By: Julie Montanaro
June 9, 2017
"Introducing Mr. King …”
A nine year old just earned his black belt in taekwondo. It's his journey to the black belt that's getting the most applause.
Toby King did it with a prosthetic leg.
He isn't letting that stop him from breaking boards and pursuing his dreams.
Toby King is hooked on stances, strikes, and kicks.
The fourth grader just earned his black belt.
"You just have to focus and if you focus, you can do anything," King said.
We watched as Toby practiced. His instructors at Killearn Lakes Taekwondo put him through a series of forms and tests.
"Not everybody gets to black belt ... and especially with Toby, I mean ... He's a first," instructor Rebecca Sisley said. “Since Toby has started, he’s done nothing but progress. He’s had like a few setbacks like every student has, but he’s always come back stronger and better.”
Toby did all of this on a prosthetic leg - the 12th leg of his life.
"Just because you have a limb difference, doesn't mean you can't do something that nobody else can," King said as he sat cross legged on the mat.
Toby was born without one of his lower leg bones. It’s a condition called Fibular Hemimelia. He got his first prosthetic leg at just 13 months old.
His mom fights back tears recalling those first doses of doubt.
"We were told when Toby was born that we .. that he may never be able to walk or run like other children," Kaley King said. "They were so wrong,” she said with a laugh, “He'll show them."
“Him accomplishing something like this … is a true testimony that anything is possible,” she said.
Toby earned his black belt in just two years.
He's sharing his story in hopes of inspiring other children with limb loss to break stereotypes and take a bow.
Instructors at Killearn Lakes Taekwondo aren't sure if Toby is the “first” child with a prosthetic leg to earn a black belt here in Tallahassee. If not , they say, he's certainly one of a select few.