As we promised, we are featuring another outstanding Black Belt this month, Mr. Benjamin Forsell — Quest’s Black Belt for the month of June. Ben is now a 2nd Dan Black Belt, and has not just grown in size and height since he started as a Taeki, but has definitely matured in character and disposition.
Having a conversation with Ben is like being studied by a “profiler”, as if one is being examined under a microscope and analyzed. His analytical mind will only state facts, and for a twelve year old, you’ll uncover the depth of his thoughts through this interview.
Ben, how old are you now and at what age did you start taekwondo? — “I am 12 now and I started Taekwondo at the age of 5.”
What is it that you like about taekwondo and what is your ultimate goal as a taekwondo athlete? — “I like taekwondo because it is a well-rounded activity. It teaches physical skills such as speed and endurance, mental skills such as focus and discipline, and moral skills such as respect and dedication. My ultimate goal as a Taekwondo athlete is to get better at these skills, because it will help me become a better version of myself.”
Tell us about a peak moment in taekwondo, one that you are especially proud of and will never forget. — “I am especially proud of my first degree black belt test. I feel like this was a peak moment because through my experiences, black belt tests are much harder than color belt tests, and that the hardest black belt test to go through, is your first. Turning into a black belt marks the moment in which you have the responsibility of giving back what you have learned, and marks the beginning of your leadership role in taekwondo.”
In the tournaments you have competed in, what match stands out the most for you that you would consider as the most challenging one? — “I remember one time at a taekwondo tournament, I was sparring as a color belt. I felt confident, and won my first few matches, but in the final match, I had to go against a kid that I could tell was clearly out of my weight class, and much taller than me. Then, I got kicked in the face. It was hard because there were too many thoughts flowing in to focus on the fight, such as: ‘What’s the score? Who’s winning? My face hurts! I am getting tired! Did he cheat to get into this weight class? There is little time left! I am so angry at him for kicking me in the face! Was it on purpose or accident? What is my coach saying?’ In the end, I got second place, with him getting first, but at the end of the tournament, I managed to stay calm, be a good sportsman and accept my placing.”
Other than being a Black Belt in taekwondo, please share with us your other accomplishments outside of taekwondo. — “Outside of Taekwondo, I have other hobbies that I love to do. I play piano, as I have been since I was 5, and I love it. I recently competed in a Bach competition, and got to the regional level, and every year I get to go to the state convention for piano composing and improvising.
I also love robotics, which I have been doing for 3 years. My first year was at my school’s team, the second at a different robotics place in Palos Verdes, which was when we won an award at the World Championships, and the third year at the same place in Palos Verdes, in which we got to the National Championships. Finally, in 5th grade, I won the President’s Award, which means that I got a 4 in every subject and at least an “S” in every category.”
What advice would you give a beginner student who wants to be a black belt someday? — “Make sure to not quit taekwondo (many people do within the first few months), remember to at least keep up with your classmates, and practice each of your techniques, no matter how good you think you are at them.”
You are very good at arnis/escrima (sticks). What do you like about the art of stick-fighting? —“In Taekwondo, I am better in poomsae rather than sparring, because in sparring, blocking with your arm one inch too high won’t do anything, but in poomsae it does and I am good at watching out for that one inch. Also stick fighting doesn’t require much strength, but more multi-tasking and coordination.”
What are your favorite things? — “I really like STEM, piano, taekwondo, robotics, marvel movies, and the color blue.”
How about pet peeves…what are things you just dislike? — “II dislike rule-breaking, dishonesty, and taking more than the fair share.”
If you were a fictional character who or what would you be and why that character? — “I would like to be Doctor Strange because he is a powerful superhero, but compared to other heroes, saves people on a mass level, and uses strategy above all else.”
Please finish this sentence: “Most people don’t know that I…am bilingual, I speak English and Arabic.”
If your friends and family were to describe you, what adjectives would they use? — “Kind, honest, reserved, ethical, intelligent (According to my mother)”
If there is one famous person you could spend the whole day with, who would that be, and what would you talk about? — “I would spend the day with Albert Einstein, because he was one of the greatest scientists ever, who completely changed the way we think of the universe. I would talk about my questions about science that people around me can’t explain.”
What do you think is the most important thing that young people these days should learn as they’re growing up? —“I think that people should learn one of Einstein’s famous quotes: “You never fail until you stop trying.”
What words of wisdom can you share with other young men your age? — “Effort means practice, practice leads to progress, progress gives you skill, and skill leads to talent.”
Are there other things you want the readers to know about ‘Benjamin Forsell’ in this interview? — “Yes, on the first day that I came to Quest Taekwondo, I cried and tried everything I could do to avoid it, and I wouldn’t even step on the mat, but now I am thankful for my parents forcing me because there was no way I could have guessed that I would start at that, and turn into a second degree black belt who got Black Belt of the month.”
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 think that I want a kicking bag to practice my techniques and my sticks on, so I could become a better martial artist.”
It was a pleasure interviewing Ben Forsell — To have a glimpse of his thoughts during his tournament match, his insight about what should be important to the youth of this generation, and his first time experience on the taekwondo mat as a 5-year old, simply reveals the honesty of this young man. And in this day and age, we need honest and ethical young people to help shape a better tomorrow!
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.
Follow us also on Facebook to get the most current news and updates!
Until then… “Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” ~ Albert Einstein