Kailani Yee is an incredibly accomplished Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighter. At just 11 years old, she has competed in some of the world’s most prestigious tournaments. She is a dedicated student with training and fighting being her top passions. What makes Kailani unique besides her extreme level of focus and competitive edge, is her sense of compassion that has compelled her to create Fighters Against Cancer. FightersAgainstCancer.org is a website dedicated to raising awareness and donations for children fighting against cancer. It also allows other children who compete in martial arts a platform to showcase their accomplishments and find a community of other youth fighters.
Here’s a little bit about what inspired Kailani to start her project:
I shaved my head to donate my hair to a little boy or girl who needed it a lot more than me. Shaving my hair was a good start, but that would only benefit one kid. I wanted to do more. I wanted to use my passion for martial arts to somehow help others. That’s when I came up with the concept for this web site. At large tournaments I met kids who had sponsorship. I thought what if I could sponsor some kids who were sick by raising money to help pay for their medicine. My Jiujitsu instructor makes websites so I asked her to make this one. I wrote letters to Hospitals asking if they could find kids to help. – Kailani Yee, fightersagainstcancer.org
I briefly interviewed Kailani, but to learn more about her and her project please visit her bio page.
What year were you born and where are you from?
I was born in 2003 at Berkeley Alta Bates Hospital, same hospital my dad was born.
What martial arts do you do, how old were you when you started? What do you like about them and why did you start doing them?
I do Brazilian jiu-jitsu from age of seven. I also do Muay Thai and boxing since a few months ago. I used to do Karate from age 3 1/2-7 years old. When I did karate, I liked it but I was always just waiting for the sparing, that’s when I started jiu-jitsu. I love jiu-jitsu mostly because a little girl like me can have a big chance against a heavy boy. When I started Muay thai, I was hoping to get something out from years of karate, and that’s exactly what I got. Just started training with Coach Dee for boxing. I want to be an all-around fighter.
What advice do you have for other fighters out there?
My advice to other fighters out there is “you win some; you lose some but don’t give up because if you give up you will never know if you’ll win the next time. Plus you always learn from your mistakes, it just makes you stronger.”
When you aren’t on the mat, what other things do you like to do?
On my free time, I still like to be active. Some things I like to do are rock climbing, biking, swim and other stuff just like any other ordinary kid.
Who are some of your favorite fighters?
Some of my favorite fighters have to be Ronda “Rowdy” Rousey and Michelle Nicolini. I also went to a Michelle Nicolini seminar and she was awesome! I watched every single episode of the Ultimate Fighter “Rousey vs Tate”.
It’s nice to be able to kick-off October, which is also Breast Cancer Awareness month by promoting an awesome fighter with an awesome project. Please consider making a donation to Kailani’s project which 100% of the proceeds go directly to the kids. I would like to take the time to also personally thank her parents who are both medical professionals for supporting her dreams and making this all possible.
If you are looking for other ways to support families who are struggling to pay for the expenses for their children’s cancer treatments and get some exercise while you are at it, check out Bay-Fit Challenge: Zero To Street Smart.
Zero To Street Smart is a fitness and self-defense training fundraiser to assist families dealing with the high cost of cancer treatment. Participants in the event will receive access to our training curriculum via closed Facebook community. You will have one month to hone your skills. On Saturday, October 25th, come test yourself at our live fitness and self-defense obstacle course. If you can remember your skills under duress, you’ll have them when you need them! This program is hosted by Bay-Fit, Bay Jiu-Jitsu and The Heroine Lab for Family Reach. No one turned away for lack of funds.