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Sophomore practices Taekwondo

Lindsey Epstien wears black belt, continues training

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Sophomore Lindsey Epstien

Sophomore Lindsey Epstien

Sophomore Lindsey Epstien

Isabelle Becker

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According to sophomore Lindsey Epstien, earning their first degree black belt in Taekwondo, a Korean martial art, made them feel accomplished.

“I’ve been doing (Taekwondo) for a long time. (Earning a first degree black belt is) finally achieving what I’ve been striving for for so long,” Epstien said.

Epstien said her parents put her in Taekwondo partly for self defense skills, which she said makes her feel more secure.

“My parents put me in Taekwondo when I was in first grade because they thought it would help me build self-confidence and to defend myself from potential predators,” Epstien said.

Taekwondo instructor Marci Nelson said Epstien is dedicated to Taekwondo both inside and outside of the class.

“(The class has) this motto that says, ‘success isn’t given, it’s earned’, and (Epstien’s) definitely earning everything that (they get) because (they work) hard,” Nelson said.

According to Nelson, a black belt club within the Taekwondo program allows students to be on different teams. Epstien said they are on the weapons team.

“If you’re in black belt club you can join different competition teams and then they can go around the country and compete at different tournaments,” Epstien said.

According to Epstien, students have to take a physical test and a form test in order to obtain their black belt.

“To get your black belt, you go through a physical, which is like a three mile run, sprints back and forth, some pushups and sit-ups,” Epstien said. “Then you do your form (test) and you would do blocking and kicking sets for it to display to the grand master that you know what you’re doing.”

Epstien’s friend sophomore Rachel Mattson said she attended some of Epstien’s tournaments and classes.

“A lot of (people at the tournaments) can do really cool moves, especially with weapons, and some of the weapons I’m just like ‘I don’t know if I could do that’. Then (watching) them do their performances is really cool to see,” Mattson said.

Epstien said they appreciate the dedication of the people in Taekwondo.

“All the people who go to Taekwondo really enjoy Taekwondo and they all put in 100 percent effort whenever they’re there,” Epstien said.

Nelson said Epstien’s characteristics fit the ideal for a person with a black belt.

“You can look at Lindsey and say, (they’re) a black belt, (they’re) exactly what we want students to get out of the program — people that don’t give up, people that believe in themselves, people that believe they are worth all the hard work,” Nelson said.

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Sophomore practices Taekwondo