Danny and Alan Arau used to be quiet and shy. Their mother, Amanda, thought introducing martial arts into her sons' lives would up their confidence. It did. The boys wanted more. So they started mixed martial arts. It became love at first fight.
"It's just my life," said Danny. "My passion. I'd like to make a career of it. My dream is to be in the UFC."
"At the beginning, I was very, very afraid. Now, I am more confident," said Amanda.
Her sons started training in martial arts at ages four and six. Danny is 13 and Alan is 11 now. Both have had cage fights. Too young?
"That's just an opinion," Alan quickly answered.
Danny fought a 20-year-old in his first cage fight and won. Alan does well inside the cage, too.
"I almost knocked my opponent out," said Alan. "He was stumbling."
The brothers train at San Antonio's Action MMA.
The state of Texas does not sanction cage fights for anyone under 18. However, the kids can still train.
They can also have exhibitions or sparring against other gyms inside a cage. The matches are called smokers.
"It's a three-minute fight," said Action MMA trainer Marcel Lumakang. "Everything goes. Just like an actual pro MMA."
The difference is smoker participants wear safety gear from head to toe. The bouts are still physically demanding.
"The bad thing about it. People think it's a human cockfight when you see little kids like these guys doing it," said Lumakang.
"I have people always telling me that it's very dangerous," said Amanda.
While she respects their view, she and her husband stand by their choice to let their sons participate in cage fights.
"MMA is the safest sport out there," said Lumakang. "I'll put money on it."
He may be on to something. According to most sports injury statistics for kids, football and basketball are the sports where youngsters get the most injuries.
Some sports injury data even put skateboarding as a high injury activity for kids.
There isn't a large amount of analysis on children who compete in the aggressive sport. Its popularity has only started to skyrocket in the past few years.