This month, a Florida woman with Down syndrome finally earned her black belt in karate. At 29 years old, Christina Haas is a fighter, and has been working towards this objective for over four years.
Luisa, Christina’s mother, was so excited to watch her daughter fulfill her dream:
“It was a joy. I was so proud of her because she has been working so hard.”
Christina’s instructor at Zone Martial Arts, Erik Ekholm, was afraid that she wouldn’t return after the pandemic prevented her from attending lessons for fifteen months. However, Christina came back as soon as she could to work on her takedowns, defense mechanisms, and board-breaking. She perfectly captures the center’s motto of “Being in the zone, staying on target and following through.”
She even urged her family members to become involved in the sport. Her father, Michael, states,
“She pushed me to go. She pushed all of us to go every day…To watch her persevere and to just set her mind to it and accomplish that goal, that is what is important in life.”
Christina loves the feeling she gets from karate, especially now she has received a black belt:
“It feels powerful. I like to feel power and strength.”