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East County Wednesday, Jun. 26, 2019 1 year ago

East County Athlete of the Week: Thai Webber

The taekwondo black belt talks passing his toughest test and his favorite food.
by: Ryan Kohn Sports Reporter

Lakewood Ranch's Thai Webber, 8, is a student at Lakewood Ranch Taekwondo Academy. He received his first-degree blackbelt in May. Webber's master, Craig Balliette, said Webber is the youngest recipient of the belt he has had in 40 years of teaching. 

When did you start learning taekwondo?

Four years ago. I spent the last three and a half years in South Korea near Camp Humphreys, where my dad (Vince Webber) was stationed. Everyone learns taekwondo there. I had the opportunity, so I tried it. It was challenging, memorizing all the forms. 

What is the appeal to you?

I like challenging myself. It sharpens my skills. I like the forms, the nunchucks, the self-defense and the kicks. I have a lot of favorite taekwondo things. 

What is your best skill?

I am good at the forms. My favorite is Koryo, which is the form I had to learn for my first-degree blackbelt test. 

What is your favorite memory?

Either getting my blackbelt or training with Grandmaster (JiMong) Choe in South Korea. 

What has been your biggest challenge?

Preparing for my blackbelt test. My blackbelt test was four hours long. I had to write an essay and read it in front of everyone. It was tough. 

What are your goals in taekwondo?

Keep going and learning until I am a master.

What is your favorite food?

White rice. We ate rice a lot in South Korea. 

What is your favorite subject?

Math and science. I like science because I get to do fun experiments. Math challenges me. 

What is your favorite movie?

"Avengers: Endgame." 

What is your dream vacation?

Going back to South Korea. It was hard to leave all of my friends. I miss it a lot. 

Which superpower would you pick?

I want Spiderman's powers. I could web up all of these people. Spiderman is also my dad's favorite. 

What is the best advice you have received?

Always try something until you are positive you can do it. 

Finish this sentence: "Thai Webber is ... "

... someone who wants to help other students get their blackbelts, too. 

I’m the sports reporter for Sarasota and East County and a Missouri School of Journalism graduate. I was born and raised in Olney, MD. My biggest inspirations are Wright Thompson and Alex Ovechkin. My strongest belief is that mint chip ice cream is unbeatable.

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