“And though she be but little, she is fierce”.
William Shakespeare was writing about his comical character, Hermia, when he let these lines to page. However, he could very well have been speaking of Waxhaw’s own Avery Pardue.
Pardue presents with a fragile bone structure and sweet face, nearly as cherubic as the sprightly fairies in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, yet one cannot be fooled by her blithe exterior, for she has the heart of a warrior.
At age six, Pardue decided to follow in the footsteps of her father and delve into the world of Taekwondo. She had no idea how far the sport would take her, and she is still learning it’s destiny in her life now at the tender age of 12.
Joined by her entire family, Avery started to study at WOW, Way of the Warrior, Taekwondo in Waxhaw. Today, they rival the family in Disney’s “The Incredibles”, in the awesome superhero family department. With 3rd degree black belt father, Travis, 2nd degree black belt mother, Lauren, 2nd degree black belt, Avery, and high red belt, little brother, Evan, this is a family you definitely wouldn’t want to mess with in a dark alley.
The entire family trains together and travels together to tournaments all over the nation. Most recently, Avery’s performance at a national American Taekwondo United competition in Orlando has been making her nuclear family, and her WOW family, proud.
Her dedication- committing two to five hours a day to training, tenacity- workouts that include steep hill sprints, balance, flexibility and strength training, and iron-solid determination allowed her to bring home a gold medal in her age group.
Such a distinguished performance at this tough national competition has rewarded her with an expense-paid trip to the upcoming World Taekwondo Federation Tournament, to be held in Montreal, Canada, this fall. Pardue couldn’t be more excited about her chance to represent North Carolina, especially Waxhaw, at this major tournament in September.
Although most tweenagers would be thrilled to be a “national best” at any sport, Pardue isn’t slowing down yet. While she maintains her demanding Taekwondo schedule, traveling to tournaments, outstanding grades, and a social life, this petite middle schooler has her eyes on the 2024 Olympics. Those who know Pardue’s drive know it’s a dream worth pursuing.
It’s clear that cultivating her body and her mind through this powerful martial art form has become as much a part of Avery Pardue’s life as is air or water. She quips, in a fashion almost too mature for a 12-year-old, that “Taekwondo is a great sport that girls can really enjoy. I never dreamed that sparring would end up being what I love the most about competing.
“I have learned so much about how far I can push myself (a lot more that I thought at first!) and have met so many people through my sport. I have gained confidence, and with that, it makes middle school so much easier. I have learned to be more prepared through hard training, and I have learned to never give up. All good things for me to take into life. And I get to kick people in the head. It’s a great sport!”
Avery Pardue, the readers of the Tri-W News will be eagerly supporting you along your journey toward your Taekwondo goal, and keeping a special eye out for those kicks in the head!