By Wade Linville –
Madison Baldwin,13, and her younger brother Ayden Baldwin,10, have found a great deal of success in the world of martial arts.
Both are from Sardinia, the daughter and son of Lonnie and Samantha Baldwin, and are members of Martial Arts America in Williamsburg. They are both currently ranked Recommended Junior Black Belts, and will likely be Junior Black Belts by December of this year.
Madison Baldwin was the one that approached her mother about joining a martial arts program. One of her classmates had been involved in karate for some time, and she wanted to give it a try.
Her mother reluctantly gave in, figuring it would be a passing fad, but nearly two years later they are both still very active in the martial arts program.
Madison Baldwin has taken martial arts very seriously in recent years and is able to compete in tournaments far more than her younger brother Ayden, mainly due to the fact that he still participates in other sports.
Ayden Baldwin plays soccer for Kings Hammer and basketball for the Eastern Brown PeeWee Program. He also participates in 5K runs all over Cincinnati, which he enjoys and excels at.
Madison Baldwin is looking to take her martial arts skills to the next level, recently starting gymnastics at ITC in Hillsboro to help with Extreme or CMX karate, and she has also started running 5Ks and will run Cross Country for Eastern Middle School this year to help build cardio for continuous sparring.
After joining Martial Arts American in August of 2015, the Baldwins attended their first Maududo Tournament in November of 2015. It was their first time seeing anyone spar, and they were hooked.
In December of 2015 they began practicing to spar and in February of 2016 they began competing in outside tournaments only in sparring at that time.
They quickly gained interest in other events and soon learned a kata and weapons form. While they both are now familiar with multiple weapons, Madison will still often compete with a sword, while Ayden’s favorite is the bo staff.
They both prefer creative style over traditional divisions, though they compete in all.
Madison recently started competing in CMX kata and weapons, and both children will be attending a four-day camp/intensive at the end of July in Naperville, IL at a karate studio well known for CMX.
Madison won her first Grand Championship at the Middletown Open Invitational in November of 2016. Though she qualified in both kata and weapons, she had to choose one, and chose to compete with her sword. A very proud moment for her mother and father, as she was able to compete in the 17 and under group. Madison received an award from MVTA Karate Association for placing second in their tournament series the previous year in forms, fighting and weapons.
Madison was a WKC MidEast Regional Qualifier (February 2017), and competed in the Philly Pro Am in Philadelphia, PA in March. In April, Madison won her second Grand Championship while competing in Marietta. She also qualified in kata and weapons and chose to user her sword to compete with. Again, it was 17 and under and she came out on top with her sword form.
April 2017 Naperville Challenge, Naperville IL – Weekend of June 10, 2017
On the weekend of June 10 Madison and Ayden Baldwin competed at WKC Nationals in Dearborn Michigan. Madison competed in seven events, while Ayden competed in three. A ruptured appendix in February kept Ayden from qualifying to compete in additional divisions, as he was in the hospital for two weeks and was unable to compete in any qualifying tournaments for a couple of months. In areas where they won or qualified in at WKC Nationals, they will compete in at WKC Worlds in Orlando in November.
Both also qualified to compete at the ESPN Elite International Martial Arts Festival in October in Orlando.
There have been numerous other tournaments that they have competed in. Madison competes in tournaments almost weekly, sometimes traveling several hours away from her home in Sardinia to attend tournaments. Both have too many awards and trophies to mention in this story alone. They compete in several circuits such as MVTA, EMAC and UPMAC. Most tournaments have only age and rank divisions for competitors. Madison and Ayden are on the smaller side of the spectrum for their age, so they have both had to face “giants” from time to time, according to Samantha Baldwin.
“One of the instructors in the Maududo Federation gave Madison the nickname Giant Slayer,” said Samantha Baldwin.
Madison Baldwin often faces opponents nearly twice her size, and oftentimes she wins.