How a Tae Kwon Do champion carved a space for women ‘power breakers’

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Among practitioners of Tae Kwon Do, people who can smash clay, granite, wood, and other solid materials with their hands and feet are known as “power breakers.” The World Tae Kwon Do Championship holds breaking competitions each year, but only recently established a women’s division, thanks to power-breaking whiz Sloane Cameron.

Profiled as part of NBC Out’s #Pride30 series, Cameron had previously broken records when she sliced through 11 boards during the U.S. Tae Kwon Do Hanmadang, or festival. Hoping to see more women compete at an international level, she worked with World Tae Kwon Do to create a women’s power-breaking division. More than 25 women competed in the games. Cameron earned a gold medal, and snagged a world record during the back kick event.

Operating within a male-dominated sport has not always been easy for Cameron, but she has been determined to persevere in the face of doubt and condescension.

“I was told, ‘We don’t want you to hurt your delicate feet,’” she recalled. “As a woman who was breaking those stereotypes and wanted to compete with men, it fueled me harder and harder.”

Read more at NBC Out.


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