Awesome article on kids, the future of MMA. Full story reprinted here:
Kids – The Future of MMA
Story by Taff Davies
When most people talk about Mixed Martial Arts, they bring up organizations such as the UFC and Strikeforce. They discuss their favorite fighters, including legends like Randy Couture and young guns like Jon Jones. They talk about matchups such as the upcoming George St. Pierre versus Nick Diaz fight, predicted to be an epic battle. And they gossip about scandals involving athletes including Chael Sonnen and Nate Marquardt, both caught for steroid use in the past year.
But how many of these fans truly think about the future? Do they think about where the sport will be in 10 years? Do they question how far the athletes will have evolved by then? Do they wonder who the stars of tomorrow will be?
At The Arena, the San Diego MMA gym known for having one of the best fight teams in the business, the trainers there are already planning for this future. For now, these plans come in the form of Alexander “Xander” Dumas Jr. and Kai Kramer.
You might have seen the Tapout commercials, showing two little warriors hitting pads and displaying some slick moves. Those kids, known as the Ruffo brothers, have become overnight MMA celebrities. They Wrestle, train Muay Thai, and are both orange belts in Jiu Jitsu. Because of this, they are constantly pointed to as the future of MMA. But The Arena has 2 young warriors of its own who will also be claiming their stake in the MMA world soon enough. And these 2 special athletes definitely have the skills and accomplishments to back it up.
Xander, 12 years old, has been training in Martial Arts since 2004. Among his numerous accomplishments, within his age and weight brackets, Xander is the 2 time San Diego County Wrestling Champion, 4 time Southern California Pankration Champion, the IKF International Kickboxing Champion and the IKF Muay Thai Champion. He is also the winner of the 2011 USA National Championships for Pankration, a sport very similar to MMA but with rules in place to make it even safer. This most recent accomplishment earned him a spot on the USA Junior Team who will be competing in Hungry in Nov. 2011. Xander is also a continuous Honor Roll student, as well as winner of numerous other academic awards.
Kai, the older of the two at age 13, is right up there with Xander in his achievements and has also been training since he was 5. He is a Black Belt in Shorin-ryu Karate, an Orange Belt in Jiu Jitsu, and is a top-ranked California Junior Wrestler. Kai has won the San Diego Karate Grand Internationals and the Golden State Open Judo Invitational. He has also placed second in the USA Pankration National Championships and has dominated the majority of Wrestling matches he has been through in recent years, including recently winning the San Diego State qualifier. Like Xander, he is also an exceptional student. He has a 4.00 in school and is fluent in Japanese, a language he uses when he goes to Japan to cross train with some of their elite junior athletes. .
With such accomplishments already under their belts, it’s most likely the future will involve Mixed Martial Arts for both Xander and Kai. Clearly their training has only benefited their academic life, which is a frequent result when kids train in Martial Arts. And both their fathers, Alexander Dumas Sr. and David Kramer, know the importance of balance. They give their sons just as much as they need when it comes to their training, never pushing them hard enough to burn them out.
It will be interesting to follow this young dynamic duo as they mature and continue on their Martial Arts destiny. Hopefully they stay on the path long enough to one day show skills as Professional fighters that fans have yet to see. With both starting Martial Arts at age 5 and continuously training since then, it’s hard to imagine them not being dominant in the future. Unless of course some other kids come along who started training a few years earlier in their lives and were able to get that much more of a head start. But one thing is certain. The future of MMA is most definitely the kids who will be evolving the sport over the upcoming years. And that future looks incredibly bright.
For more information on both Xander and Kai, please visit thearenamma.com.