Dot girl, 8, wins awards, respect in national Taekwondo championships

Noa Taylor, 8, is shown with Master Fredson Gomes, co-founder and operator of Modern Taekwondo Center.

Noa Taylor is an 8-year-old kid who knows a thing or two about martial arts. The Dorchester girl beat out 11 other kids in the USA National Taekwondo Championships this summer, taking home the silver medal in forms and bronze medal in sparring.

Taylor is a student at Modern Taekwondo Center (MTC) on Gallivan Boulevard, operated by Fredson Gomes, the chief instructor and founder. The center provides programming for girls and boys ages 4 to 12 years old and high-energy classes for teens and adults.

Taylor followed in her eldest brother footsteps when she was just 4 and a half years old and joined MTC.

“Noa has always been very detail oriented,” said Gomes. “But I would say her biggest improvement is emotional control. She is still young, but able to deal with certain things that happen when you’re sparring or when you’re in competition that don’t necessarily feel great, but it’s all about how she handles it.”

Thanks to her coaches— Cyriesse Hall (Ms. Shelly) and Imge Ceranoglu (Ms. Imge)— who are dedicated to training both the body and mind, and the continual support of her family, Taylor just graduated from a blue belt to a red belt.

“When she said to me that she wanted to compete, I was a bit reluctant,” admits her mom, Natali Taylor. “She was very determined to get me to change my mind, and when I did I saw the results, her happiness and her determination.”

“She wakes up every morning at 6 a.m. and practices for an hour. It’s about self-control and discipline, but she’s also learned camaraderie. She really has a family and team [at MTC] and she absolutely loves it,” says Taylor.

Taylor plans to earn her black belt by the time she turns 9. In her spare time, she’s a voracious reader and enjoys dancing and singing.

“She’s an amazing little person,” says Natali. “The one thing she did say to me was, ‘Mom, I’m going to the Junior Olympics’.”

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