Taekwondo Has Been a Part of Junior Justin Caringal for Nearly 11 Years


Credit to Pavan Kolluru

By Abby Martinez

 t’s a day for practice, and junior Justin Caringal is stretching and setting his mentality, ready to take on the challenges that come with being a second-degree black belt in taekwondo. He starts with training his body across the floor to get ready for what the rest of practice holds: sparring. These practices aren’t different from any other practice that Justin attends at Lyndell Institute.

 “I’m very proud of the accomplishments I’ve made there,” Justin said. “It’s also just a great source of exercise for me.”

 Justin has been a martial artist in taekwondo for close to 11 years now. He started when he was six, hoping to find a source of activity outside of school. Justin had always found martial arts of many kinds to be interesting. So at just six years old, he and his parents decided to enroll him in taekwondo.

 “I watched Kung Fu Panda as a little kid and just decided I wanted to do that,” Justin said. “That’s how I got started.”

 Through taekwondo at Lyndell Institute, Justin has come across many people that he gets to call friends. Taekwondo has brought many role models and supporters in his life. Most of them Justin has known since he started participating in and perfecting the art.

 “He almost grew up with the people he trains with over there for the past 10 or so years,” Justin’s mother, Faergels Caringal, said.

 Along with many of the friendships Justin has made, he was also able to participate in taekwondo with his younger brother, Jerome. The brothers were able to do taekwondo together for six years.

 “Growing up, I wanted to be just like him,” Jerome said. “So whatever he did, I wanted to do because when we were younger, we would always spend time together.”

 Being able to inspire his younger brother wasn’t Justin’s only way to help motivate many young martial artists. Justin instructs students, from ages three to 60, in taekwondo. He teaches on Tuesdays, Thursdays and occasionally Saturday. Justin has been teaching for three years now. In these moments, he shows his true leadership skills.

 “His leadership is the most improvement I’ve seen in Justin,” Sharon Thornton, Justin’s coach of 10 years, said. “He’s turned into what I call a great human being. That is just from so many different aspects, but his leadership has grown immensely over the years.”

 Justin has encountered setbacks throughout his years of doing taekwondo. He’s been passed up for a promotion and failed a belt test, but Justin’s work ethic and drive have never faltered.

 “He always does his best,” Thornton said. “That’s really one of our components that we strive to do. He does that, no matter what: tired, hungry, thirsty, not feeling well, having an injury of some sort. He always pushes.”

 Taekwondo brings a lot of light to Justin’s life. It allows Justin to be himself. It gets rid of the stress of everyday life, including the stress that comes with school. Having flexible taekwondo classes and motivation to have efficient time management, Justin is able to balance his love for the martial art and getting good grades in school.

 “It helps him with the stress he encounters,” Jerome said. “And he has always made a lot of new friends there, which makes me really happy.”

 Justin is very passionate about what he does and hopes to continue sharing his love for taekwondo with others. He wishes to bring the teachings and soft social skills that he’s gained from the art of taekwondo with him into the real world.

 “It’s become a really big part of my life,” Justin said. “I focus all of my time perfecting the art.