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Local Boy Kicks, Punches And Fights His Way To World Martial Arts Games

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“It’s really just gonna be an amazing experience… I’m still pinching myself you could say.”

Pinching himself because he can’t believe all his hard work is paying off.

14 year old Justin Roberds from Barryton is headed to the World Martial Arts Games in Dublin this Sunday.

He’s one of 75 kids competing for Team America, and the only one from Michigan.

Justin is competing for not his first, but second time.

His first world competition was in 2015 — and he came out with some hardware.

“These medals are all from 2015,” Justin said. “This is the one I won in kata, this is the one I won in continuous fighting and I got a gold in point sparring.”

It’s been 9 years in the making – starting when he was 5.

Martial arts is a family affair.

He used to admire his sister – three years older – practicing. She went to the World Martial Arts Games in 2013, and again in 2015 with Justin.

“I’m extremely proud,” said their dad, Sean. “I just can’t describe the words, if I ever thought my son or my daughter would learn that I would be chaperoning them to a world event one time, let alone on my third trip.”

Dad, Sean says martial arts makes children stronger – physically and mentally.

“6 months into having him in martial arts he was a totally different child I had no behavioral problems from 5 years of age on with either of my kids,” Sean said.

Justin says the whole process of competing is a whirlwind.

“It’s a blur you could say like I’m there I do it, then it’s just done without me even realizing,” said Justin.

And he’s looking forward to punching, kicking, and fighting his way through this competition.

“I’m so excited like you don’t know how excited I am, it’s just crazy,” Justin said.

Two world competitions down and he’s not stopping there.

He said his ultimate goal is to make it to the Olympics.

Michigan This Morning will have an update for you in a few weeks when Justin returns home to Northern Michigan.