Local 6-year-old boy selected for U.S. Martial Arts TeamBy Emily Beckett Published 4:54pm Friday, April 26, 2013
Six-year-old Colton Fortenberry may be the youngest martial arts student at Pro Force MMA in Clanton, but he is already making a name for himself in the sport.
Fortenberry has been selected as a member of the 2013 U.S. Martial Arts Team and will attend the World Martial Arts Games in Bregenz, Austria in September.
Although competitors must be at least 7 years old to compete, Fortenberry was permitted to try out for the U.S. team and will accompany his teammates—one of which is his stepfather, trainer and former World Martial Arts Games medalist Josh Hubbard—to Austria this summer for a chance to see some of the best martial arts athletes compete for the gold.
“He will be representing our country at the World Games in 2014,” said Katrina Hubbard, Fortenberry’s mother. “We’re really excited for him.”
Katrina said her son has done martial arts since he was 3.
“My husband is the one who has gotten him to this level,” she said of Josh. “Not everyone was born with the God-given talent he (Colton) has.”
In addition to the health benefits martial arts provides through physical activity, Katrina said Colton and others ages 6-13 in his martial arts class learn discipline, self-confidence, social skills, perseverance and other traits that help them in school and life outside of the studio.
“In here we teach them what self-respect is,” she said. “It makes them hold their standards high.”
Fortenberry has a gray belt in JuJitsu and a blue belt in Sombo, both of which are types of martial arts.
In Colton’s acceptance letter for the U.S. team, head coach Alberto Friedmann said divisions at the World Championships and other international games include adult and youth divisions, both black belt and under black belt, with point fighting, continuous fighting, traditional forms, open musical forms, traditional weapons forms, open musical weapons forms, self-defense, sport JuJitsu, and grappling.
“Since we are not yet an Olympic sport, we receive no government funding,” Friedmann said in the letter. “All costs of the event and travel are covered by our own sponsorship efforts. We are a non-for-profit 501c organization, and you should ensure that your sponsors know their donations are tax deductible.”
For information, sponsors can visit www.usmateam.org.