by Cole Potter
Everyone has a hobby. Whether it is playing guitar, binge watching television shows, or obsessively playing board games, one must always have an outlet for the pent up stress that a week of schooling and extracurriculars generates. However, not many of us can claim an ancient, deadly style of combat as something we might do on a Sunday afternoon.
Freshman Taylor Campbell is a competitive knife fighter, but her interest in the martial art extends far beyond it being just a hobby. Campbell faces off against international opponents in potentially life threatening situations on a fairly regular basis.
Campbell’s participation in the activity began in kindergarten when she was faced with bullying from her peers. Along with taking the traditional route of reporting the incidents to an adult, Campbell decided that further action needed to be taken. She switched schools and enlisted in martial arts classes to cope with and protect herself against the possibility of future bullies. Soon though, it became clear she had an innate talent for the sport, and she found herself moving quickly up in the ranks of her local studio.
Nowadays, she competes internationally with the US National Team and often faces off against rigorous competition. “I’m competing against ages fourteen to eighteen,” says the fourteen year old Campbell. She also manages to keep her composure in combat, “I rarely feel in danger. I have actually broken other peoples’ bones more than I have had mine broken.” Her parents agree with this sentiment, and have supported her in her martial art endeavors. However, even the parents of an international knife fighter have their limits, “They pulled me out of football. They thought it was too violent.” Her stint in the tackle sport only lasted a few weeks before she returned to the arena.
Now, as she begins high school, Campbell has found skills she learned in years of knife fighting to be valuable. She utilizes her inherent competitive nature to thrive on the field hockey team. The discipline that the sport has taught her has allowed her to manage her time well this year by still attaining good grades, attending two different sports practices every day, and taking up the new language of Japanese. Although one might think that Campbell was motivated to take Japanese because of countless years of participating in a sport with heavy Japanese and other Asian influences, her reasoning was a good deal simpler, “It was the only language available.”