Dakotah Kirk isn’t scared of anything. At 8 years old and 60 pounds, he is a force to be reckoned with.
And he has the belt to prove it.
“I wanna knock them out,” Kirk said. “But I will settle for an arm bar submission or something.”
This is coming from the kid that just won the tri-state championship in kickboxing in Springdale, Ark.
“I like getting in the ring, and hearing my family cheer for me. It gets me pumped up.”
Kirk, a third-grader at Creek Elementary School, is also a kickboxing and mixed martial arts student at Dragon Fly Dojo and studies under Master Louie Cruz.
Before that, Kirk played soccer for three seasons, until his grandpa, Walter Kirk, decided to take him to Dragonfly to try it out.
“Oh, he just loved it,” said Marcia Kirk, his grandmother. “Now this is what he wants to do as a profession.”
Marcia said that the instruction Dakotah receives, helps them keep him on his toes with behavior, school work, and other aspects of discipline.
“If he gets in trouble at school or at home, they will not let him box,” Marcia said. “They try to teach them not to brag, they are real disciplined. He is more respectful and he walks a straight line.”
Kirk said that he wants to be like Chuck Liddell or his favorite World Wrestling Entertainment superstar, John Cena, the marine.
“I train all the time, in or out of class,” he said. “I do strength training and a whole lot of sit-ups.”
Marcia said she remembers one instance when Dakotah was sparring with a fellow student and ended up knocking the kids tooth out.
“He was so mad when he found out the boy was going to get money from the tooth fairy,” Marcia said. “He felt like the money should have gone to him. It was funny.”
Better behavior is just one of many things that his instructors can take credit for. He said when he started kickboxing, he couldn’t even kick straight. Now he can kick over his own head.
“I won the school belt, the state championship belt, and now tri-state, I am pimpin’ with all of those belts on me.”
A collection of trophies and belts is not the only things Kirk is getting out of his experience as a kickboxer. It brings his family closer together to.
“They come to all my matches,” Kirk said. “It doesn’t matter where they are. My cousins all go.”
Kirk said he likes to stay healthy, eating vegetables and his favorite fruits — melons. Lemon Gatorade is the champion’s drink of choice. To relieve nerves before a fight, he said he likes to stay on his toes and keep moving, shadowboxing, while waiting for the fight to begin.
“Kid Rock’s song, ‘Cocky,’ the cleaned up version, is what we play as he makes his entrance, and he picks all his own music.”
To win the tri-state championship, Kirk said he had to get mad.
“He knocked me back with a right and it scared me,” Kirk said. “Then I got mad and started kicking him in the head and punching him as hard as I could. That is how I won.”
While Marcia and Walter said he may be just a little spoiled, it’s definite that he has a gift for this type of fighting style.
“But so far he really enjoys it, and who knows what this will all lead him to,” Marcia said.
Kirk said he knows just where it will lead.
“I wanna be the world’s greatest kickboxer,” he said and grinned.
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