The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


Sofia Perez Kicks Limits Aside with Taekwondo

Through practicing weekly, the junior embodies the fiery passion of persevering
Courtesy of Sofia Perez
With her black-red belt, Perez has climbed to the top of her Taekwondo class in four years. Prepared to perform a kick, martial arts has given her the chance to enhance her athleticism and create new relationships.

As she stepped into her first martial arts class, she encountered something entirely new to her. Before her eyes, she witnessed her fellow students dressed in white robes engaged in unusual activities. Wondering if she would be able to succeed, she soon realized that the combat sport was her true talent. Kicking her way through each level of Taekwondo, junior Sofia Perez has been working her way to the top since she was a 13-year-old. Enrolled in Taekwondo classes with her stepfather, Perez has gradually developed a love for martial arts.

Despite starting during her teens, Perez has remained committed, as she practices at Master Kim’s Taekwondo and Hapkido Center every Tuesday and Thursday. Though she originally wanted to start Hapkido, another form of Korean self-defense, her instructors encouraged her to enroll in Taekwondo, one of the most systematic Korean traditional martial arts. Teaching more than just fighting skills, it also gave control between the mind and the body.

“My instructors have helped to guide me out of my comfort zone. Before I started Taekwondo, I was really shy and laid back. But, they have shown me what it’s like to be in the spotlight, and that I don’t have to be scared of expressing myself. If it was not for them, I would not be the same person that I am today,” Perez said. 

Perez takes a group photo with her Taekwondo family. They have guided her throughout her learning experience. (Courtesy of Sofia Perez)

As Perez continues to emotionally mature with every Taekwondo lesson, her love for the sport also increases. Since she started her martial arts journey, Perez has gained more muscle and technique than ever before, allowing her to defend herself in new ways. Once a scrawny 13-year-old girl, she has now transformed into a strong 17-year-old teenager.

Proud of how far she has come, Perez only hopes to continue practicing throughout the years, as she has become passionate about the art of kicking and punching. Always admiring martial arts, Perez is thrilled that she now can perform moves such as the front kick, roundhouse kick and jumping front kick. 

“When I walk in for my Taekwondo lesson, I feel like I am immediately surrounded by family. Everyone is so kind and supportive, and I am so grateful that I have been able to find such amazing instructors. I truly feel at peace when I’m practicing Taekwondo, and it’s all thanks to them,” Perez said. 

Although Perez does not plan to compete anytime soon, she is determined to keep practicing Taekwondo. By keeping a strong mentality and never giving up, she has already earned her red and black belt, and she intends to get her prestigious black belt soon. When she reaches that point, she will be faced with a wooden board to be broken with a singular kick. If she successfully breaks the board into two pieces, she will be awarded the black belt, one of the highest honors in Korean martial arts.

“Taekwondo has really been a life-changing experience for me. I’ve learned so many defense tactics, including all different types of kicks and punches. I’m more confident in my ability to not only defend myself, but also to talk to others and be more social,” Perez said. 

Because of her hard work and dedication to Taekwondo, Perez embodies what it means to be a student-athlete. She hopes that her love for martial arts will follow her throughout her lifetime. For her, Taekwondo has become more than just a physical outlet as it has allowed her to gain confidence, discipline and strength. 

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About the Contributor
Kate Kuryla
Kate Kuryla, CavsConnect Staff Writer
Kate Kuryla is a sophomore in the International Baccalaureate program who is excited to return to Cavsconnect for her second year as a staff writer. Aiming to improve since her previous year as a freshman, Kuryla is entering sophomore year with a new mindset. This past summer she was rarely home, as she was traveling to Scandinavia, Turkey and Italy. She definitely came back from her trip part Italian. She loves to try all kinds of food and listen to all types of music, but her favorite artist has to be Lana Del Rey. She hopes that maybe one day Del Rey will come to Miami on tour. When Kate is not doing schoolwork or with her friends and family, you can find her curled up in bed sleeping. She dreams of moving to New York City one day and have a cat to keep her company. Kate does not know what she will major in yet, but she believes it will be either in the medical field or law studies. She’s very indecisive. Hopefully sophomore year will guide her on the right path to success.

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