She may not look it, but Cheryl Krause is a fighting machine. A rising sophomore at Mason, Krause is training and competing in preliminary Olympic qualifications for the sport taekwondo, a Korean martial art. She just won a place on the 16-member USA Taekwondo National Collegiate Team after taking first place at the National Collegiate Championships in Denver last month.
Krause, who plans to major in Exercise Science, competes in the featherweight black belt category. This is the second year she has made the National Collegiate Team.
I had a chance to chat with Krause about her 15-year journey with taekwondo, which has been an Olympic sport since 2000.
How did you get into taekwondo?
My interest started 15 years ago when I accompanied my sister to her taekwondo class. That was when I grew an interest with the martial arts.
Where do you train? What is your training like?
I presently train at Phan University of Martial Arts in Burke, Virginia. However, before I go out to represent the United States Team, we train at least a week at the Olympic Training Center.
Without getting into too much detail, my coach has me working on plyometric drills and strategic sparring. Two months prior to a major competition he has me focus more on paddle drills, chest gear drills, and sparring. One week prior to the event, I then do everything to relax and mainly focus on my plyometric exercises so as to maintain my stamina and endurance between matches.
You’d like to major in Exercise Science? Are you hoping for a profession in taekwondo?
With taekwondo I get to travel around the world and represent my country and it’s an Olympic-recognized sport. I’m not positive at the moment that I want to make taekwondo my profession, but I can see the many benefits from it. As I’m doing this interview, I am actually assisting my coach in a seminar that we are hosting in Michigan.
What are your goals when it comes to taekwondo?
My goal is to represent the United States in the Olympics and to do everything that I can to maintain my knowledge in taekwondo.
How does college fit into your life?
Mason has helped me learn more about myself, my priorities, and has allowed me to learn how to balance my social life, my academic life, as well as my relationship with taekwondo. I’ve become more independent in my decisions and with the support of my parents, I have been able to maintain a healthy college life.