Tae Kwon Do is a way of a life for the Walsh family. On a typical night, all three of the Walsh kids can be seen heading off to their classes, dressed in the traditional white dobok uniform and brightly colored belts. Their eldest daughter, Hallie, started learning the martial art at the age of four. Now 12 years old and a purple belt, Hallie is a member of the Tae Kwon Do competition team at the Lakewood Family YMCA.
In competition, Hallie has earned 20 medals, including double gold medals at the Washington State Governor's Cup last year. Outside of class, Hallie is a straight-A student who also plays soccer and volleyball, and runs track. She credits Tae Kwon Do with giving her the mental focus to achieve so much at such a young age while also remaining humble. "It's taught me how to fight if I need it," Hallie says. "And it helps my confidence and discipline in school and at home."
Tae Kwon Do is such a vital part of Hallie's life that her younger brothers, 8-year-old Gabriel and 6-year-old Immanuel, were inspired to start taking classes. Hallie's instructor, Matt, isn't surprised that she's drawing more people to learn Tae Kwon Do. "She won't admit it, but she's a leader in our class," Matt, her instructor, says. "Without her influence, a lot of the kids wouldn't work so hard."