LUFKIN, TX (KTRE)- One group of East Texas kids are succeeding at life, thanks to a martial arts program.
Some of these young people may be economically disadvantaged. Others need discipline in their lives.
The program is not about the kicking and punching, but the lessons learned.
Rakeem Rhodes,17, has been training with Grand Master Scott for two months.
He's already won three first place national titles.
"It builds character and like I guess, I'm doing it because I like it but it mostly gives me time to do stuff after school," said Rhodes, who says the program also helps him stay focused. "I got all A's and B's now. I brought them all up."
He leaves training with confidence, and motivation to succeed.
"To have, like, a father figure that I can look up to, that helps me, like a second dad," said Rhodes.
Scott says training is much more than learning proper fighting techniques. "This gives them an opportunity to belong to something positive as opposed to gang violence, clicks, anything else that they may or may not be doing."
These kids look forward to the challenge.
"It helps us push ourselves," said 11-year-old Ja'Kla Wortham.
"I'm more confident and like, I can do more things and I know that if I put my mind to it, I'll be able to do things," said D'Mariel Jones, 11-years-old.
"I feel great when I do it," said Kodi West, also 11.
They say it prepares them for whatever life brings.
"It can help you in any situation if you're in trouble," said Jones.
It's also helped several of these young competitors win national titles, something they've achieved through hard work, practice, and dedication.
Edward Scott is inviting kids of all ages to train for free, at the Brandon Community Center. Kids can join practices on Mondays and Wednesdays from five to seven p.m. You can contact Grand Master Scott by phone at 832-692-6428 or via email at email@example.com.