No schoolyard bully better make the mistake of trying to take this kid’s lunch money. Christian Erhardt of Tempe has earned six Arizona Taekwondo state championships out of seven events. Now a Black belt, he plans to continue on to compete for a world championship title at the Black Belt level at the World Championshps in Little Rock, Ark. Extremely impressive, and even more so given his age—just 9 years old.
Erhardt first began to practice Taekwondo when he was 6, and has excelled in the three years since. It has taken no small amount of dedication or hard work, but the young athlete has embraced the challenge.
“Christian began this quest with a goal of becoming state champ,” Christian’s father, Troy Erhardt, said. “He has trained six days a week and missed out on a lot of ‘kid stuff’ like birthday parties and sleepovers. He’s always chosen to make the sacrifice to say on track with his goal. He has stayed focused and never wanted to quit or give up.”
Out of the seven events, Erhardt took first in six: Traditional Forms, Traditional Weapons, XMA (extreme) Forms, XMA Weapons, Creative Forms and Creative Weapons. In the seventh, sparring, he made it to the finals but took second place.
Christian trains at Black Belt Academy and Karate for Kids, located in Goodyear, under chief instructor Sr. Master Mark Lee. “Consistency in his training and the support of his parents and instructors has really helped Christian achieve success,” Lee said. “He is very dedicated to the martial arts and it shows in his enthusiasm and passion.” — Robert T. Balint