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In Search Of...Kickin' Sisters

Karate helps La Crosse Sisters Break out of their Shell

LA CROSSE, Wis. - Inside the walls of Longfellow middle school you will find 8th grader Jaida Kenana and her 6th grade little sister Sireen.

They're both good students, involved in school activities and though they appear to be typical tweens - they most certainly are not.

You are looking at two of the best karate students in the nation.  "Jaida's been doing this ever since she was four," says mom Sheng Xiong.

"I would always watch those Kung Fu and I'd always be around the house and be like, 'wat-cha,'" says 12-year-old Jaida. "Then my mom see's the Karate thing in the newspaper and I'm all like, 'yes!'"


"She's been in martial arts more than half her life," says Nicklaus Martial Arts instructor William Cornell.

Little sister Sireen took notice of her sister's talents, "I would always watch her do what she does. Karate and compete. But at first I was like, 'ehhh...I don't really like it.'"

"Now she loves Karate."

"We're both pretty competitive but, I try to beat her but she's really good."

Both girls have competed and won tournaments around the country and recently both came back with bronze medals at a world tournament in Canada.  "You saw people with different styles and spoke different languages."

They specialize in the Karate forms.  "It should be a performance," says Cornell.  "It should be entertaining along with demonstrating the traditional martial arts. But what separates them from most competitors is that they're able to bring the dramatics with it."

"I think that Karate is the core to everything around them," says Xiong.  "My kids are always kind of shy. Well they *were* shy."

"Before I started Karate I was a really shy little kid. I always looked down."  "It actually builds my confidence and makes me feel like, 'hey, I can actually do something at this age. Make myself better. I can make a difference."

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