Thorsby man wins gold medals at Martial Arts gamesBy Emily Beckett Published 5:50pm Wednesday, August 22, 2012
When Josh Hubbard, 22, of Thorsby heard about tryouts for the World Martial Arts Games in Austria, he knew he wanted to earn a spot on the United States team.
Hubbard got his spot among 48 athletes from the U.S. who competed Aug. 11 and 12 at the games.
As the Summer Olympic Games in London were drawing to a close, Hubbard competed at the highest level in his sport since he started at age 6.
And like U.S. Olympian Michael Phelps, Hubbard walked away with new hardware.
Hubbard won three gold medals in the grapple strike, sport jiujitsu and gi jiujitsu events.
“It was very special,” he said. “I had so much support. The medals felt more like souvenirs, and the wins felt like they were for all my supporters, trainers and partners.”
Hubbard competed in the 64-kilo-and-under adult weight class, and although the grapple strike division was new for him, it seemed to showcase his strengths well.
As he walked onto the mat for his events, Hubbard said he felt at home.
As he walked off the mats a champion, he said his teammates – all wearing Team USA shirts – were one of the highlights of his experience.
“I realized it wasn’t just me,” Hubbard said. “It was a lot of people. That’s your biggest success right there – who you have to train with.”
Hubbard also credited his coaches, Tommy Denson, Alberto Freeman and Anthony Griggs; Bryan Smith, jiujitsu instructor of Full Blast Dojo; Clay Beck, boxing coach; training partners; and many family and friends for helping him along the way.
“It’s going to be hard to beat,” Hubbard said of the games. “My birthday party is going to have to be pretty insane to beat that one.”
Hubbard will be signing autographs Saturday, Aug. 25 at Strike Hard 19 at the Killer Buzz Arena in Tuscaloosa, beginning at 7 p.m.