Competitive martial arts

Competitive Martial Arts


We recently connected with Erin Smith, Laurel Springs senior and Competitive Martial Artist. We learned about Erin’s dedication to martial arts and competition, as well as her passion for teaching and travel. We also spoke with Erin’s mother, Anne.

Erin competes in a total of four martial arts events: traditional and contemporary weapons kata (a pattern of strikes), open hand kata, and point/speed fighting. She loves working with younger athletes and sharing her passion for the sport with them.

“I chose to attend online school because I am a competitive martial artist. I currently hold 7 national champion titles from the North American Sport Karate Association. Almost 6 years ago I began training recreationally in martial arts and I haven’t looked back since!”

While Erin is not competing or working on schoolwork, she enjoys practicing martial arts, working out, and babysitting. Erin is also an avid participant in several Laurel Springs clubs.

“Since I started high school at Laurel Springs, I’ve been in Student Council, Model UN, and fashion club. I was one of the 9th grade representatives in Student Council, and I attended the Model UN NYC Conference with Ms. Nehr and the rest of the team. It was an amazing experience, and I met people there I’m still friends with!”

When asked about a typically for Erin, her mother Anne shared, “a typical school day varies for our family widely between my 14-year-old, home-schooled son and my 17-year-old daughter attending Laurel Springs. While my son prefers that I direct his daily agenda, my daughter prefers to do it solo. Thanks to the Learning Management System, she can plan and allocate her time so that she finishes her work accordingly. Erin’s school days’ change based on her training schedule and travel schedule, but a typical day would be doing some school work during the morning and afternoon, then training in the afternoon or evening. If she is traveling, then she tries to work ahead the week before so she does not get behind.”

Erin was homeschooled through 8th grade and then decided to move to an online school program. “That summer of my freshmen year, my parents gave me the choice to go to a private school and only train recreationally or to switch over to online school and continue competing and training seriously. I’m definitely very thankful that I chose online”.

“I love the flexibility that Laurel Springs provides”, says Erin. “I don’t miss days of school like I would in a public or private school when I have to travel for competitions! The biggest thing is to realize that you are responsible for your own work and to manage your time well.”

“Erin has enjoyed her experience at Laurel Springs from the beginning”, says Anne. “Entering as a 9th grader, she deeply wanted to ‘belong’ to a student body — and she found a home in the virtual community of Laurel Springs School. We evaluated several other online high schools, but we chose Laurel Springs because of its sound reputation, a wide range of academic offerings, and state-of-the-art technology. Attending Laurel Springs has also enabled Erin to pursue her goals in martial arts. She can accomplish her studies completely on her own schedule, not on someone else’s.”



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