Martial artist wins at World Championships

Sammi Handler

Kathryn Tian ’17 won a gold medal as the U.S. representative at the World Association of Kickboxing Organizations Juniors and Cadets World Championships in Italy in September. She was also named the “Best Female Athlete.”

Tian competed in Italy Sept. 6-14 against 1,000 participants from countries including Mexico and Australia, as well as U.S. teammates.

“I felt like I was representing my country more than representing myself,” Tian said.

She competed in two musical form categories, winning a gold medal in the hard style weapon category for a taekwondo routine, a silver medal in the open-hand category with routines that incorporated the elements of taekwondo, karate and gymnastics all choreographed to music.

“I trained a lot [for the competition],” Tian said. “Over the summer I would mostly train in the morning and in the night, but with school I can only train at night for usually one or two hours. So, I feel like I trained well, and that it paid off.”

Taekwondo and karate have taught her lessons that she tries to incorporate into her daily life, she said.

“Besides teaching a sport, [taekwondo] also teaches life lessons,” Tian said. “I remember learning taekwondo and karate, the teachers always stressed integrity, honesty, confidence, self-discipline and other life lessons like that.”

In April, Tian attended a tryout tournament in Rhode Island, where judges chose the top athletes to travel to Italy.

To attend the tournament, WAKO suggested that the teams raise money through fundraisers. Tian and other participants used the social media site WeChat and held barbeques to receive donations. They earned approximately $3,550 for the trip.

“I think I gained a lot of knowledge from both the tournament and the fundraising campaign,” Tian said. “I feel I gained a lot of experience through them.”

Tian started studying taekwondo at age 6 at her parents’ suggestion.

“I started because I got bullied as a kid, and my parents wanted me to gain confidence and self-defense [skills],” Tian said. “At first I didn’t really like it, but I grew into it.”

She plans to continue practicing taekwondo and attend more competitions, but not as frequently due to her workload.