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A Westerville family is the first to make taekwondo a flex credit in their school district

A Westerville teen and her mother are leading the way when it comes to getting the required gym credits to graduate.

WESTERVILLE, Ohio — A Westerville teen is leading the way when it comes to getting the required gym credits to graduate. 

Martial arts takes disciple, determination, and patience. All characteristics Sierra Taylor had to tap into when she first learned her application for taekwondo to count as her physical education credit was denied.

Sierra's mom Jennifer Taylor says she soon learned taekwondo had to fit five requirements per state law before the school would consider approving martial art as a flex credit.

“We later found that taekwondo was not an approved alternative,” said Jennifer.

The five requirements that students need to hit are:

  1. Demonstrate a variety of motor skills
  2. Apply knowledge to movement and performance
  3. It must achieve health--enhancing and physical fitness
  4. Exhibit social behavior that respects self and others
  5. Recognize the value of physical activity

Sierra has been teaching taekwondo since she was 8 years old. Grandmaster Tan Tran, at Master Tran’s Martial Arts Academy in Westerville, says the kids at his academy train up to six hours a week in class and even more at home.

“Martial arts is a very well-rounded healthy activity through the physical element of training, but we also help build that level of confidence, respect,” said Grandmaster Tran.

Sierra and her mom took another shot at the flex credit application with the help of Grandmaster Tran, going point by point to show how taekwondo hits all five requirements. Finally a few days later, getting taekwondo approved for the first time with the district.

"It has a lot of benefits especially keeping fit and helping me to defend myself,“ Sierra said. She also mentioned how the sport has also taught her perseverance, which is a key component of taekwondo.

“When we do something, we set our mind and heart to it and focus and we achieve everything we set out to do,” said Grandmaster Tran.

That's why Sierra and her parents are now on a new mission to make Taekwondo accepted as a flex option in the school district and beyond.

“It is approved for the Westerville City School District, my goal is to get it approved for every school district in central Ohio that the kids here attend. Because this isn't just for my daughter, it's for everyone,” said Jennifer.

Sierra has her second black belt and now helps teach classes at the Westerville Academy.

Jennifer says she wants parents to know Taekwondo or any martial art is a good alternative if their child is not interested in traditional sports.

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