In May, James Franklin of Coon Rapids competed in the Asian Pacific Masters Games in South Korea. He is the owner of Minnesota Star Martial Arts located off of Coon Rapids Boulevard. He traveled to South Korea as a member of the USA Masters Team competing in Taekwondo.
“I am recently a seventh degree black belt, and that would make me a grand master,” Franklin said.
It's a title he earned while in Seoul at Yongin University, where he reunited with his first instructor, professor and grand master, Jung Heon Kim.
Grand Master Kim had taught a young Franklin here in Minnesota more than 20 years ago.
"It was the top of my mountain, you know, to be able to be there with him, with my original instructor, and to have him award me that," Franklin said.
While competing in the Masters Games, Franklin struck gold.
"It's always a thrill to be on the podium wherever you are,” Franklin said. “There’s nothing that can beat that."
Master Miranda Corwin, who was coached by Franklin in Coon Rapids, was also a member of the USA Masters Team in South Korea and won a gold medal.
"She went out there and fought confidently,” Franklin said. “And I was very proud of her.”
Back home at Minnesota Star Martial Arts, Franklin considers his options of either retiring or continuing to compete.
"As I'm moving forward and looking at the competitions down the road I’m thinking, well, maybe."