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West Fargo siblings kick their way to podium with 6 combined world taekwondo titles

West Fargo siblings Jacob and Marian Guerrero brought home six world titles from the American Taekwondo Association (ATA) Martial Arts World Championships in Phoenix a couple weeks ago.

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West Fargo brother and sister Jacob and Marian Guerrero brought home six combined world titles from the ATA Martial Arts World Championships in Phoenix. Submitted photo

WEST FARGO — When other kids their age were at the pool taking full advantage of summer break, Marian and Jacob Guerrero were at home, training for a world championship. At 8 and 12 years old, the siblings follow a rigid training schedule.

Jacob, who will be a sixth-grader at Sacred Heart Middle School, had two world taekwondo titles to defend, and spent significant time this summer getting ready to do so.

“Leading up to Worlds, I would start in the morning with a cardio and strength workout and then we would practice the events, which can take up to one hour per event,” said Jacob, a third-degree black belt. “And in the evening, we would go to class.”

Jacob and Marian, who live in West Fargo, sacrificed time with friends and other activities to pursue gold, but the reward was well worth it. Marian was crowned champion in four events, and Jacob in two at the American Taekwondo Association (ATA) Martial Arts World Championships in Phoenix, held July 28-Aug. 1.

Jacob took home first place in traditional weapons after a tiebreaker with the top-ranked martial artist in the event, and successfully defended his world title in traditional forms. He was ranked third in the world in traditional weapons for his age division entering the tournament and No. 1 in traditional forms. ATA tournaments consist of eight events.

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Jacob Guerrero, 12, of West Fargo, took home two world titles in traditional forms and traditional weapons at the ATA Martial Arts World Championships in Phoenix a couple weeks ago. Submitted photo

“It felt very good. I felt the fruits of our sacrifices and our hard work,” said Jacob, who won his first two world titles in traditional forms and creative forms in 2019.

Eight-year-old Marian, a second-degree black belt, entered the Tournament of Champions as the top seed in all four of her events. She left no doubt as to who was No. 1, bringing home world championships in traditional forms, traditional weapons, creative forms and extreme forms.

In a regular season, the top 10 martial artists around the world from each division, along with the district champions, get to compete at the Tournament of Champions for the elite title of world champion. Marian is an eight-time district champ, while Jacob is a 13-time district champion in taekwondo.

“It was a lot of hours spent training in the couple months leading up to the World Championships,” said Dubert Guerrero, Jacob and Marian’s dad. “Making sure that they're physically and mentally prepared for it. They prayed a lot, too. There’s a lot of sacrifice and things they had to give up in the summer.”

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Marian Guerrero, 8, of West Fargo, brought home four world titles from the ATA Martial Arts World Championships in Phoenix a couple weeks ago. Submitted photo

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Jacob has dedicated significant time to the sport for more than half his life. He was 4 years old and in soccer at the time when his parents introduced him to the form of martial arts because he wanted to try something new.

“In the beginning we were maybe just doing it for an after-school activity,” Anne said. “But they got really into it.”

Anne and Dubert are also second-degree black belts, thanks to Jacob. They picked up the sport after Jacob, then Marian, joined, for physical activity and to help their kids train at home. It’s a family affair in the Guerrero household. Their youngest son, 4-year-old David, also does taekwondo.

“It’s really a lifestyle that they just build confidence and some character by doing taekwondo,” Dubert said.

Like many other facets, that lifestyle evolved during the pandemic. All three Guerrero children were homeschooled last academic year. With the added time at home, Jacob and Marian, who also does gymnastics at TNT Kid’s Fitness and Gymnastics, stepped up their training. They both competed with a new traditional form that was learned over the COVID year.

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Soon-to-be third-grader and second-degree black belt Marian Guerrero of West Fargo won four world titles at the ATA Martial Arts World Championships in Phoenix a couple weeks ago. Submitted photo

“They do like to push each other. Sometimes when we practice at home they have some comments for each other; like, Jacob will tell Marian to ‘do her side kick like this,’ and Marian will tell Jacob ‘your hand was down in this one.’ And they do joke around sometimes if one loses and the other one wins,” Anne said with a laugh.

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While Jacob will enter middle school at Sacred Heart, Marian, who will be a third-grader, opted to be homeschooled for the upcoming year. With a heavy schedule of gymnastics and taekwondo training, her parents agreed.

The Guerreros attend class at Beyer’s ATA Martial Arts in West Fargo — Jacob and Marian going daily. The family has trained with owner Michael Beyer, a seventh-degree black belt, for almost eight years.

The siblings have dominated on the world stage, but Dubert said there’s still plenty for Marian and Jacob to learn in taekwondo.

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Jacob Guerrero, an incoming sixth-grader at Sacred Heart Middle School, is a four-time ATA Martial Arts world champion. Submitted photo

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