Thursday August 02, 2018
A bronze medal in advanced sparring is impressive. So too is the determination and commitment of Sloane Urette, who at 12 years old won that medal. A soon to be seventh grader at Frederick H. Tuttle Middle School, Urette recently competed at the 2018 Taekwondo AAU National Championships in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Holding a second degree red belt, she made it to the second rounds in forms before elimination, scoring the well-earned bronze in the advanced sparring category for girls aged 12 to 13, under 105 pounds. Having practiced the martial art for six years, Urette is not new to the competition scene, and sagely says of her medal, “The most important part was the sportsmanship and compassion between my competitors.”
A student of Master Damir Alisa, owner of Fusion Taekwondo in Colchester, Urette began her training at the age of six. “Sloane possesses an incredible work ethic and is very consistent in her training. Her attitude is fantastic! She takes training seriously but at the same time makes sure to have fun. And most importantly, she has a kind heart. She is always willing to help others, and set a great example for both students at Fusion and beyond,” said Master Alisa, adding, “She has the X factor. This is something that you can’t learn. There are very few students who ‘just get it.’ Sloane is one of them who does.”
The art of taekwondo is just that, an art. Although a global sport that teaches self-defense, taekwondo is better described as a discipline that shows ways of enhancing life through training both body and mind. Master Alisa gives his take on the ancient art, “I would have to boil it down to resilience, a healthy body, and self-confidence. Martial arts instill students with many tools to help them cope with the rigors of life. It gives them structure and an environment where they can take out all their stress safely. It is a place where they focus on both the body and mind.”
In between all the life demands of a 12 year old, Urette takes approximately three classes per week, each between two to three hours. Her mother Lisa Patnode attests to regular practice at home as Urette pursues her third degree red belt. Master Alisa looks even further down the road, “Sloane is working towards achieving her first-degree black belt and should be eligible for it in the next year. She has also qualified to compete in the World Taekwondo Championships. This event will take place January 2019 in Mexico.”
Urette also qualified for the 2018 AAU Junior Olympic Games in Des Moines, Iowa, which Patnode said the young champ will miss, although they are considering attending the World Championships next year.
No worries about lack of medals though. Urette already has many under her belt. She received gold medals at the 2013 Florida Sunshine State Games, the 2016 Vermont Governor’s Cup, and more recently at the 2018 Vermont Governor’s Cup where she received gold in patterns and board breaking, and silver in sparring. Patnode rightly boasts, “She competed in a tie-breaker for the grand championship against a 15 year old male black belt!” The competitor won, but still, imagine a 12 year old having the confidence and skill to compete in this manner. It explains Urette’s further accomplishments at the 2017 Twin State Competition where she came in first in patterns and third in sparring and placed the same in the 2017 New York AAU Regional Tournament.
Of her recent tournament bronze win, Master Alisa says, “This medal was all for Sloane! It was an external validation of all the hard work that she has put into her training. This medal was a representation of her growth, confidence, and commitment to the martial art. It was a validation that she has the ability to face her fears head on and conquer them.”
It was recognition of these strengths that caused Urette to win the 2018 Fusion Taekwondo Student of the Year Award. The honor goes to the individual who meets a list of criteria including maintaining good grades in school, demonstrating a strong work ethic, and exemplifying the five tenets of taekwondo – Courtesy, Integrity, Self-Control, Perseverance, Indomitable Spirit. Alisa remarked, “Sloane went above and beyond her expectations.”
SOURCE: Carole Vasta Folley, The Other Paper