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The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

The Oracle

The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

The Oracle

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Martial artist has the chops

Ella Kaled kicks it at the 2024 World Championship
Dojo Mojo: Kaled sports her PUNOK uniform in a promotional shoot. Because of Kaled’s win record, she receives free gear as compensation for wearing their merchandise when competing. Photo courtesy of Jesus Larroche.

Standing center stage in a foreign country, junior Ella Kaled readies to make her first move. Twelve years of training in martial arts led her to be selected, for the second year in a row, out of several hundred others to represent the United States, at the world championships through the World Union of Karate-Do Federation [WUKF].

The 2024 WUKF World Karate Championships will take place in Monterrey, Mexico this year. Kaled, a martial arts student, previously competed at the 2023 World Championships and placed 14th. Although Kaled did not advance as far as she hoped, she was very proud of her performance and hopes to improve this summer.

“It was rewarding for me to go there and support my teammates,” Kaled said. “I hope this year, when I go to Mexico, I will take home a medal.”

Kaled specializes in a style of Karate known as Shotokan, a Japanese martial art split into three main categories: kihon, kata, and kumite, Kaled said. Last year at the 2023 World Championships in Scotland, Kaled participated in kata, a dance and performance based event, Kaled said.

“I am a first degree black belt in Shotokan karate [and] I’m going for my second degree in December of this year,” Kaleed said.  “I also have a background in Tang Soo Do which is similar, but [from] different country [and has a] different style.”

Kaled will compete in a variety of events this summer, including kata and kumite. Kaled is among a group of about 40 other athletes who have each been chosen from a pool of hundreds. She and her teammates will be competing against 4,000 other martial artists in her age group from around the world, Kaled said.

“I don’t know everyone because it changes every year, and it’s very selective, but I’m excited to meet the new people,” Kaled said.

Kaled trains and works at Fonseca Martial Arts in Park Ridge, mentoring young children in martial arts, Kaled said. Through this training, she has been able to create an impact on the future generation of karate students and help give back to the community, Kaled said.

“It always makes my day to brighten up these two, three, four year olds,” Kaled said. “[The students] are all so happy after class and that is really rewarding for me.”

In addition to martial arts, Kaled finds time to participate in a variety of other activities at South,  including  the Family Career and Community Leaders of America, Mock Trial Club, and the Fashion 5 course, Dawn Hall, Career and Technical Education Instructional Supervisor, said. Hall supports Kaled in the variety of activities she participates in.

“I have not seen someone very [so passionate about] their interests and their skills and it has just been a pleasure to get to know Ella,” Hall said.

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