PATERSON, N.J. — Two Paterson brother each trained hard for a chance to be named the best martial artists around.
Tracia McDonald said her son Jason and his brother Jalen will look to compete in the jiu jitsu Pan Kids Championship Feb. 14 in California. Jalen, 9, and Jason, 8, started martial arts years ago but kicked up their training recently to another level.
"They love it," McDonald said of her sons' interest in jiu jitsu. "When they don't train for a day or two, they bounce off the walls."
The duo started winning medals in local tournaments while training at Unity Jiu JItsu academy in New York City. The school's team won the Long Island Pride Jiu Jitsu Tournament to help send them to the championship in California.
It would be the first cross-country trip for Jalen and Jason, their mother said, leaving the boys excited.
Jalen started his training with judo when he was around 4 or 5, McDonald said. Jason started a year behind his brother and didn't take to it right away, but eventually he was hooked. Their father helped introduce them to martial arts.
Jason also wrestles, his mother said.
Jalen said he wants to be an instructor someday, his mother said.
Regardless of the outcome in California, McDonald said she saw the sport have a positive impact on her kids.
"I think jiu jitsu and wrestling are excellent sports for structure and confidence," she said. "Jason was very timid and shy but as soon as he started [jiu jitsu] he came out of his shell."
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