ODESSA, TX (KWES) - As a 13-year-old, Alexander Ornelas describes himself as outgoing, determined and confident. But a year and a half ago, that description wouldn't have been correct.
"Whenever I would see kids hanging out like at places I would be like, oh they're cool I wanna go talk to them, but I was always so shy that they wouldn't like me and so I would just stay away," said Ornelas.
When he started martial arts, he started to transform.
"Whenever I first started I was like I'm not sure if this is right for me. But after a week, I was like I'm ready I got this," said Ornelas.
Now he practices five hours a day, five days a week and his dedication has paid off. At 13, he's won two state titles and developed a personality he's proud of.
"Now I go out there and I see the world and I'm like hey guys whats up," said Ornelas.
"He trains hard but he also is a leader in the school and you can tell he's out of his shell. He dances, has fun, plays jokes with his friends now and it's amazing to see the transformation that he's kind of gone through," said Dustin Matthews.
Alexander calls Matthews Martial Arts a home, and the people around him, a family.
"I wanna come here an hour early before class starts just to be here. Here is a dojo family. They're here to talk, they're here to help me with stuff and it's just fun," said Ornelas.
Ornelas said his goal is to become a black belt. After moving through seven different belts in his short martial arts career, it's looking like that shouldn't take long at all.
"It's been hard but it's really fun in the end because whenever you get that black belt and you have that on it's like you've achieved something in life," said Ornelas.