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  • Emily Coggins

Student Spotlight: Ingrid Nilsson & Taekwondo

Ingrid does a jump backspin hook hick.

Many students pursue passions outside of school and school events; Ingrid Nilsson is one of them, competing and training in the art of Taekwondo, which means “hands, feet, and respect.” She takes Taekwondo at New Revolution, located by Trader Joe’s, which is registered with the World Federation of Taekwondo stationed out of Korea.

At New Revolution, most people attend twice a week, but Ingrid goes every day except Wednesday. Her teacher is a three-time state Taekwondo champion in Korea who is a fifth-degree black belt. On Fridays, Ingrid meets with a small, passionate group to train especially hard. Five members of this eight-person team, including Ingrid, recently qualified to compete in one of the International Taekwondo tournaments in Dallas, which is an important city for Taekwondo. Ingrid is very excited to participate!

Belt rankings are a big part of training. Beginners start with white belts, which represent emptiness, and progress through a series of colored belts, each representing an element or emotion. Ingrid is a poom belt, which comes before a black belt (in the US), and is sometimes considered a first-degree black belt for minors in some South Korean schools. She expects to have her poom belt for 1.5 to 2 more years before achieving her first black belt, at which point she can train with weapons.

Ingrid enjoys Taekwondo for several reasons. “I’ve done it for so long with the same people,” she says, “so we’re really close and we all stay after [training sessions] to chat with each other. School’s really stressful, and I love being able to relieve tension through working out and then be able to hang out with friends.” She also likes “knowing that I’m semi-able to defend myself, so it’s like a very useful form of dance.” Ingrid’s most favorite part of Taekwondo, though, is “the fact that everyone learns to be humble. There are those times when you’re supposed to demonstrate some kick, and you fall on your back because you can’t make it. You have to learn to just get up and try again, even though there are a lot of little children laughing at you, and when you make it the second time, it makes up for the first fail.”