DEVILS LAKE, N.D. - With a kick and a punch, a Devils Lake man is now a taekwondo world champion.
But it's his hard work that has people recognizing him.
Forum News Service reporter, Kenneth Chase, tells us how he's hoping to break through barriers.
Whether it's sparring, or nunchucks, Alex Paulson is well-trained in taekwondo.
"I like awesome ATA,” said Taekwondo World Champion, Alex Paulson.
The 22-year-old black belt has been practicing for about 8 years.
With the help of his instructor, and his mom, he’s competing internationally against other kids with special abilities.
"We've always said that he's always had to work harder than the average joe,” said Alex’s mom, Paulette Paulson.
Alex has Down Syndrome, but that's not stopping him.
He's been to Sioux City, Sioux Falls and just got back from Little Rock, Arkansas where he bested people from countries including Chile and Brazil.
Alex recently won a world championship title. He's hoping to kick more barriers down and win more titles.
"Alex won world champion in Forms this year. Forms is a combination of patterns of blocks, kicks, strikes that he had to memorize. The pattern that he did was 81 moves long. Which is a really long form for a student,” said Taekwondo Instructor, Ryan Arndt.
His instructor is hoping this win will push his other students to work hard.
"I'm hoping that Alex is able to inspire others in the school to go on and compete and maybe earn a title themselves," Arndt said.
Alex's mom says having a child with Down Syndrome can make parents nervous at first.
"I knew he was going to do great things but as a mom and a dad you worry about what hurdles might be there,” said Paulette.
According to a study by Wiley Obstetrics and Gynecology - nearly 70 percent of pregnancies where a mother is expecting a child with Down Syndrome ends in abortion.
Paulette is hoping her son's success will cause moms to think twice.
"Having a child with down syndrome is one of the most wonderful experiences you can have. It is a challenge as all children are, but don't be afraid of it, because you will be blessed and so happy that you continued with your pregnancy,” said Paulette.
As for Alex?
He's got his sights set on a much bigger belt.
"Try hard. I am become championship ATA WWE championship,” said Alex.
"I will help him open any door that he wants. And if he wants to be WWE champion I guess that might just be our next adventure,” said Paulette.
A world class athlete blazing new trails through North Dakota.
"I am a championship medals,” said Alex.