Kids Learn More Than Fighting In MMA
HUNTERSVILLE, NC- Local kids as young as four already have dreams of becoming professional fighters. Gyms are starting more youth mixed martial arts and boxing classes to get them ready.
One boy has racked up four medals this year and says it's only the beginning.
"I want to go out for the Olympics for boxing or wrestling and then I want to go the UFC," said Timmy Kennett, a Huntersville resident.
Kennett is 10 year-old - he has big dreams and big medals after two years of training in wrestling, jujitsu, boxing and kick-boxing.
He's won gold in his division at the U.S. Grappling Championships in Charlotte.
"I always have to train harder and harder because boys are growing taller than me, so that means I have to train that much more than them," said Kennett.
Kennett trains six days a week before competing.
Kids can start as young as four years old. They start off learning the basics of boxing and karate. When they turn six, they usually add on grappling, which includes is wrestling and jujitso.\
"They can't compete in Mixed Martial Arts until they're 18, but they're learning all the individual disciplines and competing in those," said Paul Booe, owner of Hayastan-IMB.
Along the way, Booe says kids also learn life lessons.
"We're not just teaching them how to fight. We're teaching them physical skills, so there has to be responsibility to go along with it. We work with them a lot on discipline and focus and being the best they can be in all areas of their life," said Booe.
Back at Rock in Huntersville, Timmy says learning self-defense can help with potential bullies in school.
"If they just tease you with words, don't hit them... go to the teacher first. But if they put their hands on you, then you fight back, but not too much," said Kennett.
As he continues to train and compete, Timmy says his medals are just motivation.
Both the Rock in Huntersville and Dyme Gym in Charlotte hold mixed martial arts classes just for kids.