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Local Talents Showcased At U.S. National Taekwondo Championships

MADISON- The recent U.S. National Taekwondo Championships showcased the enormous talents of several participants from Madison each of which train out of Jeong’s Martial Arts School of Madison.

The national event was held in San Antonio, Tex.

“I made the 15-hour drive trip with my family and once arriving on the big stage in front of everyone, it was very difficult to concentrate,” said Aeris Silvia, 15, a freshman at Bob Jones High and who earned first place in the Jr. Green Belt Division Poomsae event. “I went over everything in my head just before my performance. We visited the famous San Antonio Riverwalk after the competition and celebrated my win by eating at a Mexican restaurant of my choice.”

Silvia was one of three current Bob Jones students along with a former school student and a Discovery Middle School student to participate in the competition and come away as winners.

Yewon Jeong, 17, whose family owns and operates Jeong’s Martial Arts School of Madison and is a senior at Bob Jones, competed in her first Senior Division (under 30 years of age) in her preparation for the Taekwondo World Games in 2022. She finished in the top eight in Poomsae Individual, second in the Poomsae Pairs, third in Poomsae Team (three-person) and first in the Freestyle Team, which included her older sister, Yerin, among the five-person team.

“I was the youngest individual in the division and I did better than I thought I would,” said Jeong.

Yerin Jeong is a student at UAB and competed in the Senior Division and came away with several awards. She took first place in the Poomsae Pairs and Poomsae Team and was second in Poomsae Individual.

“Yerin and I trained for our team competition through Facetime for about an hour every Thursday,” added Yewon.

Audrey Niedringhaus, a 14-year old freshman at Bob Jones, is also a varsity cheerleader for the Patriots, but began taekwondo in the summer of 2020 as something to do during the pandemic. She attended a summer camp and soon began classes with her best friend, Silvia. Once obtaining her orange belt in taekwondo, she joined the competition team at Jeong’s Martial Arts.

“I was attracted to the sport not just for the improvements physically, but the discipline that is required to participate in martial arts,” said Niedringhaus, who holds a blue belt in the martial arts. “The mental strength and power I have learned I never thought I would have. The discipline I carry over to my work as a cheerleader.”

Niedringhaus participated in the Jr. Cadet Division (ages 12-14). In the Green Belt cadet Forms, she took first place. Her three to five minute performance is a series showcasing kicks, blocks, punches and overall technique. She added, “I was graded on accuracy, power, stance, balance and overall techniques. I practice every day at home especially concentrating on strength and stretching.”

Samuel Bae of Discovery Middle School also traveled to San Antonio for the competition. The 11-year old sixth grade student was a finalist in team and pairs and took third place among the individuals in the Cadet Male Division.

“It was good to see everyone competing as this was the first national event since the COVID pandemic began as our last national meet was in 2019,” said Jeong, who is also president of the Bob Jones Taekwondo Club.

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