Posted by Premier Martial Arts Harlingen on 10/02/2017

National Champion: Eric Arriaga

National Champion: Eric Arriaga

Posted: Monday, June 29, 2009 12:00 am By FERNANDO DEL VALLE/Valley Morning Star 

As a boy, Eric Arriaga dreamed of rising to become a martial arts expert like his brother. 

Years later, he would climb to become a national champion. 

This week, he'll take nine of his students to the Junior Olympics in Austin. 

"We're a small club and this school has been able to produce national champions," said Arriaga, owner of Pil Sung Taekwondo in Harlingen (Now Premier Martial Arts Harlingen).

For Arriaga, tae kwon do became a big part of his life. 

When he was 5, his brother Ed helped fill him with the spirit of the sport. 

"I used to see him practice and I said I wanted to be like him," he said. 

Years of training helped lead him to a spot on the U.S. national team and a national championship, he said. 

"I've trained with the best and I competed with the best," he said. 

Last year, Arriaga opened Pil Sung Taekwondo.

 "I wanted to provide something for the community and show my talents," he said. "Our motto is constant effort, endless discipline and certain victory." 

Now he'll take nine students to Austin to compete in the Junior Olympics that runs from today through Sunday. 

"They're all pumped up and fired up," he said. "They're competing against the best in the U.S.A." 

The team includes Vincent Acuña, Samantha Capetillo, Jacob Cavazos, Kayla Guillen, Ebelyn Harriman, Joshua Hernandez, Alyssa Lopez, Nathaniel Maisonet and Oved Martinez. 

"Pil Sung's motto states, ‘Constant Effort. Endless Discipline. Certain Victory' and these athletes have proven that motto to be true," he said. 

"All their effort and discipline has already led them to victory and hopefully they will come home with the gold as well," he said. "They have trained many hours and gotten several bumps and bruises along the way but they are ready and focused to take Junior Olympics by storm. " 

For Arriaga, he's sharing a gift. "All my knowledge and experience I give to them, to younger players," he said. 

Submit Slice of Life suggestions to Managing Editor Lucio Castillo or City Editor Charlene Vandini at 430-6244 or charlenev@valleystar.com.

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