EAST STROUDSBURG, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Martial arts students are typically intense and physical for various competitions. One local student who traveled to Puerto Rico for a competition had another hurdle to climb.

Chelsea Ferguson has been involved with karate for almost a decade now. Her passion for karate goes back to her early childhood and seeing her siblings in the sport.

“I really looked up to them so that was my motivation to do my best. Copy them and be as good as they were. Ever since then ever since I started I loved it,” explained Ferguson, a black belt at Pocono Self Defense.

After many competitions and years of practice, she’s been through a lot of tough days to get to where she is now.

“We used to train outside because we had a parking lot in front of our dojo. We used to train and go up and down doing kicks non-stop. It would be all of us in a line, it would be terrible and I hated it. But it really helped make me stronger,” described Ferguson.

That strength brought her to a big competition where she hit a speed bump.

“We went to Puerto Rico. It was my first international tournament. It was probably one of the biggest I’ve been to. There was nobody in my division in the women’s division, so I had to fight in the men’s division,” said Ferguson.

This challenge didn’t faze her a bit.

“In the dojo, I fought men and women so there was no difference to me,” said Ferguson.

Going up against a bigger opponent took her a little time to find her footing.

“So the first fight was the one I was most engaged in. It was four to zero, I was losing. I told myself, ‘I don’t want to lose, I’m going to do my best, and I’m going to go in.’ I got the points up to four / four, and the last point I did end up getting hit,” recalled Ferguson.

Barely losing her first match didn’t stop her from going up three points against her second opponent, who then forfeited.

Chelsea took second place and came home proud of her accomplishment, hoping to inspire the next generation with her spirit.

“Personally I know a lot of people that are scared because it’s new and something they’re not familiar with. You should take the plunge and try something new, you’ll surprise yourself you’ll excel,” stated Ferguson.

Here’s to you, Chelsea!

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