Through eight years of competing in Kung Fu, Ty Roberts had never competed in the AAU Junior Olympic Games until this year.
And after competing in the Games for the first time this past July, the Ellison sophomore still doesn’t know what it’s like to lose a match at one.
Roberts competed in, and won, seven events in Des Moines, Iowa, including the Southern Forms, Northern Forms, Single Traditional Weapons, short and long, Traditional Double/Flexible Weapons and Continuous Sparring events.
“It was fun,” Roberts said of his impressive haul at his first Junior Olympic Games, “but I know I’ve still got to work and get better.”
Roberts is a sixth degree black belt.
He first began competing when his mother and sister went to sign up for a kickboxing class and saw a Kung Fu class was also available.
Roberts signed up and now has reached the highest belt he can reach at his school before taking his master’s test.
In Des Moines, Roberts not only competed in events like Sparring and Forms but also competed with weapons like the spear and the double daggers.
Roberts also competed with a sword but said he favors the spear and the double daggers.
“I’m really good at flowering,” he said of the spear. “So when I’m flowering the spear it’s like, ‘whoosh, whoosh,’ and it’s really good.”
Of course, the double daggers, and the adrenaline that comes with it, has its appeal also.
“When I’m stretching in class, I can’t get into the splits,” Roberts said. “But always during that form at the end you jump into the splits.
“And I always get a perfect split then.”
Now Roberts is focused on his master’s test, which he hopes to take next year.
And while he has a boatload of gold medals to his name after competing in Des Moines, Roberts hasn’t lost focus of the next challenge at hand.
“I’m just training, getting better every day and training for my master’s,” he said.