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Tashi Sherpa

Friends of this wonderful boy who was a shining example for all Himalayan children told us about him. We had heard mentions of his achievements. We did not go to an interview — we went to an awakening. There were medals and trophies galore: I have never seen so many in my life. I would have been a peacock strutting if I had but a tiny percentage of it. For a moment — I was proud to be a Himalayan. Every victory of his — be it small or big — was a victory of the community. While the child is no doubt a shining example — simple and humble — we could not help but see that this was all a result of good parents.
While the interview was limited to the wonderful boy, we could not help but notice how each parent kept note of every achievement and dates, not imposing or pushing aggressively the child but quietly standing by watching proudly – not guiding the interview – and letting the child speak openly.


Q. Could you tell us your name and some details on your self?

A. My name is Tashi Sherpa and I study at IS 141, Queens Junior School. I am in the eighth grade.

Q. Could you give us some details on yourself and the things that you do?

"But it was disciplined and teaches you self control and stuff and so I got more into it. Soon I was in the training group and my master saw some talent in me and started training me and I started doing better kicks."

A. I first started Tae Kwon Do when I was nine. That happened because my mom was worried about me and what I do after school and she wanted to keep me busy. I wanted to Tae Kwon Do because I thought it was a regular martial arts with karate-tripping stuff. But it was disciplined and teaches you self control and stuff and so I got more into it. Soon I was in the training group and my master saw some talent in me and started training me and I started doing better kicks. He saw that I was doing good and he started taking me out of state and after that a few years later I started to go to different states like Florida and Las Vegas and in Orlando and Tampa in Florida. These are the few places where I have fought.

Q. Could you tell us about some of the prizes that you have won?

A. I won the gold at the Junior Olympics in 2003. This year we fought in Tampa for the US open and I won the bronze. There are many small tournament around New York and New Jersey that I have won. The small tournaments get you prepared for the bigger ones. Now adays they want to make Tae Kwon Do better so that people like us who don’t have that much money can go outside to places like Korea and European countries to fight.

Q. Could you tell us about your training schedule and how you prepare for all these events?

A. I train on Tuesdays Thursday’s and Saturdays. On Tuesdays. I train from 8:30 to 10 and Saturdays between two and five in the afternoon. We train to get our muscles ready and to study our fights. That’s why we videotape our fights to study what we have done wrong. My master also writes down my mistakes and in his absence I also have to train so I train on other days of the week, too.

Q. Is anything else that you do apart from Tae Kwon Do in your spare time?

A. I play with my friends in the park in Astoria and hang out with them. On other days when I am
not training I work from 4:30 to 8:30 and teach younger children – they look upto me in the same way
that I look up to Master. Master thinks that I am doing a good job and pays me 50 dollars a week.

Q. Tell us some of your likes and dislikes.

A. I like movies , comedy, science fiction horror and so on. I like Jet Li the best, and Kung fu movies. I used to watch a lot of Kungfu movies in Nepal. I want to travel abroad especially to Korea because that is where Tae Kwon Do comes from

Q. Did those movies inspire you?

A.Yes I used to watch Bruce Lee movies. My pop says that he used to look like Bruce Lee when he was young.. ( laughs…) every kid wants to be Bruce Lee or somebody.

Q. Do you think that other kids would be interested in such activities?

A. Yes, there used to be other kids with me and they used to follow me. When I first came from Nepal they were here before me and we went to learn Tae Kwon Do- and I went to camp with them because it was boring in the summer. And when I came back they stopped going because they felt that the
master was too hard on them. When the master sees talent, he pushes them harder. They just quit.

Q. What motivates you to practice so much?

A. There is nobody representing Nepal.There is that Gurung kid but he is not that great either. I almost beat this kid from Canada and he’s more experienced than me. He’s been around the world and he’s been doing Tae Kwon Do for I don’t know how many years but I just started five years back.

Q.Who do you look up to?

A. I look up to my master. When he was young, he had no one to train with. He was all alone and in the
Army. He saved up his money to build this school and he has already built another school in Long Island. He has a big house, a very nice girlfriend and four cars ( laughs loudly…).

Q. Do you have any girl friends?

A. No

Q. What do you aim for?

A. I want to be able to join the American team — the Olympic team — and travel around the world. I want
to make it to the US team.

"Stop being lazy. Do something. Quit sitting around and playing video games. You never know
where you will get — get off your butt and do something instead of sitting around."

Q. Do you have any messages for the kids in New York?

A. Stop being lazy. Do something. Quit sitting around and playing video games. You never know where you will get — get off your butt and do something instead of sitting around.