KAMLOOPS - Since he was five years old, Kamloops mom Charis Wlodarczyk knew her son Liam exerted a type of energy that demanded lots of physical activity.
He's been competing in mixed martial arts from a young age, and now at age eight, Liam is on his way to competing in the 2019 Pan American Championship.
It is the largest Brazilian jiu-jitsu tournament in North America hosted by the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation and this year's tournament will take place in Long Beach, California.
Charis says her son has been learning mixed martial arts at the BOA Martial Arts Kamloops studio.
The studio's owner, Chad Freeman, teaches kids like Liam everything they need to know about wrestling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and judo.
"We bring the kids in, give them a chance to build some confidence and get in shape and learn some self-defense technique," Freeman says.
Charis says her son has a love for being active and building his strength.
"I just noticed when he was just over five, he was super athletic and super strong," she says. "I found that this would be a healthy sport because he's quite a little manly dude."
Liam's heading to California with his family in February to compete in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
"It's been exciting, the date's finally been set, so that made me super nervous, (Liam) doesn't get nervous but I do," she says.
As for Liam, he says he's excited for his first time on an airplane.
"It's going to be my first time up in the sky," he says. "I'm going to a tournament that's really far away."
Freeman says kids like Liam are constantly competing in tournaments across the province.
"For a lot of the kids, they're here recreationally, learning a little bit, they have some fun and go home and they don't take it as seriously," Freeman says, adding that kids like Liam are always at the studio striving to get better.
Charis says they are currently fundraising to pay for expenses once they are in California.
"We want to get there a bit sooner so we can do a bit of training to get in the mode when we are down there," she says.
So far, Charis says she has received an overwhelming amount of community support.
"We have a few fundraisers going on and then we will get the bottle drive going on pretty soon," she says.
Liam's next fundraising dinner is Saturday, Nov. 10 at the Shanghai Mandarin Restaurant.
For details contact Charis at 250-572- 6784.
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