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"Everyone knows Ilyaz, and we love having him here," says Mya Pritchard, a second dan black belt who trains at the studio. "He's an asset to us because of his enthusiasm."
"I'm no different," says Ilyaz. "People might say, 'Oh you poor little thing,' but I'm no different.
While Ilyaz may not have the physical strength and coordination of many of the other martial artists training at the school, few can compete with him in terms of enthusiasm.
Ilyaz chases him across the room with a flurry of kicks. As Jeong moves, he calls Nike Jackets No Zipper out commands so Ilyaz can track his movements.
The progress his son has made since taking up taekwondo has surprised Riaz, and has improved almost every aspect of his life. As a result of the training, his sense of direction and awareness has greatly improved.
Ilyaz is a common sight at Jeong's Taekwondo Academy in Maple Ridge, where he trains. While his fellow martial artists perform drills with each other, Master Ki Jeong works specially with Ilyaz, who repeatedly strikes a heavy pad held by Jeong.
Ilyaz, now 16, was born more than three months premature, weighing only a pound. His father Riaz says there was little hope for him to survive, but survive he did.
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When Ilyaz first came to Jeong's, we could barely do a single push up.
Despite his physical impediments, Ilyaz recently completed his green belt last month after more than a year and half of training. The belt is the third of 10 colour belts, each a step toward earning a black belt.
Ilyaz says he considers the studio to be his second home, and Master Jeong to be a second father.
"I do get frustrated a lot, but here I learn to be strong," he says.
Jeong's other students love having Ilyaz around as well.
Ilyaz's dream is to one day become a black belt. While that might not seem likely given his condition, Ilyaz takes great pleasure exceeding people's expectations of Nike Sweatshirts For Girls Black
"The movements were hard at first, but once you do it a million billion times, it's automatic," says Ilyaz. "I try to make the impossible possible."
Most importantly, though, is that Ilyaz feels welcomed at the martial arts studio, and that camaraderie and support has helped Ilyaz become more confident, more disciplined and more focussed.
So much of the sport is visual, Riaz says, so it takes a very patient instructor to work with a blind athlete, not to mention an autistic one.
"When he first came here, he couldn't even do one push up," says Riaz.
"He's always ready, he's always positive," says Jeong, a seventh dan taekwondo master from South Korea. "I love to challenge him, because, all the time, he wants more, more, more."
"Honestly, I didn't think he'd get to green," Riaz says. "But he's very committed, and works very hard. We're so proud of him."
be difficult he doesn't have a lot friends," Riaz says. "But here he is totally comfortable."
Ilyaz Mapara has been fighting since the day he was born, so it's no surprise how well he has taken to taekwondo.
But for Jeong, training Ilyaz has been a joy.
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gets his belt
"I'm Master Jeong's student," he adds, with no small amount of pride.
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