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A dream come true: Rankin Taekwondo Academy opens

Justin Rankin has been working towards this for nearly 30 years
Published: Nov. 13, 2020 at 10:30 AM EST
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ESCANABA, Mich. (WLUC) - One man in Delta County has been chasing a dream for nearly 30 years and now it’s all coming together. All his life, Justin Rankin was told “no.”

“They’re like ‘oh no, no, no, he can’t do it because we don’t have any equipment to adapt for him,’” said Justin Rankin, owner and head instructor at Rankin Taekwondo Academy.

Even as a young kid, he didn’t let other people’s opinions influence him.

“If you want to do anything, you just have to believe in yourself and just keep going. Don’t let anyone stop you,” said Rankin.

After being told by several taekwondo studios he was not welcome, one man gave Rankin a chance. Today, he is a fourth-degree black belt, has competed internationally and just moved his taekwondo academy out of his house and into a studio.

“It’s a very good place to learn taekwondo and to work on your communication skills and make new friends,” said Morgan Gray, a student at Rankin Taekwondo Academy.

Students describe the “Rankin Taekwondo Academy” as a family. In class, Rankin reinforces that, passing along his values, perseverance, and his famous saying, ‘My ability is stronger than my disability.’

“It means your skill is stronger than your disability,” said Rankin.

Rankin Taekwondo Academy was created to be a safe place welcoming all age groups and not turning anyone away.

“These kids have this opportunity and it’s a strict rule here that there is no bullying and no harsh criticisms,” said Jennifer Nail, secretary at Rankin Taekwondo Academy and Rankin’s fiancé.

Rankin hopes to inspire others to chase their dreams and not let anything stop them.

“If you’re sitting on the couch right now feeling sorry for yourself, don’t. If I can do it, so can you,” said Rankin.

And always remember, your ability is stronger than any disability.

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