Think back to when you were a high school student during the summer. What were your summer plans and endeavors?


Chances are that no matter what, it’s hard to match what one Dallas Center-Grimes athlete will be doing to highlight his 2019 summer. For the athletic phenom known as Brayden Broderick, he will be taking his mixed martial arts talents to the scenic city of Rome in Italy.


Broderick will be one of just a handful of athletes who will be taking to the worldwide stage in the World Youth Pankration Championships August 2 through August 4. Broderick will be part of an ever-growing list that involves a plethora of fighters from over 30 countries. Brayden himself will be in a weight class filled with 31 other fighters in a bracket-style tournament.


While many have been aware of Brayden’s high school wrestling endeavors as an Iowa state tournament participant, less have known about his life on the fighting stage. Dating back to the days when he could first discover the sport of mixed martial arts, Brayden has been engulfed in that world as much as he can be.


“Brayden’s been competing in MMA style events since he was allowed to, ever since he was eight years old,” said father Colin Broderick. “He’s always had a knack and an interest for mixed martial arts and he’s taken to it really well.”


Since 2011, Brayden has taken extremely well to the sport earning his first-ever belt just one year later, doing so in the expert division. Since then the young phenom has captured a world championship in Jiu-Jitsu during the NAGA World Championships and more.


That has highlighted what is one of many skills when it comes to grappling, punching, kicking, and more. Brayden has also wrestled for Team Iowa on the National Dual scene and currently reigns undefeated in the youth kickboxing scene.


“Brayden has always had great hand-eye and hand-foot coordination and he’s a really quick individual ever since he started sports,” said Colin. “That has allowed him to take on different sports and events and to be as successful as he has been with them.


Father Colin Broderick has been one of his biggest supporters and in some cases coach, and believes sports like Jiu-Jitsu and mixed martial arts go far beyond just a singular aspect.


“Brayden does all of this because he loves to but what I like about sports like MMA is the fact that it can give kids a release in a safe and effective manner,” said Colin. “Kids can take out their frustration in a controlled setting yet strive for a higher goal in the same breath. That’s part of why it works so well for Brayden.”


Another big reason for joining the hunt for the Pankration Championships has been the way with which youth are indoctrinated into the sport. What the Youth Pankration scene offers is the way to get involved in the world of MMA in a controlled and safe manner. Put into respective age groups, those who participate in the modern youth Pankration scene have padded headgear to wear along with padded gloves and other protective gear. The league does not allow for any headshots and so forth, something Colin talked about as a big held to learning the sport.


“A lot of times kids want to go for the knock out punch so to speak and don’t focus on the more essential fundamentals of the sport,” began Colin Broderick. “By eliminating shots like those it forces the kids to focus on their fundamentals which in turn help prevent injuries down the road.”


Brayden earned his way onto the world stage after placing top three in the qualifying round in California. It was a tough gauntlet that Brayden had to go through but it was all worth it in the end as the normally calm athlete was flooded with emotions once he found out he was moving on.


“Brayden is not a big emotional type of individual,” said Colin. “He’s normally calm and doesn’t show a lot of emotion but when I told him he became really excited and was nearly brought to tears. That’s the most emotion I’ve ever seen out of him. He has worked all year round just like many others do for an opportunity like this and it was extremely exciting for him.”


While the path has been exciting it has also been quite expensive and currently, Brayden and his father are looking for sponsorships and/or any type of monetary assistance possible. For those wishing to help the cause and help get Brayden to Rome, specialty shirts are now available while they last. There are 50 shirts in total available and can be found on Colin Broderick’s Facebook page.


We’ll have more with Brayden and his incredible journey in future Dallas County News stories.