Name: Evan Fong
School: Toby Johnson Middle School
Accomplishment: International success as a martial artist
Key to awesomeness: Discipline and ambition
Look out, Jaden Smith: The next real Karate Kid might just be Evan Fong.
Fong, 12, started to pick up martial arts at age 8 and had already earned a black belt by age 11. He's part of the National Black Belt League, an organization that holds competitions with participants from around the globe.
“It’s been a pretty amazing journey,” Fong said. “There’s a lot of things I had to learn over the years to get where I am now.”
At last year's competition—held fortuitously in Sacramento—Fong won first place in his age division, performing a mixture of traditional martial arts and extreme martial arts, a fairly new sport.
“I just like completing or taking on new challenges that come, really,” Fong said.
Fong's mother, Hope Fong, said that she is amazed at everything he has accomplished in a short time. “The physical abilities that he can do, not too many kids at his age level can do,” she said. "We're very proud."
Hope Fong also said that the discipline of martial arts has helped her son, who's taking honors classes at Toby Johnson Middle School, succeed in school and other areas.
Since his last competition, Fong has taken a break from karate to focus on a new challenge: middle school wrestling. But he says he'll always be a martial artist.
“It’s really exciting knowing that you get to do something not most folks are able to do, competing at the international level with other great people from all over the world,” he said.