We are proud to introduce to you Quest’s Black Belt of the month — Vincent “Vince” Cotugno. Vince earned his 1st Dan Black Belt only last December but already exhibits such strong leadership qualities that one may think he’s been a Black Belt leader for a while now. Confidence, determination and eloquence of speech are what this young man possesses.
Just have a quick conversation with Vince and he will impress you with his wit and articulation. For now, let’s find out more about his love for taekwondo… and other things.
Vince, how old are you now and at what age did you start taekwondo? — “I turned 10 last May 4th and I started taekwondo at 5 years old.”
What is it that you like about taekwondo and what is your ultimate goal as a taekwondo athlete? — “My favorite part about taekwondo is poomsae and big moments in sparring, like when it comes down to the last second in a match. My ultimate goal is to become a National Champion.”
Tell us about a peak moment in taekwondo, one that you are especially proud of and will never forget. — “My peak moment is when I became a black belt.”
In all the tournaments you have competed in, what match stands out the most for you that you would consider as the most challenging one? — “In the 2019 International Fight Showdown, I had to go against my own teammate (Nick Enage)… with no coaches!”
Other than being an avid competitor, please share with us your other accomplishments outside of taekwondo. — “I just made the All-Star baseball team and I’ve also played flag football and soccer. I was on my school’s Robotics Team and we won the Regional Qualifier.”
What advice would you give a beginner student who wants to be a black belt someday? — “From the book Riding Freedom, “You gotta do what your heart tells you. Never doubt your beliefs!”
You are very good at leading and assisting the junior belts’ classes. Where do you think did that gift come from or how did you develop that ability? — “I try to act like the older black belts who I have seen leading classes.”
You’re also very quick to learn other languages like “Tagalog” while you’re also learning Hebrew, What other languages do you want to learn and why those languages? — “I would like to learn German (because I’m half German) and Japanese because a lot of my friends at school speak Japanese.”
What are your favorite things? — “My favorite sports are taekwondo and baseball. I like to learn about Geography, History, and Ancestry. And I love my dog Bud!”
How about pet peeves…what are things you just dislike? — “It bugs me when I’m disagreeing with someone and they start whining. I really don’t like it when people don’t keep their word.”
If you were a fictional character who or what would you be and why that character? — “I would be a futuristic hero that would save people’s lives using taekwondo!”
Please finish this sentence: “Most people don’t know that … .I like to sing, especially in the car!”
If your friends and family were to describe you, what adjectives would they use? — “Disciplined, strategic… and funny!”
If there is one famous person you could spend the whole day with, who would that be, and what would you talk about? — “It would be Dwight Eisenhower and I’d talk to him about World War 2 and the strategy behind D-Day.”
What do you think is the #1 thing that young people these days should learn as they’re growing up? —“Pay attention to your surroundings. If you don’t know what’s happening, you can get yourself into trouble!”
What words of wisdom can you share with other young men your age? — “Don’t stop believing!”
Are there other things you want the readers to know about ‘Vince Cotugno’ that we haven’t asked you in this interview? — “I have a really good memory! For example, I can identify almost all the flags of the world.”
Lastly, tell us about your most important wish at this moment. Maybe someone who’s reading this can make that come true for you. — “I would like to travel the world and study the geography and history of every country.”
There is no question in my mind that Vince will be globe-trotting, Indiana Jones style, and learning not only languages but also dialects, as well as the culture, history, and geography of the countries he sets his mind to visit This is a determined young man, smart, gutsy and very decisive, and like he said, “Don’t stop believing!” … and he will not ever stop believing in himself.
We have another outstanding Black Belt to feature next month, so please check in or subscribe to our blogs. If you’re in the South Bay area, swing by Quest Taekwondo and watch these amazing young Black Belts and future Black Belts train. We have every taekwondo and fitness program to suit every age group and physical profile. Check out our home page for new promotions and offers.
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Until then… “For every obstacle there is a solution. Persistence is the key. The greatest mistake is giving up!” ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower