Lynwood Taekwondo Athletes Head to Pan Am Competition

Lynwood, WA, June 22, 2022 – Four junior kickboxers, from Northwest Black Belt Academy in Lynwood, have been selected to represent the United States at this year’s Pan American Championships. The other two at the academy will battle for their home country of Malaysia.

The Pan American Championships is a continent-wide tournament where winners from their countries compete to see who is the best athlete on the continent. This year’s competition will be held in San Jose, Costa Rica and will feature athletes from North, Central and South America.

From June 30 to July 3, Victor Sanchez (15), Montana Miller (15), Tyran Allison (15) and Trinity Yamada (12) Put their years of martial arts experience to the test in one day, braces, knockout competitions, and see who comes out on top. Two other athletes, Emanuel Tan and Sebastian Tan (who also train at Lynnwood dojang) will compete for their home country of Malaysia while representing the North West Black Belt Academy.

Victor Sanchez has always wanted to learn how to fight and got interested in kickboxing by watching Power Rangers. While he doesn’t mind competing in the Olympics someday, the hard work and dedication involved in taekwondo, and what it has taught him about himself, is far more important to him than high-level competition.

He’s been practicing kickboxing for about four years, and he’s looking forward to discovering what it’s like to fight athletes from other countries in Costa Rica. A month later, when he returns from Costa Rica, he will fly to Bulgaria for the World Championships.

“Taekwondo is really hard sometimes, not only physically but mentally,” Sanchez said. “I wasn’t who I am today before I wasn’t that confident, but Taekwondo has helped me become a better person over the years. I have good morals, discipline and respect. I really encourage people to try Taekwondo, not only because You get fit and you gain really good life skills that will help you for the rest of your life.”

Montana Miller grew up in a kickboxing family where her parents were athletes before she was born. After her sister was hunted down by a “weird”, her parents decided to let their children learn martial arts. She eventually wants to work for the Olympics and has been practicing taekwondo for about eight years.

“Kickboxing is really fun, but it also creates a strong bond with your team,” Miller said. We are all like a family, it’s a way of life, it’s a great sport. “

Taylan Allison signed up for kickboxing because her parents wanted her to play a sport close to home and to meet before dinner. Taylan is a “baby in motion” compared to the others, but based on her work ethic and attitude, she’s at the forefront. In less than a year, she’s now going to the Pan American Championships.

Alison has been practicing taekwondo for about four years, and has started sparring this season. She is looking forward to fighting in a new environment and having a new experience in Costa Rica.

“I really wanted to stick with it because I loved it, and I wanted to keep gaining experience and working hard because I really enjoyed what I was doing,” Allison said. “Taekwondo is not only fun, it’s a discipline. If you make up your mind, you can achieve it, and I think that’s really important in life.”

Trinity Yamada’s parents wanted her to play a sport that would help her protect herself. She eventually wants to work hard to compete in the Olympics and other high-level competitions. She has been practicing taekwondo for about seven years. She looks forward to international experience and competition and to push herself.

“Taekwondo is very competitive. If you’re doing Taekwondo, you should love it and you shouldn’t do anything you don’t want to do. Taekwondo teaches you a lot about the way of life…respect, discipline, and it’s fun,” Trinity said.

Before the competition, the athletes competed in a series of four championships, including state, regional (or Grand Prix), national, and then represented Team USA in the finals. They chose to play at the Pan Am based on their scoring and performance in those four games.

“The work ethic and drive of these guys is amazing,” Joe Whitworth, founder and coach of Northwestern Black Belt Academy, told The Lynwood Times. “The approach we take is to work hard and see where it takes you. The process is important, the journey is important, where we end up is where we end up, but the mentality is that these people will always go for it gold medal.”

Master Joe Whitworth was born in Korea. He lived in an orphanage until he was adopted by his English-speaking American family at age 10. In elementary school, as a foreigner, he was mocked and bullied by other children, so soon after he arrived in the United States, he began to learn taekwondo at the local school. Martial arts gave him the confidence he needed to hold on to himself.

Currently, Master Qiao is a 5th dan black belt and has 25 years of martial arts teaching experience. Master Qiao has high hopes for his students. He encouraged his students to study hard in martial arts and school. Students turn to Master Joe for technical guidance, a lesson in life, laughter after class, and inspiration for tough times.

“I never really wanted to teach kickboxing, it wasn’t my goal, I knew I wanted to teach and help kids because I’ve been through it, but it kind of fell on my lap,” Whitworth told The Lynnwood Times.

Master Joe Whitworth (centre) and his students at Pan Am in Texas.

For those interested in watching the Pan Am Championship, you can watch the event live on

The dojang also set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for athletes’ travel and competition expenses. To donate visit

“These people work really hard, they work about six days a week, about two hours a day on average. They’re dedicated kids, they get good grades, they’re just good people,” says Master Qiao.

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