#1 When & why did you start TKD?

I started Taekwondo after I tried the summer camp 3 years ago. My mom found out about it and thought we should give it a try.  My dad loved the idea!  So, my sister, brother, and I went to the summer camp. I enjoyed learning the forms from the awesome instructors so much that I just couldn’t wait to start.  Initially my mom took me to all of the classes, but as I progressed, my dad got into it as much as I did.  So, I’ve been working hard at Taekwondo with my dad rooting for me on the sidelines, as well as the rest of my family who has supported me all along.

Grace 1

 #2 How long did it take you to get your black belt & what motivated you to keep working so hard?

It took me 3 years to get my black belt, and when it finally happened, it truly felt amazing!  For the first half of my experience, I was just having so much fun and I really just wanted to learn everything possible about Taekwondo.  No matter how hard it got, I still tried my best.  Then I got my blue stripe and things seemed to slow down for me.  I didn’t have as much interest as before and felt like quitting. But I kept going, partly because I REALLY wanted to get my black belt, and also because I knew there was still a part of me that truly enjoyed it.  I have to admit, I am so glad I continued.  Taekwondo is now an essential part of my life and I’m enjoying every minute of it!

# 3 What is your favorite thing about TKD (form, kick, sparring)?

#3.  My favorite thing about Taekwondo has always been the forms.  I have always learned my forms ahead of time online.  It made things a lot easier for me because when I started Taekwondo, we didn’t practice our forms in class as much as we do now.  I like to make the form my own by slowing it down or speeding it up, snapping my movements at appropriate times, and using a “keop” I’m comfortable with.

grace10 #4 Do you aspire to become an instructor?

Yes, I absolutely aspire to be an instructor.  I LOVE teaching!  It’s so much fun to use all of the knowledge I’ve gained through the years and share it with other students.  Also, our instructors have really inspired me, and I want to be able to do the same for others. 

 #5 What are your other interests?

Wow, I have so many interests!  I love reading, writing, and just about every sport.  I also enjoy playing guitar and piano, and I love to sing!

 #6 What is your favorite quote?

My favorite quote is the one that I recited to my grandfather before he passed away a few weeks ago.  It very much applies to Taekwondo: “The brick walls are there for a reason.  The brick walls are not there to keep us out.  The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something.  The brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough.” Randy Pausch wrote that in his last lecture to his kids before he died.  So, I will add, “Don’t let them stop you!”

 #7 Who is your hero?

My heroes are my parents.  They work so hard every day to keep my large family happy and healthy and it is truly admirable.  It’s also a huge blessing to have a mom and dad that really care about me and support me in everything I do.

 Grace4#8 What is your favorite comfort food or dessert?

Honestly, I love just about every food, but my favorite dessert is probably the Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich!  I know it’s a mouthful to say (and eat), but they are really yummy!

 #9 Do you have a favorite movie/music group/show?

My favorite movie is Despicable Me 2… it is hilarious!  The minions are my favorite characters.  My favorite music group is Big Time Rush because they’re just awesome: great music and a cool show!  I like lots of shows, but one of my favorite shows is Sam and Cat on Nickelodeon because I think it’s so cool that they pulled characters from 2 other popular shows: I Carly & Victorious.  My other favorite show is Good Luck Charlie on the Disney Channel.  I can definitely relate to the show because they also have 5 kids in the family.  In the show, it isn’t so easy, and there are tons of funny calamities, just like in my own family!

grace8#10 Do you have a pet?

I have two 6-month-old Miniature Dachshund mixes.  My friend’s mom had planned a trip to a Dream Dachshund rescue facility close by and everyone in my co-op had decided to go.  Unfortunately, my mom didn’t want us to go because she didn’t want us to get too attached to a dog.  We begged her to go and she finally gave in.  When we got there, we met 5 new puppies that were only a few months old.  My mom immediately fell in love with a little black girl puppy.  My siblings and I were convinced she was ready to adopt her.  However, my dad really liked big dogs, so we weren’t very sure that he would agree.  One day, after Taekwondo testing, my dad told me that my mom was bringing home some visitors.  I wasn’t prepared for what happened next: my dad gathered us into the driveway as my mom pulled in, and we walked around to the trunk.  As my mom opened it, there they were, the sweet little girl puppy and her handsome brother!  They had come for a “doggie sleepover” to make sure they were right for our family.  Apparently my dad had said he was willing to adopt the tiny dogs so long as we adopted two to keep each other company!  All went well, and eventually we did adopt them!  We named them Maggie and Jake, and they’re just awesome puppies!

#11 Do you want to talk about what it’s like to homeschool?

It’s really fun to be homeschooled!  This will be our 5th year of homeschooling.  Some of our work is above-level which it makes it more difficult, but all in all, it’s really cool!  My favorite part is going on vacation during off-peak timesJ!

 Grace 11#12 Tell me about your book!

Last year, I entered a writing contest. In order to win, I had to exceed a goal that my teacher set for me.  I was a week late in entering the contest so I had to write the whole book in 3 weeks!  It seemed pretty impossible, but I managed to make the deadline.  My mom set my goal at 6,000 words, and at midnight on November 30th, 2012, we had edited and sent in my 9,000+ word book!  It was fun to write, but let me tell you, it was also a relief to finally be finished!  It was SO exciting to see my first book published and then sold!

#13 What do you aspire to be?

I’m still trying to decide what I want to be when I grow up.  I’d love to be an architect, an interior designer, or a Disney animator.  I think all three of these jobs would be cool!  I hope to write books as a hobby along with my other career.  Of course, I will also keep up Taekwondo, even when I’m older!  I guess I’ll be pretty busy!

Confidence - Grace#14 What words of encouragement would you share with other students working towards their black belts?

My words of encouragement to other students in Taekwondo are, “Never quit!”  I think that my decision to stay in Taekwondo was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  No matter how hard it gets, just keep trying.  I guarantee that if you always try your best and give it your all, you can do anything!

 #15 Your sister in on the journey to her black belt. How are you mentoring her?

My sister is great at Taekwondo!  She loves it just as much as I do, and it’s fun to teach her.  The hard part about having a black belt sibling is always having to live up to them, which I wish she didn’t have to go through.  She has been told dozens of times that Master Vigil will be tougher on her because she’s my sister, and I listen to them, I feel really bad.  However, she’s a hard worker and is really good at Taekwondo, so I know she’ll do just fine!

Vortexic Martial Arts

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