As an active, sport enthusiast, transfer student from the greater Los Angeles area, I have been exposed to various “mainstream” sports, such as baseball (Dodgers and Angels), basketball (Lakers and Clippers), and soccer (Galaxy). However, the sport I devoted a large portion of my life to is not common among most girls my age, nor is it listed above. In first grade, a boy punched me on the playground and I fell to the asphalt crying. Consequently, my parents enrolled me in martial arts to learn how to defend myself so that the next time a boy punched me, I could knock him out by kicking him in the face. Although I began taekwondo to foster self-security, I fell in love with fighting as a sport–the game, if you will.
I devoted most of my time in high school to training and made the US National Taekwondo Team four times. Since taekwondo is a weight-dependent sport, I had to lose about 18 pounds to fight in the feather weight division at tournaments. Generally speaking, I did so by eating healthy foods and working out two to three times per day. However, when I went to the gym, I would do a lot of cardiovascular exercises and less weight-lifting exercises. I wasn’t at the gym to “get buff;” I was at the gym to lose weight so I could fight.
After I achieved the goals I had set for myself, I stopped competing. Although I still train, my primary focus is school, family, friends, and my boyfriend. When I ask him what day it is, I expect an answer like, “Monday or Thursday.” However, his reply is, “Legs day or Back day.” I enjoy cookies and cream milkshakes, but he prefers cookies and cream protein shakes. I admire Wilma Rudolph, whereas his role model is Arnold Schwarzenegger. He is immersed in the weight-lifting community and has inspired me to study the sport of weight-lifting for my project. Perhaps by the end of this quarter, weight-lifting can be our sport, not just his.