62-year-old black belt in kung fu, now a two-time world champion

Martial artist Alexander Stick has been honing his martial arts skills for more than three decades.

“(I) originally trained in Philadelphia with Grandmaster (Paul) Sun, he’s a world-renowned guy. I had to beg him to take me on as a student, and he did 35 years ago. I guess he saw something in me,” Stick said.

Stick has a black belt in jujitsu and Shaolin kung fu, becoming a local instructor in Humboldt.

And now, at 62, he is a hometown champion. Stick is now a two-time Martial Arts World Champion.

Stick has medals from competitions across the nation, including his recent international win in Toronto.

He is also the North American Sports Karate Association champion, with the ring to prove it.

“The competitions are sort of a thin slice of martial arts practice. Most people don’t do it. Very few do because it’s very stressful. But the main thing I keep in mind—it’s sort of a mantra—is that whatever I do, I want to go out and do it better than the time before.”

That mantra is evoked in Stick’s training. Outside of basic conditioning, Stick works out in a variety of ways.

From basic forms such as his praying mantis form. To working with weapons from a broad-sword—to working nunchucks.

He even trains his hands for the iron palm, working on keeping them strong. This win is not only a win for Stick himself, but a win for Humboldt County too.

“I love this community, it’s my home. For me, there’s so much talent here, and we are so isolated, so maybe some people may not realize how good they are. Hopefully, it encourages some other people with various talents,” Stick said. “Go out and take on the world. Take a shot at the big time. Just because we’re up here doesn’t mean you can’t interact and do stuff out there too. Don’t get too up here on the lost coast and forget about everything.”

And this award comes near the end of Stick’s martial arts career. However, he is not the only champion; his entire class is.

“They share it with me. Because everything—it’s like a rising tide raises all boats. Any success that I have or that they have, we all share. It raises all of us up. It’s a communal thing, rather than being all about me. I’ve been really happy to see them,” Stick said.

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