For over a year, 10-year-old Tristen Kimball of Houma trained relentlessly to be able to compete at the U.S. Open for Jiu Jitsu in San Francisco Nov. 4 and 5.

His training paid off as he became the 10-year-old champion, placing 1st in the 10-year-old grey belt, heavy division.

After witnessing his fellow competition teammates at Guerrilla Jiu Jitsu in Houma get invited to the competition the year before, Tristen trained harder than ever to be invited to the national tournament.

This year, Tristen was the only member of the gym to be invited.

“That was huge to him,” his father Daniel Kimball said.

Tristen began practicing Jiu Jitsu about two years ago and fell in love with it immediately, his father said.

After excelling at school, scoring in the 99th percentile of the LEAP test and testing at a 12th-grade level as a fifth-grader, Tristen was a natural at the Brazilian traditional combat methods.

Jiu Jitsu is more about knowing where to put your hands and how to use your body than it is about athletic abilities, Kimball said.

“Size and strength don’t matter,” he said. “He can roll with someone twice his size and win because he has the knowledge.”

During the first year, Tristen never complained or missed a class, finding a sport that he enjoyed for the first time.

After a few months, Tristen got better and better and began competing in regional and state tournaments, winning first place in his division at the Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi state tournaments.

When he was invited to compete at the U.S. Open for Jiu Jitsu, his dreams were complete.

Tristen was the only student from Louisiana to place in the tournament, Kimball said.

His coach, Scotty Smith Jr., and master trainer Dave Camarillo never stopped cheering for Tristen, traveling to California to support him during the tournament.

“Tristen is already an exceptional kid,” his father said. “Everything he does he excels at.”

And though they expected him to be a competitor in California, winning his division was a bonus.

“It was really amazing,” Kimball said.

Proud of his accomplishments, Tristen said he didn’t want anything for Christmas -- traveling to California, and winning, was enough for him.

The young fighter was recently promoted to yellow belt at the gym and will begin competing in advanced tournaments. He’s taken on a mentoring role at the gym, helping the new kids in class and keeping everyone motivated.

-- Staff Writer Julia Arenstam can be reached at 448-7636 or julia.arenstam@houmatoday.com. Follow her on Twitter at@gingerale214.

For over a year, 10-year-old Tristen Kimball of Houma trained relentlessly to be able to compete at the U.S. Open for Jiu Jitsu in San Francisco Nov. 4 and 5.

His training paid off as he became the 10-year-old champion, placing 1st in the 10-year-old grey belt, heavy division.

After witnessing his fellow competition teammates at Guerrilla Jiu Jitsu in Houma get invited to the competition the year before, Tristen trained harder than ever to be invited to the national tournament.

This year, Tristen was the only member of the gym to be invited.

“That was huge to him,” his father Daniel Kimball said.

Tristen began practicing Jiu Jitsu about two years ago and fell in love with it immediately, his father said.

After excelling at school, scoring in the 99th percentile of the LEAP test and testing at a 12th-grade level as a fifth-grader, Tristen was a natural at the Brazilian traditional combat methods.

Jiu Jitsu is more about knowing where to put your hands and how to use your body than it is about athletic abilities, Kimball said.

“Size and strength don’t matter,” he said. “He can roll with someone twice his size and win because he has the knowledge.”

During the first year, Tristen never complained or missed a class, finding a sport that he enjoyed for the first time.

After a few months, Tristen got better and better and began competing in regional and state tournaments, winning first place in his division at the Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi state tournaments.

When he was invited to compete at the U.S. Open for Jiu Jitsu, his dreams were complete.

Tristen was the only student from Louisiana to place in the tournament, Kimball said.

His coach, Scotty Smith Jr., and master trainer Dave Camarillo never stopped cheering for Tristen, traveling to California to support him during the tournament.

“Tristen is already an exceptional kid,” his father said. “Everything he does he excels at.”

And though they expected him to be a competitor in California, winning his division was a bonus.

“It was really amazing,” Kimball said.

Proud of his accomplishments, Tristen said he didn’t want anything for Christmas -- traveling to California, and winning, was enough for him.

The young fighter was recently promoted to yellow belt at the gym and will begin competing in advanced tournaments. He’s taken on a mentoring role at the gym, helping the new kids in class and keeping everyone motivated.

-- Staff Writer Julia Arenstam can be reached at 448-7636 or julia.arenstam@houmatoday.com. Follow her on Twitter at@gingerale214.