180FW Airman to Compete in Taekwondo World Championships

  • Published
  • By Air Force Staff Sgt. Shane Hughes, 180th Fighter Wing
  • 180th Fighter Wing
An Airman assigned to the 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, will be competing in the International Taekwondo Federation World Championships from July 31 through Aug. 5 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Airman 1st Class Lydia Delmonico, an information technology specialist, qualified to compete as an individual in the ITF World Championships in four categories: Pattern routines, power breaking, specialty breaking, and sparring. She also qualified for the U.S. team in the specialty breaking category. She and her teammates will represent the U.S. against hundreds of competitors from 28 other nations.

Pattern routines are detailed, choreographed patterns of movements practiced either solo, or in pairs, and characterized by the strength and precision of the movements. Power breaking involves using straightforward techniques to break as many boards as possible. Specialty breaking involves breaking fewer boards but using jumping techniques to attain greater height or to clear obstacles. One of the specialty striking events requires competitors to kick a board suspended 8 feet, 6 inches off the floor for males and 7 foot, 2 inches for females. Sparring is a scored and judged fight.

“This is a big competition, and, in Argentina, it’s their national sport,” said Carol Van Zile, a seventh-degree black belt and the owner of Great Lakes Global Taekwondo, where Delmonico trains. “I’m very proud of her. I think she has a real good chance to medal.”

“This is my first world championship,” Delmonico said. “I’m just excited to have the opportunity to go compete.”

Taekwondo has its origins in Korean military history and is characterized by its emphasis on head-height kicks. According to Delmonico, there are many similarities between her military training and Taekwondo.

“When you learn taekwondo, it comes with a history, philosophy and a mental discipline that you don’t find in other sports,” Delmonico said. “When you learn a pattern, there’s a history behind that pattern that you also learn with it. It’s more than just punching and kicking. It’s about becoming a better person. Courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, and an indomitable spirit are just some of the tenets of Taekwondo. Taekwondo means the same thing to me as the Air Force does; it’s about making a physically and mentally outstanding person.”

Delmonico’s hard work and determination have impacted everyone around her, both her teammates and her fellow Airmen.

“She has always been very dedicated and she’s a leader,” Van Zile said.

“She has a great work ethic, and I learn something every time I train with her,” said Brandon Nickens, one of Delmonico’s teammates who will also be competing for the U.S.

“She’s independent and self-driven,” said Senior Master Sgt. Charles Hollingsworth III, information technology superintendent assigned to the 180FW. “She takes that discipline from her martial arts training and brings it over to the military.”

Taking place every two years, the competition draws the best athletes and teams from around the world and has been compared to the Olympics.

“I like winning, but whether I win or not, this is an amazing experience for me,” Delmonico said. “It’s like the Olympics. You come together to do this amazing thing, to compete against each other, to represent your country. It’s a tremendous honor.”
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