Kostya and Nayira Loneman take home the world champ title! Read about their journey and how BJJ has benefited their lives.
By Tara Miller
Competing in jiu jitsu is no easy feat for anyone. The nerves. The pressure. It can take over your entire body. Most of us who compete feel this way at local tournaments. Now, imagine being a young tot, travelling to California and competing on one of jiu jitsu’s biggest stages — Worlds!
Kostya Loneman, 8, and Nayira Loneman, 7, both blue with white stripe belts out of the Denver Easton BJJ academy, conquered their fears and blew everyone away at the Riverside Convention Center during the Kids’ World Tournament, July 31 and Aug. 1.
Both boys fought six times in their respective divisions, only losing once, and each were presented with a gold medal for nogi and a bronze medal for gi.
“On the first day of competition, the boys were scared and very nervous which is extremely out of character for them,” said their father Kevin Loneman. “They were disappointed in themselves, even though they still got third place. On the second day, they took a complete 180. They were play fighting, smiling, laughing and just having fun. They went undefeated to take the gold.”
Even though it is obvious these kids have immense natural talent, Kevin thinks all of the Easton BJJ kids could dominate on international mats.
“The best competition my kids have ever faced are their very own teammates,” he said. “If more kids from Easton BJJ had gone to Worlds, I’m pretty sure we would be celebrating more world champs. Our Easton kids are just that good.”
Despite having great training partners, Kostya and Nayira would have never achieved this goal without the coaches and professors at Easton BJJ, according to Kevin, and he encourages every parent to immerse their children into the sport.
“What I love most about Easton BJJ can be summed up in one word — family. The school isn’t just a martial arts school, it’s a home away from home. If someone from Easton BJJ wins, then I feel like we all win,” Kevin said. “Easton BJJ improves health, self esteem and confidence. The professors and coaches are very friendly and really good with children.”
For his sons specifically, Kevin said the changes he has seen are miraculous.
“For Nayira, jiu jitsu is a major benefit to his health. He has one lung that functions well, and the other didn’t develop properly in the womb. His chronic asthma before training was pretty severe. Now, it’s rare for him to have an asthma attack. For Kostya, BJJ has boosted his self esteem and has been a huge confidence builder.”
Not only has the health and confidence of these two world champs improved, but so has their discipline.
“The Tigers program has a ‘discipline card’ and that is really helpful to get my sons motivated to do homework, chores and just be good boys. This sport has become invaluable.”
Kevin is no doubt confident in his kids’ abilities, but still admits his nerves can get the best of him.
“I’m so proud of my lil tigers. I’m a nervous wreck before every tournament they compete in. But at the end of the day, I couldn’t be any happier and more proud of them.”
Congratulations to Kostya and Nayira for their amazing accomplishment at the Worlds Tournament!!
Remember, you and your children do not have to compete in order to train and reap the benefits of this martial art. However, if you or your children are interested, talk with the head professor at your academy for more information on what you need to do to prepare for competitions. For more information on the kids program, visit http://www.eastonbjj.com/KidsProgram/tabid/76/Default.aspx.