Midstate boy overcoming physical struggles to practice martial arts

Carlisle/West Shore

CAMP HILL, Pa. (WHTM) — Eleven-year-old FJ Garcia has had a feeding tube in his stomach for the past several years. Although it has been an obstacle for him before, he’s looking to show everyone he is just as capable as anyone else.

Monday was a superhero camp at Tiger Rock Martial Arts of Central Pennsylvania, where FJ has been taking classes and competing for the past two years.

“He comes to work and he really inspires the other kids around him,” school owner Brandon Keeton said.

FJ practices with the feeding tube he’s had for four years.

“He started off when he was little with weight issues, but it wasn’t really much of a concern until he kept getting older but not really growing,” said Dava Garcia, FJ’s mother.

When he turned six, the issue couldn’t be ignored, so doctors installed the tube to help his body receive nutrients.

“Now, he’s doing a little bit better with it and we just push him to be a normal 11-year-old,” Dava said.

Because martial arts is a contact sport, FJ had to receive approval from his doctors and wears a red pad around his stomach for protection.

Despite those hurdles, FJ is determined to improve. “I’m going to keep on taking classes and show people I’m just as capable as they are,” he said.

He is currently practicing for districts in Florida summer and hopes to eventually become a black belt.

“It’s an amazing feeling because we want him to be like any other child and we want to be able to let him do what he wants to do with no limitations,” Dava said.

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