MERIDIAN, Idaho — Walk in to the Meridian Police Department's training center on almost any given weekday, and what you see might surprise you: elementary-aged kids that may be small in build, but are mighty in their strength and knowledge to defend with their dedication to the art of Judo.
Members of the Idaho Martial Arts Institute have spent months training for the National and International 2019 Junior Olympics in Anaheim, California.
10-year-old Scout Sim ranked second in the past, but will return in two weeks in hopes of nabbing the gold.
"Considering how awesome and amazing I felt when I won second, I know I'm just gonna feel blown away if I take gold because that's what I've been working towards for the last three years," said Sim.
Deputy Chief Tracy Basterrechea, a Sensei with the group, and others volunteer their time several days per week to help the kids prepare for the highly anticipated competition on June 28.
"That's gonna be a tough group but [Sim] has a huge, huge opportunity to win there," said Basterrechea.
Win or lose, though, he said the most important lessons to remember are respect and resilience.
"The good judo players are the most respectful judo players," said Basterrechea.
Visit their website to learn more about the Idaho Martial Arts Institute.