Taekwondo was a natural fit for Charity Beyer.

She describes herself as a lifetime lover of martial arts and has participated in the sport for 14 years.
She also volunteers her time as a Schools of Knowledge, Inspiration, Exploration and Skills taekwondo instructor here at Fort Belvoir.

But even as Beyer, a military technician with the 398th Financial Management Center, helps young athletes develop their talents in the sport, she has her own personal goals to achieve.

She is currently in San Jose, Calif. with the All-Army team for the U.S. Senior Nationals Taekwondo Champions Tuesday to July 3.

The path, she said, wasn’t an easy one.

Beyer participated in the All-Army and Armed Forces team trials in February. She described the event as a three-week camp for servicemembers to compete for a place on the Armed Forces team and, in her case, the All-Army team.

“There’s a lot of running and kicking,” she said with a smile. “Lots of cardio and intense training. The camaraderie was great, and there were really wonderful coaches. I learned so much.”

During the trials, Beyer tore her meniscus.

“I had to stay off my leg for a month,” she said. “That’s very hard to do when you just want to kick something.”

The injury derailed her chances to make the Armed Forces team, but she still qualified for the USA Taekwondo nationals with the Army - a feat Rick Wilkins, senior master taekwondo SKIES instructor, is proud of regardless.

“We are elated at her success, and this is truly a great honor for the program,” he said.

With her leg healed, Beyer said she feels ready to compete.

“I plan to have fun with it,” she said. “I feel good right now. I’m not nervous, and I just want to do the best I can. Right now, I’m nice and calm about it, but when I get there, I know I’ll be a lot more competitive.”

Beyer said she’s grateful for the opportunity the Army has given her to compete.

“I probably would have never joined without being in the Army,” she said. “I wish I’d known sooner because I would have done so much more, like the (Army World Class Athlete Program).

“I’m still grateful,” Beyer continued. “I’m blessed to be competing anywhere. Even though I didn’t join WCAP, I told myself this is a goal I set for myself, the one thing I said would definitely do, and I’m doing it.”

Despite years of training, Beyer admitted one of her greatest lessons comes from the youth she instructs in the SKIES program that has less to do with discipline and more to do with letting go.

“The kids have definitely taught me to relax and have fun,” she said. “As adults sometimes, we sometimes make things all business, but even in competition, we have to let some of those things roll off our backs.”