Martial Arts Medals Stay In The Family

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The Arizona Grappling Challenge held Oct. 14 in Mesa turned into a stage for three members of the Root family to showcase their martial arts skills.

Danny, Tony and Krystle Root -- all students at Payson Pankration Martial Arts -- earned medals competing in a field of more than 200 entrants.

Krystle, entered in the 12-year-olds/80-pound division, won first place by submitting all three of her opponents.

"And it was her first tournament," Payson Pankration instructor Wyatt Shepherd said.

Danny, a 14-year-old participating in the 88-pound class, took second as did Tony in the 7-year-olds/55-pound class.

The standout showings weren't the first turned in by Danny and Tony.

At the Arizona State Brazilian Jiu-jitsu championships June 3 in Mesa both were 2-0.

Danny 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 his second match by submission.

Tony took his opening match in just 10 seconds by executing a rear chokehold.

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Krystle Root, Wyatt Shepherd, Aubrey Pond and (front) Toni Root.

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

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

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

Also representing Payson at the Arizona Grappling Challenge were Aubrey Pond, Mike Moreno and Mike Bonnette.

Pond, competing in her first-ever tournament, took home a gold medal.

Moreno, in the masters (35-years-plus) heavyweight division, was second.

Shepherd believes Bonnette probably turned in the best performance by a Payson athlete. He was competing in the 18-years, 147-pound division.

"He placed second by practically choking his opponent unconscious with a triangle choke in the first match and then losing controversially in the final match by two points," Shepherd said.

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.

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