Kasi Zimmermann, who practices about 10 hours a week, started the martial art at the age of four and immediately fell in love with it.
“I started doing it to protect myself, to fight bullies if I needed to in the future,” she said. “But it’s really unlike any sport I’ve ever done, it gives you so much strength.”
She has competed in about 10 other local and state competitions, but was very surprised when she was named sparring champion, she said.
“I was nervous when I got to the competition, but I was very proud of myself in the end,” Kasi Zimmermann said. “I wasn’t very good at sparring, but as soon as I tried my best, I won first place.”
The martial art has also taught Kasi Zimmermann values such as respect, Brien Zimmermann said.
“She is a straight-A student in school,” he said. “Taekwondo has really taught Kasi the importance of control and discipline.”
She just received her red belt, only one step away from black, the highest honor given to a taekwondo student.
She also joined the special demo team at her training studio, J.K. Taekwondo. The team, which is made up of the studio’s best students, participates in competitions several times a year.
“She is the only member of the team that doesn’t have a black belt,” studio owner Jin Ki Lim said. “I put her on the team because she has very good respect and discipline.”
In order to get a black belt, Kasi Zimmermann must break a brick, she said.
“I’m not so sure I could do it right now,” she said. “But I’ll try, and try again until I get it.?.?.?. I get stronger and stronger every day.”