Wasco is one of Kern County's smaller communities but one where family is everything. One look inside the Tigers Taekwondo Studio will show as much.
"Once you're in here it's no longer my mom," said 19 year old Brian Solorio. "She's my instructor and coach. Same thing with my brother and my dad."
During the group's Tuesday night practice session Brian looked like any other fighter. The only difference was that his mom and brother are the coaches while his dad is the owner of the gym. "I do see my family as a team," he said. "He (his dad) puts in, I put in my part and it's one big effort."
Working in the fields Brian's dad Rigo knows all about effort. He came from Mexico chasing the American dream and opened the gym with the hope of leaving a lasting imprint on the Wasco community. More than just teaching kids how to kick and fight, Rigo wants them to be "good citizens."
Along the way he's helped create something special. "Mexico chooses one individual from the United States from every weight division," said Alex Solorio, Brian's coach. Thanks to his dual citizenship, Brian was eligible to compete for a chance to go to Mexican nationals. Not only did he earn a spot, the only American in his weight class, he also won the gold medal in the 18-22 age group and is still the talk of Mexico.
— Eunice Rendón (@eunicerendon) July 4, 2016
His father said everyone was shocked that a someone from the USA could come and be number one in Mexico for a sport that's as big as Taekwondo.
Since winning the gold earlier this month, Brian has ramped up his training as his goals have changed. The win earned him an invitation to compete for a spot on the Mexican national team but says if given the option, he's rather represent the United States, "in Olympics 2020. That's my dream and I plan on accomplishing that," he said.
But even if he falls short of his Olympic aspirations he says he feels accomplished with the work his family is doing and plans on doing his part to maybe inspire others in the community that anything is possible. "This sport allows you to go out and see the world with international tournaments," he said. "It's a great thing...to allow people to visualize what's out there."
Taekwondo is slowly becoming an NCAA sport, Brian wants to leave a legacy just like his father. He's a student at CSU Bakersfield and says it's his goal to get a program up and running in the near future.
Like Stephen Hicks on Facebook-https://www.facebook.com/StephenHicks23ABC
Follow him on Twitter- https://twitter.com/stephenhicks23