A Cache Valley resident won the 2019 USA Taekwondo National Championship on Monday in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
After competing against five other finalists in the Black Belt Ultra Division, Mendon resident Polly Williamson was crowned the national champion.
“She’s a very determined lady,” said Mark Allman, Cache Valley Martial Arts and Fitness owner and head instructor. “Once she’s set a goal, it’s going to happen.”
To make it to the national tournament, Williamson had to qualify by placing in first, second or third place in state tournaments. She qualified in both the Nevada and Utah state qualifying tournaments.
Although Williamson competes in taekwondo, she studies the art of kyuki-do, which mixes various martial arts including taekwondo, judo and hapki-do.
Williamson said everyone in the gym helped her prepare for the tournament during sparring because she learns from everyone in the class.
“Everybody thinks that Taekwondo is an individual sport because it’s just you in the ring,” Williamson said. “I can’t name a single person in this gym that hasn’t helped me get to … the national level and to be able to come out on top.”
Williamson, who teaches for AKF Martial Arts, began to take lessons in March of 2016 after watching her four children train.
“I was already here all the time watching them do it,” Williamson said. “It was something I’ve always wanted to do but never got the chance, and finally (I) worked something out with the instructor.”
According to Allman, Williamson has had many injuries, including broken bones, in her short run in the sport but hasn’t let them slow her down.
“She seems to take those injuries and come out stronger on the other side,” Allman said. “She gets discouraged from them but she seems to work through them.”
Aside from being a mom, an instructor and training, Williamson also teaches girls and women self defense from Alpine to Idaho. She also helps with the annual self defense seminar “Fight Like a Girl,” scheduled to take place in August.
Williamson said her motivation to teach the classes and help with the seminar stems from challenges she faced in the past.
“I’ve always felt very strongly that girls and women need to be able to defend themselves because they never know what situation they’re going to be in where they need it,” Williamson said. “It’s better to know it and not need it than need it and not know it.”
For more information on self defense classes by Williamson, she can be contacted via email at email@example.com.