Oliver Blankenship

Growing up, NE student Oliver Blankenship would get into fights with other kids at school, so his mom enrolled him in karate lessons.

“Now, I say ‘Yes, ma’am’ and ‘No, ma’am,’” he said. “You learn discipline.”

Blankenship has practiced martial arts since the age of eight.

“I’ve done American tae kwon do, mixed martial arts and karate,” he said.

Originating in Korea, tae kwon do is less practical and based on fluidity of motion. Mixed martial arts are more what a person would use in a street fight, Blankenship said.

Blankenship, who has already earned his black belt in tae kwon do, studies under Master Chang Lee, a sixth-degree black belt.

“I’m not quite a black belt [in karate] yet,” he said. “But I’m striving for that right now. I go five days a week.”

Blankenship can be found teaching an occasional junior tae kwon do class, but his goal is to eventually instruct karate. He recommends the classes to children of all ages.

“I’ve learned self-respect and respect for others,” Blankenship said. “You have to respect yourself, and then you have to transfer that same respect you have for yourself to other people.”


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