Spotlight on Abby Gross, Black Belt in Taekwondo

News, Spotlight — By on September 11, 2013 10:48 am

By Brooke Hartman-

Abby Gross

Abby Gross

“My family is very sport-oriented.  It’s just what I grew up with.” said 16 year old Abby Gross.  She’s gone to Mount Vernon “since forever” and has been involved in volleyball and soccer since 5th grade. Over the years, she’s dealt with quite a few small injuries.  A broken hand is just one of the many. However, it’s not from volleyball or soccer, like you might have assumed.  Abby broke her hand trying to break a brick.

Once a month, when she can find the time, Abby likes to help out with a Taekwondo class in Solon.  “It’s where I learned Taekwondo and over time, my family and the instructor got really close. I think it’s nice just to keep involved with it,” she said.

Her instructor at Chol Choe’s Black Belt Academy, Mike Benson, describes Abby as “very hardworking and strong willed.”  The average person takes around five or more years to achieve a black belt, but she managed to achieve one in just under four years.

The hardest challenge to overcome in Taekwondo was that “It’s not just physical.  Yes you need to be active, but it’s also a lot more mental than you would expect,”  she said. Taekwondo improves many mental abilities, such as concentration, respect, mental alertness, and discipline.

Every time the word “can’t” is said, you have to do 10 push ups. “I want my students to at least attempt to do something before they give up, I can always count on Abby to do her best,” said Mike.

The support from family, friends, and her instructor really helped Abby reach her goal of a black belt. It’s definitely not as easy as it may look.  Just the simple memorization of every belt level was “super hard” and definitely a challenge she said.

Abby’s mom is especially proud of her for sticking with it and not giving up.  “I really think all her hard work paid off in the end.” Now Abby is a “good role model for other students trying to achieve the same goal,” and she’s someone “that others can look up to for help and support.”

Abby really enjoys helping out with the 7-12 year olds at Taekwondo, but it’s hard to find the time. “I don’t think I want to continue with any of my sports after high school. It’s hard to keep up with everything and it makes things complicated,” she said. Unless she receives a scholarship, it’s “bye-bye!” to Taekwondo, as well as to volleyball and soccer.

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