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Angelina Claudette practices at Amy's Martial Arts in Orem.
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Utah Taekwondo Teen Represents Her Country In World Championships

OREM, Utah — In the world of martial arts, you’re never too young to test yourself. Angelina Claudette started practicing taekwondo at an age when most kids are still struggling to tie their shoes.

“I was four,” she said. “My mom just enrolled us here. I didn’t really have a choice, she was just like ‘You’re going to do this.'”

After discovering other activities like ballet didn’t quite fit, Claudette finally found one that did — and 10 years later, she’s still going.

Angelina Claudette practices at Amy's Martial Arts in Orem.

Angelina Claudette practices at Amy’s Martial Arts in Orem.

“A lot of training, because that’s how it has to go,” she said. “I’m usually here four or five times a week.”

After a few years of learning and endless hours of sparring, Claudette met her match: Herself.

“I was like ten, and I hated it,” she said. I was always losing, and I was like, ‘Oh, these girls are bigger than me, they’re obviously going to beat me.'”

Claudette started in taekwondo at an early age.

Claudette started in taekwondo at an early age.

Her confidence level plummeted. She nearly quit. But while she may have nearly given up on herself, her coaches wouldn’t.

“They started forcing me to go against them,” Claudette said.

Sometimes, courage can come from the most curious of places.

“My instructors put me against more boys here,” said Claudette. “At first I was really scared of them. And then once I started doing it, I’m like, ‘Okay, they might be bigger than me, but I have the ability to go against them.'”

After proving she could go toe-to-toe with boys in training, competitions felt like a breeze.

“It brought me to be where I am now,” Claudette said. “I was ranked number one in my weight class.”

And we aren’t just talking about Utah.

“Out of the whole United States,” she said.

Now, Claudette’s representing her country in the World Taekwondo Cadet Championships — all the way in Uzbekistan. When asked where that is, she can only smile.

“I have no idea,” she laughed.

Despite this monumental achievement, Claudette doesn’t have much to say on the topic.

“I guess that is a big deal,” she said.

“That’s definitely her personality,” said one of Claudette’s coaches at Amy’s Martial Arts, Samery Moras, speaking on her student’s modesty. “This is actually huge. All over the world, all the cadets, which are 12-14 year olds, and it’s only one per country for each weight class. So it’s just a very small number of kids from each
country.”

While Claudette may be unsure when it comes to geography, there’s one thing she is sure of: herself.

“A lot of people don’t expect girls to do contact sports, but girls are just as good as men,” she said.

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