First-year student with second degree black belt kickstarts new campus club

Diana Khosrovi, a first-year student at Westminster College, ties her second-degree black belt around her waist. “It took me six years to become a black belt and eight years to become a second-degree black belt,” Khosrovi said. Photo by Rachel Terran.

Diana Khosrovi, a first-year student at Westminster College, ties her second-degree black belt around her waist. “It took me six years to become a black belt and eight years to become a second-degree black belt,” Khosrovi said. Photo by Rachel Terran.

First-year student Diana Khosrovi attracted over 35 students to join her taekwondo club during the first weeks of school. Khosrovi, a second-degree black belt from Boise, Idaho, went from disliking taekwondo to obtaining two black belts and starting a college club.

Khosrovi is currently an exploratory major but is planning on pursuing pre-law. In the meantime, she said she hopes to lead students to become their best selves through martial arts.

Alyson Pinkelman, a first-year student from Las Vegas, Nevada, has been practicing taekwondo for five years and is working alongside Khosrovi as the assistant instructor for the taekwondo club. Pinkelman said she had to use self-defense in real-life situations growing up in Las Vegas.

“I could tell by sparring with Diana that she has a lot of experience, and I am really excited to learn under her,” she said.

Q: What did it take to become a second-degree black belt?

A: It took me six years to become a black belt and eight years to become a second-degree black belt. It involved dedication and training every day for over an hour. Taekwondo is really about the belief in yourself that you can improve.

Q: When did you first start practicing taekwondo?

A: I started maybe when I was around eight. Funny story—I didn’t really like it for a while. I quit for two years, and then I liked it again once I went back. My mom is Korean, so she really encouraged me to practice.

Q: How long did it take to become a black belt, and what was the process?

A lot of schools are very different. Some schools are corrupt in the sense that you can pay and they will basically give you a black belt. My school was different in that my taekwondo master would actually bend over backwards to personally help me improve not just at taekwondo but as a person.  

Q: What inspired you to start the club at Westminster?

A: I had a club at my high school and then after that I just really wanted to get people inspired about taekwondo here at Westminster.

Q: What’s the club turnout like so far? Is there a community here?

A: There were several people who were really stoked. We got about 35 or more sign ups and I have gotten a lot of emails saying, ‘I am really excited to join the club.’ I am really excited to help them grow as my master helped me grow.

Q: What do you think is the most important element to knowing self defense?

A: Taekwondo is more of a self defense thing for me simply because I have learned how to get out of locks that other people wouldn’t know. I feel more secure walking around at night because I have more knowledge under my belt—pun not intended.

Q: In what ways is it more of an art form or personal development?

A: Taekwondo is based upon the belief in yourself. There have been rough times in tournaments when I have lost by a tough margin. When I would win, that was my redemption. To me, it was more of an overall confidence booster and belief in myself.

Q: Why should people who have never tried taekwondo join the club?

A: I highly encourage people who think they can’t do things to at least try. A lot of times I would get discouraged. I lost my first match ever and that was a big crush. It always starts out really rough, but eventually you don’t want to stop. It is my own pride that keeps me going.