Q&A with Sophomore Sohail Ibrahimi

Ibrahimi is a first-degree black belt in Taekwondo and competes regularly

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By Photo by Amber Nguyen

When did you first start to become interested in Taekwondo?

Back when I was 10 years old.  My dad and I were driving in a car when I pointed out the building on the side of the road.  That’s when I started to become curious.

How long have you been doing it?

[I’ve been doing Taekwondo for] about 5 years.

What competitions have you placed in and/or won?

There is a competition every year at Johnson County Community College.  I’ve placed first in sparring for four years and first in breaking [boards] for two.

Can you tell me a story from one of those competitions?

My first year they put me up against somebody twice my size and I still won.  He was more defensive person and I noticed that pretty quickly towards the middle of the fight.  I decided to take that to my advantage.  I knocked the wind out of him the first time with a flurry of kicks, and did the same thing the second time.

 What are some weapons and techniques you use in competition and/or in class?

[Weapons I use include] the short staff, long staff, katana and nunchucks.  A technique I use is called Kunuky, which is a self-defense technique.

What is the hardest thing you have ever had to do?

The hardest thing I have ever had to do is compete against someone who was clearly not supposed to go up against me in competition.

What degree black belt are you, and how long did it take to get to that level?

I am a first-degree black belt, almost second degree. I’m going to be a second degree this summer.  It took me around 3 years.

What is your favorite thing about martial arts?

The fact that I get to use it in every day life, it can protect me, I get to teach and I can always say, “Hey, I’m a black belt.”

Can you tell me how it impacts your daily life?

Sometimes I just think about it.  If you ever see me walking down the hall flailing my arms for no apparent reason, I’m probably doing something related to [Taekwondo].

Do you have any goals for future competitions?

Just to continue to place first [in sparring and breaking].

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