Local tae kwon do student hits jackpot at national karate event
Jordan Boudreaux-Lesher continues to make a name for himself in tae kwon do.
At the recent Pro-Am sport karate national competition, Jordan, who is 9, was named fifth in the nation in the 9-10 age division.
Jordan, a fourth-grader at Tonganoxie Elementary School, is the son of Julie and Donald Gorham, Tonganoxie, and Keith Lesher, Lawrence.
Jordan started taking tae kwon do lessons when he was 4, training in Tonganoxie with Rex Hutton. Now he trains in Basehor with Mike Guthrie.
The young tae kwon do student competes in five categories -- traditional forms, traditional weapons, creative forms, creative weapons and sparring.
He also received a national first-place ranking, for his age category, in creative weapons.
Jordan's grandfather, Jules Boudreaux, Tonganoxie, said that in the creative weapons category, "You create your own movements and your own use of the weapons."
Boudreaux said Jordan competed with nunchaku and a bo staff. His prize for the national creative weapons win was a samurai sword.
Jordan said that on evenings that he doesn't have tae kwon lessons, he still works on the sport.
Usually, he said, he practices about an hour a day -- after he finishes his homework -- in the basement of his grandparents' house, where he has mats to work on.
"We videotape his practices so he can look at it and see what he actually does wrong, or does right," Boudreaux said.
And, Jordan works on strength training by lifting small weights.
The national fifth-place win completes a year in which Jordan traveled to more than a dozen meets in cities throughout the Midwest. At most of those meets he was accompanied by Boudreaux and his father, Keith Lesher.
"We did the whole circuit this year," Keith Lesher said. "It was quite challenging to get to all those different cities -- it was pretty expensive but it was well worth it."
His son's ability continues to be impressive, Lesher said.
"Since we've been doing these tournaments he's just raised his level of training," Lesher said. "His intensity and everything just started coming together for him. He's always been pretty good, but now every time we think he's at the peak for his age, you know he just does something to blow us away."
Jordan said he's usually not as tall as his competitors.
"Everybody is a head and a half taller than me," Jordan said. "Sometimes that is a disadvantage and sometimes it's an advantage."
And Jordan, who said that when he grows up he wants to be in the Marines, said he plans to continue working and practicing.
"I need to improve on speed," Jordan said.
It's that kind of dedication that has brought Jordan so much success, Lesher said.
"It takes a lot of discipline and a lot of strong mental values to accomplish those things that he's done," Lesher said.