Oregon woman with Down syndrome is master of Taekwondo

At 30, woman with Down Syndrome is a master of Taekwondo

She’s tough, she’s fierce, and she’s fearless. Rachel Lee is proving she can do anything—one broken board at a time.

Taekwondo has been part of Rachel Lee’s life for a long time.

“We started Taekwondo when I was 9, like 21 years ago,” said Lee.

She’s punched and kicked her way through any challenge. Born with Down syndrome hasn’t stopped her. At 30 years old, she’s considered a master of the sport.

Martial arts runs in the family. She often trains with her mother, Joy, but she got into the sport because of her brother.

“I started because my brother likes Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” Lee said with a smile.

About 100 students, of all ages and different skill levels, were put to the test and Lee was the most advanced. Earning her fifth degree black belt.

She’s a student of Olympic gold medalist Jegyoung Kim who is impressed with Lee’s heart and determination.

“Better than an Olympic champion. She's disciplined, working hard, her effort. She’s mentally stronger than any other person.”

Kim says Lee is the first of his students to earn a fifth degree black belt.

Her mother doesn’t know anyone with special needs at this level of Taekwondo.

“I feel she's an ambassador for people with special needs in the whole world,” said Joy Lee. “There are a lot of students just in the West Linn and Lake Oswego area who have become our students because of her.”

Lee trains at World Champion Taekwondo in West Linn. She plans on working towards her sixth degree belt.

© 2017 KGW-TV


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