Horsley to represent Alabama at National State Games

Published 4:09 pm Monday, July 8, 2013

By DREW GRANTHUM / Sports Writer

PELHAM — At age nine, Jojuan Horsley is achieving things that many adults dream of doing. He has yet to hit double-digits in age, but is already and second degree black belt in taekwondo.

After his performance at the Alabama State Games, where he won a silver medal in forms, the rising Thompson Intermediate student received a letter from state Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, for his performance on the statewide level. He was also invited to represent Alabama at the National State Games in Hershey, Penn., on Aug. 3.

His accolades are a result of talent, hard work and an unusual inspiration. His grandmother, Susan Crotzer, said when Jojuan was a small child, he would sit with her husband and watch a particular television show that gave him his start.

“He said he wanted to be like Walker, Texas Ranger,” she said.

One day, while driving through Pelham, Susan said she saw a sign for Impact Martial Arts. She took him once, and he was hooked.

“He started the month he turned 5,” she said. “He got his black belt when he turned 7, and got his second black belt (as he) just turned 9.”

In addition to tournaments around the area, Jojuan participates in the St. Jude Kick-a-thon, which allows martial arts studios the opportunity to raise money for the children’s hospital in Memphis. Still, as many events as he has been in, nothing quite tops getting to represent his state on a national level.

“(It’s) about the biggest tournament he’s ever been to,” Crotzer said.

Crotzer said Jojuan’s success was due in part to his hard work and talent, but also to Impact’s staff.

“I watch Karen and instructors practice what thy (teach) inside and outside,” she said. “They live the five tenants of Taekwondo. It encourages me to be more like them.”

Jojuan’s accomplished a great deal in a short amount of time, but Crotzer said he plans to stay with Taekwondo for a long time to come.

“He wants to have his own Taekwondo school,” she said. “He mainly wants to be an engineer in addition to owning his own Taekwondo school.”