I often say that friends are the sunshine of life. The Sunny Star I’m about to introduce practically gives me a sunburn she adds so much sunshine to my life! Lauren Beltran is not only a highly skilled (and recently qualified) Tae Kwon Do trainer, she also happens to be my best friend. We have been friends since the fateful day that our parents decided to take us to swim lessons as babies. Ever since then, Lauren and I have been flying around from Mexico to Chicago and we regularly get together—especially to bake a somewhat promising, but usually disastrous dessert recipe. I’m so excited for you to get to meet Lauren; she is the sweetest and kindest girl I know…but she can do a karate kick like nobody’s business!
1. What has been your experience with Tae Kwon Do and how has it added to your happiness?
LB: I have been doing Tae Kwon Do since I was six years old. I have now earned my fourth degree black belt. I have had to persevere through many difficult testings to get where I am today. Tae Kwon Do has added to my happiness because I have made lifetime friends from the experience. When I come to class, I know I can see the same friendly faces, and have a good time.
2. What has been your happiest moment with Tae Kwon Do? What has been your biggest accomplishment and how has this affected your happiness?
LB: My happiest moment with Tae Kwon Do is whenever I test and receive a new belt. When the fresh belt is tied around my waste, I know that I gave it my all to go to the next rank in Tae Kwon Do. My biggest accomplishment would be gaining my fourth degree black belt. This affects my happiness because I am one of the highest ranks in the class. I can see that I have worked hard for a long time to get to this level.
3. What has been the most challenging aspect of Tae Kwon Do and how has this affected your happiness?
LB: The most challenging aspect of Tae Kwon Do would have been when I did not pass my testing. I was testing for my third degree black belt. I trained for over two years for that testing, and froze up when it came to the sparring. I was really upset when I did not pass. I thought of quitting Tae Kwon Do because I thought I was not good enough.
4. How does interacting with others in Tae Kwon Do affect your happiness?
LB: When I go to Tae Kwon Do I interact with people in many different ways. One way is by sparring. My boyfriend Travis and I both do Tae Kwon Do, and it is really fun to spar each other. I feel like sparring gives us a chance to do something we both enjoy with adds to our happiness.
5. What are tournaments like and how does this affect your happiness?
LB: At a Tae Kwon Do tournament I do my form and spar. I am judged on how good my form looks, and in sparring I earn points when I hit my opponent. There are 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place medals I can win depending on how well I do. At tournaments I really enjoy the sparring. It is a lot of fun to go up to another girl and fight for points; it is like an adrenaline rush. I do not care if I win or lose; I go to tournaments to meet new people, and to have fun.
The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook