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Q&A with sophomore Anoushka Jena, Taekwondo, discipline, learning transferable skills

Sophomore+Anoushka+Jena+poses+in+her+dobok+for+Taekwondo.+Doboks+are+worn+traditionally+in+Korean+martial+arts.
Abigail Lee
Sophomore Anoushka Jena poses in her dobok for Taekwondo. Doboks are worn traditionally in Korean martial arts.

What is Taekwondo? 

Taekwondo is a very old form of martial arts that originated in South Korea. It’s one of the oldest forms of martial arts, about 2000-ish years old, and it’s all about self-defense. 

What does a typical Taekwondo class look like?

So you always start with a warm-up, like stretching, light jogging, just things like that to get your body warmed up. After that, we go into like general training for, like, endurance, strength— it depends on the day. We do like practice drills (for) kicking, punching, (or) sparring. At the end, we go into curriculum, so you’ll learn form, or sparring or whatever event it is that you do. 

What made you want to join Taekwondo? 

I actually joined Taekwondo because when I was little, I used to watch a bunch of, martial arts movies with my dad, and it really got me hooked. I was like, “I want to fight like that.”

Sophomore Anoushka Jena does a Taekwondo move. Jena has been learning Taekwondo since she was four years old. (Abigail Lee)

How long have you been doing Taekwondo?

So, when I was four, I started (doing Taekwondo), and I’ve been doing it for almost 12 years now, (so) I’m a second-degree black belt. I actually started at a Taekwondo school in Minnesota, and then when I moved here, I joined Master Yoo’s for a little bit, and now I go to Apex Taekwondo.

Why do you keep doing Taekwondo? 

It’s my favorite sport ever. I love it a lot. It’s a really good way to like stay in shape, because I go every single day, and you’re constantly active, (so) it’s (definitely) a good way to stay in shape. I also like it because when I go to practice, (as soon as ) I walk in, it just kind of gives me a break from everything else that’s happening, and I can just focus on Taekwondo. 

What is your favorite part of doing Taekwondo? Favorite memories? 

Personally, (my favorite part) is sparring, that’s the event that I do and compete in. I think my favorite memory (is definitely) when I went to my first national championship. I placed second, and I was really, really proud of myself. It was my first time, and some of my relatives were there, and my parents (and sister) were there, and we were all just like really happy. Another time would probably be when the Korean National Demonstration Team came to my (Taekwondo) school and I got to meet them. It was really cool because they’re kind of my idols. 

What life skills or lessons have you learned from doing Taekwondo? 

I would say, (there are some) basic skills (I can use in daily life) like confidence, being honest, always working hard, that are constant skills and qualities that you can learn from doing Taekwondo, (especially) from the discipline. The whole point, I guess you could say, of doing Taekwondo is to never make the first move. You always try to defuse (the situation) before you go in, and I guess that’s kind of important because no matter what situation you’re in in life, I think that’s something you can like carry with you anywhere. 

What would you say to somebody who wants to join Taekwondo?

I would say (to) absolutely do it. It’s a lot of hard work, a lot of discipline, and there are like good times and bad times, as there are in any sport or anything that you do. It’s a good thing to commit to, and you learn a lot of life skills, it helps you stay in shape— there’s a lot of really good benefits to it, and yeah, I think you should definitely do it.

Sophomore Anoushka Jena practices taekwondo. Jena said that Taekwondo is her favorite sport. (Abigail Lee)
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