Martial Arts Students 3rd In State Competition

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Brothers Danny and Tony Root battled their way to Arizona State Brazilian jiu-jitsu championships June 3, propelling Payson Pankration Martial Arts to a third-place youth division finish.

"We beat out some of the largest martial arts schools in the western United States," Pankration instructor Wyatt Shepherd said.

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Brothers Danny and Tony Root won Arizona State Martial Art Championships June 3 in Mesa. Wyatt Shepherd instructs the two brothers in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

The state championships were held in Mesa.

Danny Root, a 14-year-old competing in the 88-pound class, won his first match by executing a shoulder lock from the side position, Shepherd said.

By putting his opponent in a shoulder lock, he won by submission.

Tony, a 7-year-old, 55-pounder, took his opening match in just 10 seconds by executing a rear choke hold.

The victory earned him the tournament's "fastest submission award."

He won his second match by a 12-2 score.

The wins weren't the first excellent showing the Roots have turned in.

At the Arizona Open Feb. 25, also in Mesa, both battled to runner-up showings.

Also representing Payson in the state championship tournament were Ethan Taylor, Garry Naylor and Jacob Gardner.

For those unfamiliar with Pankration, Shepherd explains it as "a hybrid martial arts system that has taken techniques from all martial arts and put it into one.

"It is now being taught to our armed forces as the preferred means of hand-to-hand combat," he said.

For more information about Pankration Martial Arts, call Shepherd at 468-1675 or 978-0631.

-- To reach Max Foster call 474-5251 or e-mail mfoster@payson.com.

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