72-year-old black belt grandmother breaking barriers and boards in Taekwondo

Image 1 of 2

At Lee’s Championship Taekwondo Academy in Shoreview, students range from the young to the young at heart.

One student in particular really gets a kick of the Korean martial art.

"With every belt you get you are just as proud as can be but when you get that black belt you are excited and proud,” said Patricia. 

At 72 years old, Patricia is no Karate Kid. The grandmother of three started studying taekwondo eight years ago because her husband was interested in it. She earned a first-degree black belt a few years ago.

She even traveled to Korea to compete in an international taekwondo competition in 2017 where she placed third.

“I like the fact that I am keeping myself healthy, keeping my mind going, being flexible, working on my balance,” she said. “The self-defense is second, but it’s nice to have.”

In addition to learning self-defense, Patricia says taekwondo has also helped her raise her self-esteem. She says the ability to break boards at her age is also breaking down stereotypes of septuagenarians.

"The first time I broke a board I really wanted to make sure I was going to do it. I knocked the person over onto the ground,” she laughed.

In fact, Patricia inspired two of her granddaughters to follow in her footsteps.

"I think it’s kind of incredible,” said Ava, Patricia's granddaughter. “Not everyone can say their grandmother is a black belt. The fact that I can say that makes me really proud of her and makes me impressed as well."

What better example is there than a black belt in the sliver set?

“I’m doing it,” Patricia said. “I’m a senior citizen and I’m doing it.”