Zachery Budde: Taking Taekwondo to the Next Level
After years of hard work and sacrifice, Maple Grove resident Zachery Budde is gaining international recognition in the art of Taekwondo. After earning a spot on the USA Taekwondo Junior National Team, the Maple Grove Junior High School freshman represented the USA in a World Championship tournament in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. Budde sparred his way through the Flyweight division at the international competition back in April, gaining the eighth spot amongst 43 other competitors.
“It’s really an honor to be in the top eight because of how much I’ve trained and how much my family has sacrificed for me to do what I do,” Budde says.
The competition was not without its challenges. After traveling for two days, adjusting to a new culture, new food and a new time zone was just the beginning.
“The competition in Egypt seemed like it was a higher caliber of training, and everyone was there to win,” Budde says. “No one was there to see how they could do or just be there to be there.”
Budde has participated in other international competitions this year. In May, he traveled to Canada with elite members of his hometown team at Maple Grove’s World Taekwondo Academy to compete in the country’s Open Fly-Weight Tournament. He sparred his way to the top to gain the title of 2012 Canada Open Fly-Weight Champion.
Budde’s coach at the academy, Grandmaster Eui Yong Lee, says Budde is one of the best students the academy has ever had. Lee says that Budde has been able to compete at such a high international level because of his passion for the sport, his discipline in training, the sacrifice and support that he gets from his family, and having the resources and coaching staff that allow him to succeed.
“For him to persevere has been great,” Lee says. “He’s come a long ways in the past two years. He overcame obstacles where most kids would’ve just given up. But he’s come from nothing to the USA team, and it’s really a Cinderella story.”
Budde’s mother, Suzanne Budde, is very proud of her son.
“I’m humbled by his ability to put himself into situations way outside of his element and not only survive but excel in competitions. He shows so much dedication to what he loves, and to be his mom and see that is really great,” Suzanne says. “He’s a very cool kid and I think he’s just kind of figuring out how cool he really is. All his hard work has really paid off. He’s at a place now where he can sit back and realize that people around him talking about the really great athletes and competitors in Taekwondo are actually talking about him.”
Zachery also teaches at the academy and hopes to be a role model for students that he teaches. He wants to show them that it’s good to participate in sports and do well in school at the same time. The next competition for Zachery takes place in Dallas from June 28-July 4.
When I turned 16 in Maple Grove, I turned up my nose at any kind of transportation but a car. Man, did this pretentious...
Maple Grove resident Myla Meier is a beekeeper and proprietor of Sweet Bee Honey and Crafts. Meier’s business benefits...
Hairball the kitten is crazy, playful and loves people. With hair poking out of his ears like an old man, he was the...