Kzoo boy, 11, headed to muay thai world tournament

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Jaden Taylor trains anywhere from 15 to 30 hours per week.

"It's just really fun to have that feeling after you win," Jaden said.

He's just 11 years old, but the Kalamazoo resident is one of the top muay thai competitors in the world.

"When it comes down to competition, he is tenacious," Ruel Taylor, Jaden's father, said.

He and his wife, along with some of the other instructors at Alliance AZO Martial Arts Center in Kalamazoo, have helped Jaden hone his skills. Now, he's slated to represent the United States in next month's International Federation of Muaythai Youth World Championship in Bangkok, Thailand.

"Right now, I'm excited more than nervous," Jaden said. "When I get there, I'll probably be a little nervous."

It's a pretty incredible feat for a kid who only a little over a year ago won a national championship in his first competition.

"It's been an awesome thing to watch from when he first started," Destiny Taylor, Jaden's mother, said. "The little mistakes he'd make to now … I'm in awe when I watch him."

"When he first asked to compete, I was a little skeptical because I didn't know if he knew what he was getting himself into," his dad said.

He was wrong. Jaden's parents, both active duty in the Air National Guard, are muay thai national champions.

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