Kicks, Flips and Jabs

Junior Morgan Gibson practices karate in Mineola.


Morgan Gibson performing a roundhouse kick. He has been performing martial arts for six years. Photo courtesy of Morgan Gibson

His form is flawless, his stance impeccable. A well placed punch connects with an exercise bag, and again, and again, a flurry of calculated and powerful strikes, trained to perfection. To some, it may look like simple attacks, but each strike is the result of years of study and training.

Junior Morgan Gibson is a red belt at Texas Tang Soo Do Academy in Mineola. He has been practicing karate for six years and cites his participation in the program as an important point of growth and development both physically and emotionally.

“I’ve been more driven,” Gibson said. “I’ve been able to do my work better, more clearly. I’ve had greater ability because I have discipline. All of that has help me grown.”

Gibson began training in junior high as a form of self defense after an unfortunate encounter with a school bully. Though he has not been attacked since, he stayed in the program for the discipline and improvement it brought on.

“I remember [the attack] vividly,” Gibson said. “He pushed me over and started hitting me. It wasn’t fun, I’ll tell you that. It was humiliating, and it drove me to learn to be better and stronger, and it drove me toward karate.”

Though Gibson has been practicing martial arts for six years, he has only been at his current studio for a few years. He was forced to change studios after his initial studio shut down.

“There were no other places to go so I couldn’t continue anything that I learned,” Gibson said. “My grades had suffered as well. I found a new studio, and it got better after that. I restarted from the beginning and I worked my way up.”

Participating in martial arts is a predominately team-oriented activity. Martial artists work together to give each other tips and spar so that they may all improve together.

“We’re all like a big family,” Gibson said. “We all work together to accomplish goals, to be greater, and to learn more forms.”