Combat Rams – Sunghyun & Deguzman Take on the World


8th grader Eric Sunghyun and 10th grader Jake DeGuzman, who recently won the Oratory talent show with his Taekwondo skills, are very involved in the world of martial arts. This year, the two have qualified to represent Team USA at the World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships in Denmark this spring, (which is a huge honor; this is the biggest taekwondo event outside of the Olympics, and all ages are welcome to participate, so Eric and Jake really are competing at the highest level) so I sat down to talk with them about their passion and their upcoming challenge. 

The pair qualified for this huge honor by winning a national tournament. Jake qualified for freestyle taekwondo, something similar to his spectacular talent show performance, meaning high energy music and lots of kicking and flipping. Eric qualified for Poomsae, which is more similar to sparring, being done with another person. Their training process has been unique; their taekwondo schools and teachers are based in California. They are remotely coached, and a lot of the conditioning and work on their moves is done of their own volition, requiring incredible discipline. Both of them are competing in two divisions, team and individual, with both hoping to not only personally do well, but lead their teams to victory. The boys, when I asked them if they had any additional comments, said they wanted to thank Oratory and its community, who have been so supportive, especially with all the absences and the pressure that comes from two students competing in a sport on the world stage. I hope the Oratory community continues to support them, that we can watch them compete this spring, and I wish Eric and Jake good luck at the tournament.