What's Up South Texas!: Martial artist hopes to take skills to 2020 Olympics

A San Antonio woman is using her passion for martial arts to not only inspire others to get involved, but to push herself to possibly qualifying for the 2020 Olympics.

“There are so many styles to it,” said Clarissa Villanueva. “I can’t stop from learning them. There are arts from Korea and Japan and then there are subparts to those. It all fascinating.”

Villanueva started martial arts when she was just 6 years old.

“My dad put my brother and I in when we were very young,” Villanueva said. “He was three and I was six, but it was all to learn how to defend ourselves. He didn’t know how far it would take us.”

Villanueva, who is originally from the Rio Grande Valley, said as she and her brother got older, they were passionate about opening a martial arts school in the Valley named Team Tiger Martial Arts.

“We opened it in 2004 and we just took off with it,” Villanueva said. “It was hard, I am not going to lie. Here we are, trying to go to high school, earnf our black belts and run a school at the same time.”

After overcoming those obstacles, things began looking positive for their dreams as martial artists.

“Our parents pushed us and helped us and were the support,” Villanueva said. “Without that support I don’t know where we would be. When that black belt was tied around my waist, like, that was it. Now I feel like I can do anything. Like there is nothing I can’t accomplish in life now.”

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