Freedom Academy’s Eighth Grader Talks Martial Arts

Diana started martial arts at eight years old. Since then she has earned her black belt USA Martial Arts. Her confidence has skyrocketed helping her achieve straight A’s in school. She has entered a few tournaments one in which she won second place for forms and another where re she won the Over All Grand Champion Trophy.

Q. Your are very involved in martial arts tell us more about that?

A. I have been in martial for over five years. I train at USA Martial Arts five days per week. I earned my Black Belt in Taekwondo. At my martial arts school I am also taught a little bit of Judo, Hapkido and a lot of self-defense. For upper belts we also learn joint manipulations. As an upper belt I am also in the leadership program. In leadership I learn and train how to use weapons like nun chucks , everyone in leadership learns nun chucks. As a black belt I get to choose what weapon I want to learn. I chose the sai’s. Sai’s are the weapon that looks like a big fork. In ninja turtles Rafael uses sai’s too. Martial arts have helped me become flexible and I can do my full splits now. Doing my full splits helps me get really high kicks. The biggest lesson I learned from martial arts is, if you want something don’t wait for it. In other words opportunity only comes knocks once.

Q. Tell us about the tournaments that you have entered recently?

A. Well, I have been in a few in school tournaments and in 2014 I won grand champion. That means that I got the highest scores in all categories in my division and I showed the most sportsmanship and good attitude. I also went to an out of school tournament and I got second place in forms and third place in sparring. Tournaments give me butterflies in my stomach because people watch you but once I get started it goes away and next thing you know people cheer for you like crazy. Being in tournaments helps build my self-confidence.

Q. You also train younger peers in martial arts what is that like? What is your favorite part of teaching something that you love?

A. I like to train younger students because helping them helps me remember the basics. When I train younger students they get to have one on one time with a black belt. It helps them improve. Its hard sometimes because you have to think of a way to teach them so that its easier for them to remember and understand. The fun part is teaching them something that you like and that you excel in then after demonstrating it their faces are in awe of your awesomeness. I like teaching something that I excel in because I can explain easier for younger or new students to understand. But, my favorite part is getting to demonstrate the techniques that they will be learning.

Q. You are also a straight A student how do you do it all?

A. School used to be hard for me. Now I focus on my time management of doing my work and class in general. I don’t worry about what others are doing around me. Martial arts taught me how to stay focused. I am also strict on myself and my friends about getting our work done. In martial arts they tell us schoolwork before training. My parents help me a lot by always telling me I can do anything if I try hard.

Q. What is the next step for you in martial arts? What do you aspire to do next?

A. Well, I am preparing myself for my next black belt test. It will be my third black belt test for my second poom (a poom is another word for junior black belt). For every black belt rank I want to earn I have to meet higher expectations than before. I also love to draw. I am really good at looking at something and drawing it but the next thing that I want to do is get better at drawing original things from myself. After I graduate from middle school and go to high school I want to join the art program.

Diana is a eighth grader at Freedom Academy.

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