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Written by Evan Noblesala
Townsend Harris is known for hosting a wide array of athletes but many Harrisites have multiple athletic talents that are more or less unknown to much of the student body. Jason Edelman, a senior at Townsend Harris prides himself on his illustrious career in martial arts.
For almost nine years, Jason has practiced taekwondo, a Korean martial art that places a heavy emphasis on different kicking moves. Throughout his experience, Jason has achieved a number of accomplishments such as earning a black belt and winning eight gold medals in sparring tournaments.
He has also received national recognition for his talent, qualifying for numerous national tournaments such as the Junior Olympics.
Jason, who trains under THHS graduate of 2009 and decorated taekwondo artist Andrew Oh, considers taekwondo to be the most influential activity in his life, helping him improve as a person both physically and mentally.
Jason recalled a specific training experience where he had to spar with Master Oh for a whole thirty minutes, referring to it as “the most physically agonizing thirty minutes of my life.” On sparring in general, Jason noted, “There is so much adrenaline rushing as I set up defensive traps and ferociously kick my opponent’s chest guard to gain points.”
These training sessions have also furthered Jason’s mental strength by building maturity and character. Specifically he said, “I highly value the advancements I’ve made in terms of my discipline, confidence, focus, and respect. The instructors at the school I train at always ensure that students demonstrate respect towards everyone, whether it be opponents, family, or friends.”
Moreover, taekwondo plays the role of stress reliever, having the ability to take Jason’s mind off of school and any other stressful situations. “Once I put my uniform on and get ready to train, the only thoughts that enter my mind [involve] improving myself as a taekwondo competitor,” he said.
This passion for the sport is what keeps Jason’s drive alive. Due to various injuries, he has had to take a break from competing in tournaments but continues to train to prepare for his comeback. “I’ve developed such a passion for the sport, and the countless memories I have created at the tournaments I have competed in drive me to continuously train,” he remarked.