Judo coming naturally to Owens

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Michael Owens isn’t your everyday 8-year-old.

While other kids his age are playing Little League or lacrosse this spring, Owens is winning judo tournaments all over the Northeast.

And his success in this newly-found passion has come instantaneously.

Owens, who is a second-grader at Saint Kevin School, has a heavy wrestling background, cutting his teeth with the Warwick PAL youth wrestling program over three seasons.

He then made the move last year to Mayo Quanchi Judo and Wrestling in Coventry, where Owens intended to continue molding his wrestling talents.

But, shortly after his arrival at Mayo Quanchi, Owens noticed the judo players practicing at the facility, and that sparked his interest.

He asked his father to try judo, and the rest is history.

Owens began judo after the conclusion of this year’s wrestling season in February, and it turns out that he’s a natural, using the skills that he’s learned as a wrestler to his advantage.

“He took to judo like a fish in water,” Mayo Quanchi head coach and owner Serge Bouyssou said. “Michael seems to like judo more than wrestling. He’s picking it up quickly and seems to enjoy it.”

Over the last few months, Owens has compiled four victories, winning the Ocean State International Judo Tournament in Providence, the Central Connecticut Open Judo Tournament in New Britain, Connecticut, and two San Machi Invitational Tournaments in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

Owens will look for continued success this weekend, when he travels to Paterson, New Jersey, for the Summer Slam Judo Championships.

Bouyssou believes that Owens will only get better as he gains more experience, which could be a scary thing for his future competitors.

“He’s a special little kid,” Bouyssou said of Owens. “I think he can be a national placer in a short amount of time.”

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