Despite being born with cerebral palsy, Justin has been pursuing his passion and training in the martial arts over the past 25 years. Justin holds a 1st dan black belt in Jidokwan and 1st dan black belt in Kukkiwon Taekwondo, competes as part of the USA Para Taekwondo Team team, is a trainee instructor and leader for the adaptive martial arts, and holds competition titles in Poomsae and Weapons. As of 2018, he is ranked #1 in his division in the USA and the world and earned two gold medals in his US Open debut and the Iowa State Championships.
He trains 5-6 days per week, focusing on strengthening and persevering through his disability. He dedicates the majority of his time on a daily basis to improving his skills and develop ways to adapt the martial arts for himself and others. Justins to use his experience to develop a program to assist others of all abilities in their competitive endeavors, primarily focusing on para taekwondo athletes. However, due to the nature of his disease, he is aware this could change at any time.
WHAT’S SOMETHING BRAVE OR WILD YOU’VE DONE IN YOUR LIFE?
Doing TKD. I never thought I'd be representing the USA. Last year I reached out to the head coach of USA TDK, and asked if I could be on the team. He said I was the first person to reach out to him personally. He invited me to Vegas to try out, and ever since then he calls me his "Golden Guy." I am the first athlete in my division because I created it.
WHAT MAKES YOU UNIQUE?
I hate talking about myself, but basically I believe that people with disabilities are something too. We are not nothing. So many don't have a voice and are afraid to do stuff. TKD is about defending yourself, but it's also about the art. It's about how you live your life everyday. It taught me how to be the person I am today. People have told me I'm an inspiration to all people, not just people with disabilities. TKD gave that to me. I never saw myself as inspiring, but over the years, I'm starting to. I believe in God and he gave me this talent to show people what we can do, and not to be afraid to do it. TKD is known by the high-kicks, but I'm in a walker and I can't do a high kick! To me, my master is giving me something better that I can do, which is to inspire others.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE?
Overall, I like to dress up. I think I have a lot of good, stylish clothes. I was raised in a family who likes fashion, especially my brother (who works in fashion) and my mom. My style is usually jeans, nice shirt, and jacket, but I love to wear Kapows because I like to be comfortable. Ever since I got a pair, they're my favorite.
TELL US ABOUT ONE OF YOUR FAVOURITE THINGS AND WHY YOU VALUE IT?
Superheroes! I like anything superheroes. They make you go into a different world, and I read the comics, watch the movies, anything. I'm writing a superhero book right now that has a superhero with disability!
FAVOURITE QUOTE OR MOTTO:
Actually, I have two. One is from Bruce Lee "Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself." And "my ability is stronger than my disability."
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE PAIR OF KAPOW MEGGINGS?
That's hard! Right now I have 3 pairs, but my most recent were the Red Leader because I can do anything with them. Purple is my favorite color, so I'd love to see a purple pair soon :)
I LOVE Kapow Meggings. You guys are amazing and feel like family. You're 1 of my only 2 sponsors, and I feel like you've been a really important part of my journey. Thank you so much!