World champion moving karate studio out of downtown

January 23, 2022
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Troy Dorsey shows off one of his eight world title belts. (Photo courtesy of Troy Dorsey)

By Amanda Rogers

Mansfield Record

Troy Dorsey has fought his way to eight world titles and built a thriving business in downtown Mansfield.

Now he has a new challenge – moving.

The Mansfield native will open Troy Dorsey’s Extreme Martial Arts with his new partner Caleb Ebell at 1848 Lone Star Road on Monday.

After almost 22 years in historic downtown, Dorsey, 59, will add a new chapter to an already eventful life – and so will his karate studio at 115 N. Main St.

The 5,500-square-foot building housed Western Auto until Dorsey purchased it in 1999, but dates back to 1890, one of Mansfield’s oldest downtown structures. The karate studio will soon house BCB Live, four studios that will produce podcasts and broadcasts, according to new owner Rick Larkin.

Larkin, who owns the Mansfield trucking company BCB Transport, plans to remodel the space and open by May. One studio will be named for Dorsey, who taught Larkin’s son karate.

Troy Dorsey with Chuck Norris, a friend who is also a 10th degree black belt. (Photo courtesy of Troy Dorsey)

Dorsey calculates that he has taught almost 8,000 students since opening the studio in June 1999, including Ebell’s instructor. He calls Ebell, 23, his grand-student.

“He’s an eight-time world champion and one of greatest people I’ve ever met,” said Ebell, a Canyon native. “The first week I was here was kind of just me talking to a world champion. You look at him and he’s a super human, a super fighter. Then you get to know him and he’s super sweet.”

The people Dorsey faced in the ring would agree with the super human aspect, but they probably didn’t experience the sweet facet of his personality. Dorsey fought in 65 professional boxing and kickboxing bouts, winning 48, 35 of those by knockouts. He earned the nickname The Destroyer for his aggressive style of fighting, which once got him disqualified while defending his world karate title because “I was hitting too hard.”

Life was a struggle for Dorsey growing up in Mansfield. The oldest of Barbara and Warren Dorsey’s three sons, Dorsey, who stand 5-foot-6, didn’t have it easy in school.

“I started karate because I was getting picked on and bullied at school,” he said.

After he started taking karate, the bullying stopped.

“When I just fought back, then they picked on somebody else,” he said.

He started taking karate at age 11 on Mansfield’s Main Street with Jim Choate in 1974. Eleven years later, in 1985, he won the amateur world title in kickboxing and amateur world title in karate on the same day at Wembley Arena in London, England.

“No one has ever done that, and no one ever will again,” he said. “Now they have a two-day tournament.”

Troy Dorsey and new partner Caleb Ebell

In 1985, he started boxing in the featherweight division. He won his third title fight and the IBF world title in Las Vegas in Las Vegas on June 3, 1991, then won the IBO world title in 1997 in junior lightweight in Denmark.

In all, he won five world kickboxing titles, two world boxing titles and a world karate title.

Troy Dorsey (left) with brothers Brian (center) and Rodney. (Photo courtesy of Troy Dorsey)

Dorsey has been inducted into the karate and kickboxing halls of fame. He earned his first black belt in 1979 and his 10th degree black belt 40 years later in 2019.

At his studio, though, he doesn’t preach aggression, but preparation.

“We have a system to teach respect, self-control, discipline, better focus, the dangers of drugs and alcohol and about dangerous situations with strangers,” Dorsey said.

“That’s what God calls me to be,” Dorsey said. “The Lord calls us to be humble, kind and loving.”

Has been married to wife, Leslie, for 35 years, and admits that “I couldn’t have done this without her.”

The couple has two daughters, Kendra and Shelly, and last summer they added grandson Lorenzo and granddaughter Olivia to the family.

Looking back at his career and thousands of students, Dorsey hopes that he has left a legacy.

“I’m hoping that I improved people’s lives in a positive way,” he said. “I’m going to keep kicking for as long as I can.”

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