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Anic is a leader in the MMA-for-kids training circuit, offering a twice-a-week class at Finney's Championship Kickboxing and Mixed Martial arts gym in Crestwood for children ages four to fourteen. On a recent Tuesday afternoon, Madeline showcases her striking skills, whacking Anic's padded hands with furious jab-hook-knee combos that can be heard across the room. The twelve-year-old's shoulders are hunched, and her grimace is fierce as she pulverizes Anic's mitts with her tiny arms.
"She's an all-around ninja," says one of Green's teammates.
Madeline is now training for what will be her biggest two tests so far. On March 19, the North American Grappling Association, the largest of its kind in the world, will host a tournament for the first time in the region at Vetta Sports in O'Fallon, Illinois. Madeline plans to enter the intermediate boys' bracket. Then, on April 2, she will participate in her first kickboxing cagematch in an otherwise adult showcase, staged by Jesse Finney's Shamrock Promotions at the Stratford Inn in Fenton. Finney has splashed Madeline's picture on one of the promotional cards, highlighting her debut.
"Maddy is the Tiger Woods of the sport," says Gee. "She's being groomed for it."
Madeline Green's childhood is much like her father's in one big way: She doesn't see her mom.
When Mike Green met Christina Moran, he'd been rising through the amateur ranks with an eye toward the pros. He had little interest in a romantic relationship. But when the eighteen-year-old Moran told Green she was pregnant, the pair attempted to make family life work.
By the time Madeline was two, the couple split up. After a period of shared custody, Moran eventually took to drugs.
Green never wanted to raise a child; the world he knew was too painful, too haunting. There had never been an "I love you" in his life. Everyone, it seemed, would either hurt or abandon you. How would this little girl — small-boned and coming from a broken home, just like him — learn to survive the mean streets of South Broadway?
"I seen the way I grew up," reflects Green. "I seen the way my parents separated. It's lonely."
And so, fatherhood for Green began with the very first lesson he taught himself many years ago: Always protect yourself.
Green began teaching Madeline how to assume a proper fighting stance. He showed her how to throw a punch, how to dodge a punch, how to come at an attacker with a front kick. The two began spending hours inside Green's basement, sparring with mitts. "I always tell her to be on her toes," says Green. "Head up. Pay attention. You gotta always be ready for anything."
Pretty soon, Madeline started tagging along with her dad to the gym. She'd play with the punching bags while he worked out in the ring. Undersized like her dad, she learned to be quick.
When she was eight, Green enrolled her in karate classes with Sid Gee, who'd been Green's coach and longtime mentor. It didn't take her long to make his jaw drop.
"She took to it like a fish in water," says Gee. "It's in her bloodline."
In 2008, Madeline's mother landed in rehab, and Green agreed to take Madeline on a full-time basis, abandoning any thought of turning pro. Madeline has neither seen nor spoken to her mother since.
That's been her decision, not her mother's. Prior to that year, Moran says she was a good mom, though Madeline says she has very few memories of her.
Regardless, an isolated incident — the event that drove Moran to rehab — soured their relationship for good. Moran declines to get into the details of that event, but it's a day she won't forget.
"The hardest thing in life is not seeing her," says Moran. "I made some mistakes. But I was young. And I can't take anything back."
Now 31, Moran says she's completely drug-free, and although she's never seen Madeline fight, she's still a fan. "I couldn't be more proud of the kid, whatever she does," she says. "She's incredible. I could not be more proud."
As Madeline grew into her new role as a fighter, Green grew into his new role as a dad. He started hanging out with his daughter as much as possible, introducing her to his fighter friends, who adopted her as a member of their crew. "She became like our little mascot — but also one of the guys," says one fighter.
Eventually, Madeline would begin accompanying Green to his cage matches. "I didn't like watching him at first, because of the blood," admits Madeline. "When he got knocked out for the first time it was scary. His head bounced off the cage, and he started shaking." But now she's one of the loudest voices in the crowd, the first person to come to Green's corner between rounds to offer advice. Blood is no longer scary; it's a part of the life she's chosen.
Outside the cage, father and daughter started taking rides on motorcycles together. Green taught her how to change the oil, how to pump up a tire, how to maneuver a dirt bike on her own. They shopped together at Goodwill. He coached her sports teams and hosted gatherings at his house for her friends — all little boys; rarely girls. He even learned how to braid hair and made a few attempts to get her in a dress. (She refused.)
Wish the best for Maddy in whatever she does. Wish the best for her Mom also. Hope she continues to try to repair her relationship with her daughter. People do change and everyone deserves a second chance. Godspeed, Tina and Maddy....may very well be a long journey- definitely worth enduring.
I know Maddy IRL (: Might be going to her cage fight! Wish me luck getting tickets.. getting expensive really fast.
We gave this story a little 8-bit love: http://wp.me/p12LqE-Xv
Good luck, Mike and Maddy!
Being a friend of Mikes' going as far back as I can remember. He has always been a fierce competitor no matter what it was. I see the same in Maddy. Shes a very bright and beautiful young lady, but just like her Daddy dont piss her off! I am proud of his and her accomplishments in and out of the ring. Im even prouder to call them both my friends and extended family. To Loam and Fabs bring your sons to a fight and challenge "The Madness" and we'll see who gets the living daylights kicked out of them or winds up with brain damage. No one would, this isn't boxing. Research the sport a little better before you make accusations of such things. Then again I wouldn't expect anything less from the uneducated. This is Maddys' time to shine please dont tarnish this moment for her with your rash comments. Watching her train would make the laziest of men get off the couch and want to train! Thank you Maddy! We love you!
Interesting you assume I have a son. Son or daughter, I have no interest in bringing my progeny to a fight. Thank you, though, for the invitation, as well as for your assumption that people who are not interested in fighting are uneducated. We just find our inspiration in other, safer things.
Lets just say you and your father were Tennis Players and I made a comment like, "I wonder how your Dad would feel if you fell and your Tennis racket were to get lodged in your ass?" Then again you would probably feel nothing. With me knowing nothing about Tennis it sounds pretty stupid maybe even ridiculous. With you knowing this is virtually impossible unless I learned how to play Tennis on South Broadway. Cause with a comment such as yours I'd graciously shove the Tennis racket up your bum! Its a good thing you and your progeny aren't interested in fighting because the world needs more Tennis Players.
As a father I have to wonder how Mike will feel when he watches an opponent kick the living daylights out of his daughter. Then again, he may feel nothing.
Madeline is representing the new breed of young people growing up in this sport. I think this is very exciting. Martial Arts are great for everyone who has the temperament and willingness to train consistently. It's amazing to me that Maddy has learned so much, so quickly and is able to defeat opponents in a variety of fighting styles. Well done, Daddy Green for recognizing talent in his own daughter and nurturing her passion. Mini-Warrior Princess!
The only thing that's going to happen to her is brain damage and she'll have her dad to thank for it.
Thats a fairly narrow minded generalisation to make. Sure people get injured in sports like this but the numbers are tiny.Youre just as likely to get injured as a pedestrian as you are in a fighting ring.
She will have her amazing father to thank for her self confidence, discipline, and guidance that will make her an amazing woman. Wish every little girl was lucky enough to have such a loving devoted father.
there are other ways to give your daughter self confidence, discipline, and guidance that will make her an amazing woman without brain damage and dementia and roid rage
1. karate 2. girl scouts3. military(when shes 18)
by the way what boy would want to fight her i mean every boy in history is taught to never to hit a girl
She'll also have him to thank for broken bones or teeth - or even brain damage. There's a reason there are laws against children participating in this kind of fighting in most states.
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