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June 2017 Featured Fighter: Haley Smith

Haley Smith, 1st Dan Black Belt

“Yi Sport changed me from a tiny little kid who didn’t have a lot of confidence to a nationally ranked fighter.” – Haley Smith, Yi Sport Alumna and Substitute Coach

Ever wish your dad were a black belt in martial arts who had passed the tradition on to you? Well, Haley Smith doesn’t have to wish. Her dad Peter started her training at World Martial Arts & Health in Ballard when she was just four years old. Peter himself had earned a black belt there under the tutelage of renowned Master Yun. “I always had a lot of competitive desire and energy, and Taekwondo was the right outlet for that. It’s the sport I grew up in,” says Haley.

Haley started supplementing her training at Yi Sport because of its focus on sparring and competition. She has been nationally ranked #2 or #3 in her division for several years running. Among a much longer list of accomplishments, Haley was selected in 2016 as Best Female Athlete at the Stanford Taekwondo Spring Open and represented the AAU National Team at the German Open Championship.

What would she say to a young girl just starting out in the sport? “The experiences that you can have when you persevere are worth so much more than the pain and irritation you have to go through. Taekwondo was always a love/hate thing for me. Training is never easy. But feeling yourself advance in a sport that’s so difficult is the most rewarding thing I’ve experienced in my life so far.”

Haley is a senior in high school and takes classes at community college. She is very wisely taking a gap year and will be applying to universities this fall. We hope whoever gets her will realize just how lucky they are!