Tyler Colville has found the missing piece to his puzzle by studying jujutsu.
Colville, who appears smaller than most seven year olds, is living life and enjoying himself since he has found what he excels at, mixed martial arts.
"I can't wait to go to a tournament," Tyler said with a big grin as his blue eyes sparkled in anticipation of that day. "I want to be a world champion in the sport."
Despite what you may think, the goal might not be that far.
Tyler has already over come many obstacles in his young life, as the 7-year old second grader at Bagdad Elementary is Autistic.
It didn't come easy at first for Tyler, as he is nervous in groups as well as around strangers, but it didn't take long for him to warm up.
"When I first started this I was crying a little," Tyler said. "Now I like everything."
And his love for the class is not only helping him excel, but has captured the heart of his instructor Reggie Toussaint, the instructor at Xtreme MMA in Milton.
"We are both learning," Toussaint said. "At first I didn't think he was paying attention to me in class as he was rolling his belt while I was talking.
"Then I asked him what I said and he repeated everything back to me."
While Tyler may seem distracted, it is his way of controlling his autism.
"He is self stimulating his brain by focusing on his belt, but he is paying attention at the same time," said Tyler's mom Danielle. "I was so afraid about the complex moves and all the instruction, but Reggie has broken it down into smaller parts and Tyler has really caught on quick."
Despite Tyler's accomplishments, it does not keep Danielle or Craig (Tyler's father) from worrying about him.
"We didn't really think anything was wrong with him until one day he crawled up and put his arms on the grill and was just looking at us,"
Danielle recalled. "He was literally cooking his little arms in front of us and didn't react.
"Most kids or adults would just feel the heat and move away, but Tyler doesn't feel any pain."
While Tyler was diagnosed with three of the five qualifying factors, it was hard to accept that Tyler was autistic in the beginning.
"I knew something was wrong, but my husband didn't think so because Tyler was the first to sit up, crawl, and say DaDa," Danielle said. "But after that incident with the grill we went to see what was going on."
Tyler, who has a twin brother Justin, enjoys his world.
While Justin and the other kids are playing football, Tyler goes to practice with Toussaint, a world karate champion from the 1970's to 1990's.
"His brother or sister will ask him what he learned or to show them a move he won't do it," Danielle said. "But he will always ask me if it is time to go fight.
"This has really brought him out of his shell and he is now making eye contact a lot more."
Also coming out of his shell is Toussaint.
"I would love to have a classroom full of students like Tyler," Toussaint said. "He not might be able to excel like the other, but he gives you 100 percent all the time.
"I would rather have a student give me 100 percent instead of one who give little effort and has a lot of success."
Kick it into high gear
Sep 28, 2012 at 12:01 AM Sep 28, 2012 at 10:06 AM