Above: Tom Spiggle receives his Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

For many of our members, EvolveAll is a family affair. One of those families is the Spiggles. We wanted to spotlight the whole family so below you’ll hear from Tom, Anne, Julia, and Lucy Spiggle about their martial arts practice, family, community, and so much more.

Tell us a little about yourselves.

Tom Spiggle: I am a 54-year-old North Carolina native. I moved to DC in 1998 and met Anne in law school in 1999. We married in 2003 and moved to Arlington soon after. We have four children: Harrison (18), Jonah (15), Julia (13), and Lucy (11), all of whom are participating or have participated in the studio.

Anne Spiggle: Ditto what Tom said, except that I’m MUCH younger (49) and come from Connecticut, which we can all agree is way cooler than NC.

Lucy Spiggle: I am an 11-year-old girl who has been attending Evolveall for the past 6 years. I have always tried to catch up to my older siblings. I attend Claremont Elementary School and am fluent in both English and Spanish.

Julia Spiggle: I am a 13-year-old and I’ve been a part of the EvolveAll community since I was 5. I am currently attending my third year at Gunston Middle School. At the start of the next school year, I will be starting at Wakefield and continuing in the immersion program.

How did you first get started at EvolveAll?

Tom: Our son, Harrison, participated in an after-school event at EvolveAll when he was a student at Claremont Elementary. He then joined EvolveAll when it was on Columbia Pike. Jonah joined soon after as did our two daughters, Julia and Lucy. Tired of watching my kids have all of the fun, I started the Jiu-Jitsu program three years ago at the age of 51.

Julia: I always rode in the car with my parents while my older siblings were on their way to class. I remember riding in the car one evening when my parents asked me if I wanted to attend classes. I immediately said that I did.

Lucy: As my brothers participated in classes I was usually in the turf room of the first studio running around and getting to know everyone there. Once I was old enough to enroll I started classes and I’ve been here ever since. 

How has practicing martial arts influenced your family?

Anne: Being part of the EvolveAll community has had a tremendous grounding effect on our family. It is something that we have all shared for years. We’ve been to almost every growth ceremony for the past 10? 11? years. Both sets of grandparents, who live out of state, have been to a few! Some of our kids’ best friends are ones that they met in EvolveAll.

Tom: The physical fitness aspect has been very important for our children, and for me!

We are also thankful for the self-defense skills Evolve All has taught to all of our kids, but particularly our girls. After years of training, I wouldn’t want to meet either of them in a dark alley.

Anne: I’ve always been grateful for the confidence Evolve All has instilled in our kids – especially our girls. Julia, in particular, was quite shy when she was little and tended to approach tasks she perceived as difficult with an “I won’t be able to do that” mindset. Not anymore! She knows now that she can achieve what she puts her mind to if she sticks with it. Don’t tell her she can’t – you’ll lose that bet!

Lucy: Being a young kid in the EvolveAll community has affected both me and my family tremendously. I remember playing in the side room of one of the very first studios, as I was too young to attend any of the classes. It has always been a joke that comes up between me and my instructors, about how crazy I was. Being a part of EvolveAll has taught me discipline, respect, and responsibility over the years. Both me and my family members express so much gratitude for the community and healthy environment we have found at Evolveall.

Julia: EvolveAll has influenced my life in many ways such as discipline, patience, responsibility, and thoughtfulness throughout the year. It has also given me a community full of many wonderful people to thrive and grow with. EA has also really enhanced my sense of security and has helped me stay fit.

What are you all working on now? Any specific skills you’re trying to master?

​Tom: Having spent the past few years focusing on my defense techniques in jiu-jitsu, I am now adding in learning more (any!) attacking skills.

Anne: What Tom really means is he’s trying not to pass out.

Julia: Previously I have been focusing on my grappling skills and now I’d like to work on my sparring and flexibility.

Lucy: Having grown up around the martial arts community, I focus on improving my tricking and doing well in school.

What do you like to do outside of class?

Tom: I own The Spiggle Law Firm which helps people who have been fired or are afraid that they might be. When I’m not at home or the studio, that’s where I am.

Julia: Outside of class I like to read and rock climb as those are my favorite hobbies. I’ve also recently enjoyed making different kinds of animals out of cardboard, and I like to think I’m pretty good at it.

Lucy: When I am outside of class, I enjoy physical activities, like soccer and weight training. On the side, I enjoy learning about animals and working on schoolwork.

What has this community meant to you?

Tom: EvolveAll has been a home away from home for our family. For me personally, participating in the adult Jiu-Jitsu class has been transformative on many levels. But one of the things I am most grateful for is the opportunity to make a whole community of new friends, something that can sometimes be difficult for an adult.

Lucy: Evolveall has meant so much to me and the rest of my family. EvolveAll makes so much of a difference in my everyday life. It brings me so much joy and a lot of self-confidence that I never had before. But making friends with the wonderful people that I have grown around me has been one of the best things I could have asked for.

Julia: EvolveAll has always been another home for me and the community is wonderful. I will always be grateful for everything I have learned there and the friendships that I have formed.

Anne: I’ll always be grateful for the sense of community at EvolveAll. It always feels like the place I can come – whether for 5 minutes or an hour – to catch up with friends, have a laugh, and recharge. And when there have been times that my kids have been struggling (whether with friendships, a tough coach, a class, etc.), they’ve viewed EvolveAll as the place they can come to get away from that stress and find support and feel good about themselves. What parent wouldn’t be grateful for that?