Center students bring home medals from 2019 Gulf District AAU Taekwondo National Qualifier

Logan Galindo, Jahaziel Figueroa, Rex Payne and Zac Payne train locally at Self Defense America
Four Center ISD students competed at the 2019 Gulf District AAU Taekwondo National Qualifier in Houston, Texas on May 4.

Logan Galindo, Jahaziel Figueroa, Rex Payne and Zac Payne train locally at Self Defense America (SDA) under the direction of Master Tina Roddy.


“All of the students brought home medals in their individual events,” said Master Tina Roddy. “By winning medals in their individual classes and events, all four students qualified to compete in the AAU TKD Nationals and Junior Olympics this summer.”


Students participated in Creative Weapons Forms, Traditional Forms, and Point Sparring.   For traditional forms, students have to follow a predetermined set of movements, but for creative weapons forms, students are able to develop their own routine using a bo staff, kammas, or a sword. The other main event was point sparring, participants fight gaining points by landing a technique from a set of allowable kicks and punches.


“Competing is a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot of hard work and dedication,” said four-year veteran of AAU competitions and black belt Logan Galindo. “The best part is hanging out with your friends.”


Logan won gold in both of his events - creative weapons forms and traditional forms.  Red belt Jahaziel Figueroa competed in point sparring, creative weapons forms, and traditional forms and brought home the silver in all three events. Rex brought home a gold in creative weapons forms, silver in point sparring, and bronze in traditional forms. His brother blue belt Zac Payne won silver in traditional forms and bronze in weapons forms.


“I like competing in TKD because it’s fun and it helps me learn about myself,” said red belt Rex Payne, “where my limits are and how to push myself.”


“Winning is terrific,” said Logan’s mom Tracie Galindo. “ It definitely shows you that all of the hours of work had a purpose, but, as a mom, I enjoy seeing the support that these young men give each other.  They help each other achieve great things and support each other when the

judges’ decisions don’t go their way.  They give suggestions to each other on how to improve.  I love the character that is developed in this program.”


Gulf District AAU Taekwondo National Qualifier was sanctioned by the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), a national organization founded in 1888 to establish standards and uniformity in amateur sports.  Taekwondo is one of over 30 individual sports offered within the organization. Local competitors compete in Region 9 and then may qualify to perform at the Nationals event or Junior Olympics in the Summer.  Competitors in the Nationals event may be chosen for the National competition team to travel around the world, representing the United States.