By Boice Lydell
NBL RatingsSKIL RatingsStoriesCover StoryWorld ChampionNationalsRegionalsFormsWeaponsSD & BreakingSparringContinuousTeamsTournament Listings
photos by Brandon Bertsch
Date of birth: November 17, 1989
Age: 19
Place of birth: Pamona, California, USA
Residence: Parker, Colorado, USA
Marital status: Single
Ethnic origin: Greek, Turkish, English, German
Style: Tae Kwon Do
School: Unison Karate
Instructor: Steve Amaro
Year started in martial arts: 1994
Year received black belt: 1999
Team: Mike Kelly’s Team Pro-Rank
Favorite technique: Any tricking techniques
First national win: 2001 Las Vegas Legacy
Sport karate titles:
2008 - Men’s creative forms world champion
2008 - Men’s choreographed musical forms world champion world champion
2008 - Adult open musical forms world champion
2007 - Adult hard choreographed musical forms world champion
2007 - Men’s hard creative forms world champion
2006 - Junior hard open musical forms world champion
2006 - Junior hard open musical weapons world champion
2005 - 15-17 hard creative weapons world champion
2003 - 15-17 hard choreographed musical forms world champion
2002 - 12-14 hard choreographed musical forms world champion
2002 - 12-14 Korean forms world champion
2002 - 12-14 hard creative weapons world champion
2001 - 11 and under choreographed musical forms world champion
2001 - 11 and under Korean forms world champion
2001 - 11 and under hard creative weapons world champion
2001 - Team forms world champion
2001 - Junior flyweight continuous sparring world champion
Toughest forms/weapons opponent: Rudy Reynon
Toughest fighting opponent: DJ Franklin
Other martial arts accomplishments:
Featured on ESPN at the US Open
Won Don Wilson’s Challenge in 1997 and 1998
Sport karate career highlight: Winning the 2008 overall contemporary forms world title
Martial arts goal #1: Pass down knowledge of competition to youth
Martial arts goal #2: To own and operate a martial arts facility
Martial arts goal #3: Compete, train and trick for as long as he can
Non-martial arts goal: To earn a bachelor’s degree in business administration
Favorite tournament: Golden Gate Internationals and Pacific Jewell Nationals
Favorite Super Grands: 2001 Super Grands in Hollywood where he won five world titles
Favorite sport karate players:
Past fighting: Jose Pacheco
Past forms: John Valera
Present fighting: Willie Hicks
Present forms: Scott Wu
Most admired martial artist: Shelly (Allen) Hastings
Most admired persons: His parents, Debbie and Carl Durbin
Favorite food: Anything but sushi
Favorite movie: Transformers
Favorite actor: Seth Rogen
Favorite magazine: Snowboard and Skateboard
Favorite book: Plato’s Republic
Favorite music: Hip Hop and Rap
Favorite musician: Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg
Favorite hobby: Martial arts tricking, skateboard and snowboarding
Favorite sports: Martial arts
Address: 19840 Glendale Ln., Parker CO 80134

Most of us know of Joshua Durbin’s tricking ability. His extreme techniques always gather a crowd watching to see his latest crazy stunt and whether he can pull off it effectively or not. But what you may not know about him is that he drives a car the way he performs. Yes, it seems aerials, 360’s, super speed and craziness has also awarded him with an array of colorful tickets, but they’re not the kind you redeem at an awards table. A little, bright red, Chevy Cobalt certainly gets him noticed, but in all the wrong ways as a driver. And as he teaches at three separate schools that he has to drive to in the Denver, Colorado area, he’s discovering it might be wise to keep his extreme techniques contained to the classroom not the road getting there.

As one of the most outrageous sport karate players of the age, Durbin has become a sought after teacher. His high profile as a champion adult competitor and member of Team Pro-Rank has brought him opportunities he hadn’t dreamt of at an earlier age. While giving many privates both in Colorado and while on tour his mainstay is teaching his creative techniques at three area schools that hire him.

While it seems Durbin has been a champion for an eternity that’s not always been so. Despite only being born the year NBL was conceived in 1989 he has been a regular at the Super Grands World Games since 1996 when he was winning a boat load of Amateur International’s titles for several years. But an all time lul hit after his third year in NBL competition in 2000 leaving him with a fourth place as his best showing in his beloved forms and weapons divisions. Out shown by leaders Kyle Gray, Felipe Alvarez, Cass Sigmon, Johnny Shaw and Chris Gallio he scored six other 5th-7th places at the Games not even winning a third place belt that at least he had gained the year before.

It would be hard to forget his mom telling me on the phone after the Games that his competition career was about to end because no matter what he did he wasn’t going to win, he just seemed to be going backwards. Well this is one time we can tease the mom about her misjudgment as Durbin did continue training and returning to the 2001 World Games, Durbin pulled off a miracle winning an outstanding five world titles that year. Coupled with three additional titles the following year Durbin made the front cover of Sport Karate Magazine, the youngest player to achieve the honor at that time. While another semi-lul seems to have set in shortly afterwards, Durbin plugged along through the tough mid-teenager years winning a few titles and arriving in adult competition in 2007 where he won both the adult choreographed musical forms and men’s creative weapons world titles.

But nothing could top this years unprecedented win stealing all three adult contemporary forms world titles and then proceeding to garner the coveted overall contemporary forms and weapons world title.

And while it seems he’s a shoe-in for wins at this year’s World Games the threat of rookie Jonathan Tale and veteran Jerico Catura will still hover over him. And we should not discount some of his old nemesis’ either. Felipe Alvarez and Kyle Gray are certainly alive and on top of their game. Even Cass Sigmon and Chris Gallio are still occasionally heard from. Wouldn’t you like to see Gallio attempt Durbin’s antics – kersplat – I’m laughing already. Ok, ok – he’s still a great fighter.

Durbin loves and lives for the competition circuit spending relentless hours practicing the impossible or unimaginable. He’s earned the nickname giraffe from many of his friends. I asked him where this came from and he quipped “Isn’t it obvious”. Well... yes there does seem to be a long distance from the shoulders to the head, but I felt I needed him to bring it up, not me.

Durbin relates that he’s far from the top of his game however and at only 19 he’s got a good 10 years ahead of him in adult competition if he chooses.

While still focused on his own competition most, he’s also taken over as trainer for up-and-coming Anthony King’s competition with their world renown coach, Steve Amaro, now living in Florida.

Finishing high school this year, he’s headed straight for a business administration degree in college with the full intention of opening a karate school for a living – a fitting career for someone who has spent nearly his whole life studying the art and craft. I do think Durbin’s peek is far from arriving even yet!