TMSG: 57-year old Lansing-area man holds 16 world titles for martial arts

Tell Me Something Good

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — At 57-year old, Harris Edwards, Jr. is a 9th-degree black belt Grand Master in the art of Go-Ti.

“I got into martial arts mainly for that reason, to be able to defend myself on the streets of Detroit.”

As if that wasn’t impressive enough, he also holds 16 world titles with Team USA. Most recently, he won two gold medals in Orlando, Florida in the 2021 World Karate Commission World Championships. Edwards says this is a way of life for him that started when he was just 13-years old, after seeing his uncle and cousin in action.

Edwards specializes in the art of Go-Ti which is basically kickboxing and says, “that particular style taught me everything from stand up to ground. So we spent a lot of time wrestling, working on grabbing techniques, sweeping techniques, applicable techniques that would work on the street.”

Since then, Edwards has trained four or five days every week for his entire martial arts career, which spans more than four decades.

But for most of that career, he wasn’t even competing on the world stage. He was training, perfecting his craft, and teaching other people, like his two sons. His eldest son, 27-year old Harris Edwards, III, is a 6-time world champion for Team USA and 23-year old Austin Edwards is a 2-time world champion for Team USA.

“Definitely an inspiration,” said 27-year old Harris. “One word. Leader. He leads by example and that’s really the best coach and the best leader in life is someone that can tell you, but they can also show you.”

“A great role model to look up to my whole life,” said Austin. “That’s someone who you strive to be. What he’s accomplished, what he’s done through his career and his life. He’s (almost) 58 and still moving that fast and still doing what he loves so that’s what I want to do at that age as well.”

Martial arts was never something that was pushed on his sons, but Edwards says they definitely grew to love the sport.

“If they pick it up then fantastic, but I knew that it offered so much mental discipline that would help them become better academically in school, it would help them become better athletes if they chose to do other sports,” said Edwards.

As for what’s next for this Grand Master, Edwards says this might have been his last year competing. He’s had his fair share of injuries and surgeries and wants to go out on top.

“I’m soon to be 58-years old so it’s been a long road and a fun road.”

And it’s a road Edwards hopes other people will travel to reach their own destinations and goals, no matter their age or size.

“I’m a firm believer in finding that passion and whatever that passion is stick to it, do it all the way. So, I’ll never stop doing martial arts.”

Edwards currently runs the Go-Ti School of Combative Arts LLC from his basement in Lansing and plans to continue teaching and traveling all over the world educating and inspiring others.

Watch Grand Master Harris Edwards, Jr. in action in this week’s “Tell Me Something Good” report above.

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