Sarasota Military Academy freshman Isaac Weintraub fought his way to the semifinals, winning a bronze medal in his sparring division at the U.S. Open Taekwondo Tournament Feb. 19 to Feb. 23, in Las Vegas.
Issac was one of 2,000 competitors from 72 countries.
The 15-year-old, who is now ranked third in the world in the 15- to 17-year-old Bantam division, trains and competes at Red Tiger Martial Arts in Sarasota.
Issac is a third-degree black belt and a five-time Florida State champion. He will compete in the Florida State Championship April 6, and the 2013 Canada Open May 2 to May 5.
"I like fighting. It’s kind of like when I get into the ring I get this sense of this is where I belong.
I was really happy with my bronze medal. It’s hard to do. I’ve been to the (U.S. Open) two or three times before, but this is the best that I’ve done.
You have to work (even harder) to compete. The stuff you learn is 10 times harder than what you do in the ring. I take Taekwondo five days a week. I’m at the gym the other two days of the week.
I went to my first world tournament in 2009 and I won. It was kind of breathtaking. It was an accomplishment I had never done before.
I want to go to the 2020 Olympics. I have to train a lot, compete, win a lot and make the (Olympic) Trials. If I make it, I would know I’ve done something people rarely can do.
Taekwondo teaches you discipline. You have to control yourself emotionally and physically. Speed, endurance, psychologically and physically — it all evens out. Everything depends on the other.
There’s always something in a sport to learn. You just have to find out what it is.
I was thrilled when I got my black belt. It was something new and something different.
I started taking Taekwondo 12 years ago. It started with my dad taking my older brother. Eventually, he let me join. I saw my brother doing it and I wanted to do it."
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