Haven Bouma getting a kick out of life

Eleven-year-old taekwondo athlete is the Chronicle's Athlete of the Month for June.

Eleven-year-old Haven Bouma practises a jumping back kick at home.Bouma is the Chronicle's Athlete of the Month for June.

Eleven-year-old Haven Bouma practises a jumping back kick at home.Bouma is the Chronicle's Athlete of the Month for June.

Working on her second degree (dan) black belt in taekwondo, Haven Bouma is one 11-year-old you don’t want to mess with.

Her power move is the jumping back kick, which she uses to full advantage when an opponent is running right at her.

“That surprises them, and if I land [well], I get points for that,” she said.

For the last five years, Bouma has been an astute student at Outreach Martial Arts and has been dedicated to improving her technique in sparring and poomsae (pattern). In September, she will test for her second degree black belt, which will require her to demonstrate several patterns, spar and demonstrate board breaking.

Then, after another three years of practising, Bouma will be permitted to test for third degree.

“You have to go as hard as you can; you can’t hold back,” she said.

Two days a week, you’ll find Bouma at taekwondo practice, and when there is a competition, she often practises more at home.

During Bouma’s last tournament in Port Alberni on May 26, she received gold in both sparring and poomsae.

She got her start in taekwondo at the age of seven, following in the footsteps of her father and sister, who are also black belts.

“They said it was a lot of fun so I joined,” she said.

What keeps her in taekwondo is a passion and talent for the art. It also helps keep her fit for track and field and U13 soccer, which she also competes in.

“For sprint hurdles and track, I probably couldn’t do it as well as I do now if I didn’t do taekwondo,” she said.

“If I didn’t really have sports, I might not be as energetic as I am right now.”

Bouma isn’t sure where her activities will take her, but she is looking forward to trying out for volleyball and basketball in high school.

But as long as she’s still practising taekwondo, boys should probably beware, jokes Paul Bouma, Haven’s dad.

“Maybe if I get to that stage in Grade 10 when I have a lot of homework [I’ll stop taekwondo], but I want to keep going with it,” she said.

Bouma said she is very thankful for the training she has received, especially from Master Kim Teh.