal athletic and social activity to complement both her work as a registered nurse at the Definitive Step Unit at Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Orange, and his aboard the USCG Cutter Narwhal as a Machinery Technician Second Class and Petty Tech Officer.
The jiu jitsu practice has proven to be particularly golden for Kazia, as she has stood at the top of the podium in seven straight tournament competitions. Most recently, she won the gold medal in the 107-pound White Belt Division at the prestigious 2019 International Jiu Jitsu Federation Pan American Championships in Irvine. With the gold medal around her neck, Professor Santana presented the blue belt ranking to Lecker.
Chihara has found the going a little bit tougher, as he has settled for runner-up finishes during Kazia’s current streak. In the 141-pound class at the most recent tournament, he lost the championship match in a close, two-point advantage decision. George, too, was promoted to blue belt by Professor Santana at the medal presentation following the title match.