Siblings Dominate In Martial Arts

The two Brahmas compete on the U.S.A Taekwondo National Team, traveling to Mexico and Peru.


Photos Courtesy of KARYN REAL

The Reals have earned medals at the Pan Am Games and World Championships.

Catherine Liu, Staff Writer

White, yellow, gold, orange, green, blue, purple, brown, red and black. While most who  undertake the martial art sport taekwondo see it as means to complete the belt ranking, a pair of Diamond Bar High School siblings have taken it to national competition.  

As members of the U.S.A Taekwondo National Team, Diamond Bar High School junior Karyn Real and freshman Ryan Real have pushed past the limits of belt ranking and attend yearly competitions.

“Being able to compete at such a high level and having that opportunity to compete, it really encouraged me to continue training hard so that I can get back up there again,” Ryan said.

The Real siblings were introduced to taekwondo at a young age; Karyn at six and Ryan at four. They started with their older brother, senior Joseph Real, but continued competing even after Joseph chose to stop taekwondo competitively.

Attending Young In Cheon Taekwondo, the Real siblings developed their skills over the years and earned their black belts in just six years. Holding a third degree out of nine in black belt, Karyn said that they chose to stop belt ranking to focus more on competitions.

“We don’t do the testing anymore because in taekwondo there are two aspects. There are recreationally and competitively, which is sport taekwondo,” Karyn said. “We stopped belt testing once we got third degree a couple years ago, and we focus more on the competitions.”

Some of their notable achievements were competing at USA Taekwondo National Championships and holding a spot on the USA Taekwondo National Team, which they try out for each year. Karyn has been on the team since 2014, while Ryan started in 2015 due to the age cutoff. As members of the team, they attend the Pan American Games and the World Championships, which alternate each year.

 For Pan American games and World Championships, they travel to different places each time, such as Limas, Peru or Aguas Caliente, Mexico. Although they’ve earned multiple awards, Karyn said that their most treasured awards are their medals that represent U.S.A at the Pan American Games.

“It really is an honor to stand on the podium with a medal on your neck and your country’s flag around you,” Karyn said. “It really gives us a great sense of pride and appreciation for the sport and the support we’ve received from our family, teammates and the national team.”

With year-round events, the Real siblings go on independent studies when traveling for taekwondo. Also, practicing on an average from 18 to 20 hours a week, the Real siblings learned early on to manage their time each day.

“The best part of the experience of being on the National Team is when you actually get to go to the competition and you get to compete with other high level people from all over the world,” Karyn said.

They are also currently on the DBHS track and field team to build up their stamina for taekwondo. Karyn states that track and field is more of a hobby, but has helped her create friendships and stay in shape for taekwondo.

The siblings said that having each other in taekwondo has motivated and helped them through many hardships that they faced in the sport. Karyn said it is also beneficial since they can practice together and learn different things when giving pointers to each other.

One of the difficulties that Ryan faced was competing with his small frame. However, through intense training, Ryan was able to overcome this disadvantage by seeing the benefits of his structure and adapting it in his routine.

“I just started training harder and it really has helped me push through that. I was able to see the benefits in life and reap the rewards,” Ryan said.

While they are both undecided about how they wish to pursue taekwondo in the future, Karyn said that one of her dreams is to compete at the Olympics.