LINCOLNTON, N.C. - When most people get into high school, they begin to find a way to get involved and figure out their identity. West Lincoln High School senior Kirsten Robertson has been building her high school career off of martial arts. She spends her Monday, Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday nights at SAGA Combat Systems, a martial arts studio in downtown Lincolnton.
Robertson didn’t immediately jump into all that she is now doing, though. About four years ago, she visited her uncle in Florida with some other family members, one of which was her brother. Her uncle, big into martial arts, invited her and her oldest brother to join him for a class. This didn’t spark much into Robertson about the sport, but it did inspire her brother to go to another class back in Lincolnton. She jokingly said that her older brother “dragged” her along to a class at SAGA one night, and she surprisingly “had a blast!” Sensei's Scott and Janelle White own and operate the studio and were more than thrilled to welcome both Robertson and her brother.
From there, Robertson participated in several NAGA’s, the largest North American Grappling Tournaments, and has come away with several accolades, even meeting some celebrities. When you win a tournament in NAGA, you get a sword, which she is a proud owner of as of 2013.
She has a lot of fun at the tournaments she goes to and even has the opportunity to make a lot of friends. Robertson recounted an event in which she was tapped out almost as soon as the match began by her opponent, which did not upset her at all. She was more curious and excited to learn how to do that move from her opponent. In a match, she says people do not really get mad as a first instinct of losing. They just use it as motivation to get better and learn more.
Lately, Robertson has been getting more into the Millennium Wrestling Federation (MWF). Around the age of 10, her family friends exposed her to this style of wrestling, and she slowly got involved, first working concession stands leading up to her being a side act now. She performs alongside two other side acts for the main act, Brittany Delvin. Their motto is L.A.W., meaning “Ladies Always Win.” She is currently in training for the MWF, which she described as “difficult but fun.” She thoroughly enjoys it, even though she has little time to learn, considering training is only once every two weeks.
While this has been a huge part of her high school career, Robertson is trying to head a different direction after her high school graduation.
She says, “With wrestling, I’m not into it for the actual wrestling. See, I do it because I’ve been around these people for a long time, and it’s another way for me to get involved with them. I love learning it; I love performing it for the people who live near me.”
She hopes to fulfill her general education requirements at Gaston College, and go onto the school of Disney to major in animation to eventually work for Disney. This honor’s student is shy about her artwork, but she feels she has a potential talent to pursue. She does not plan on cutting this completely out of her life, though. Robertson says that she would happily come back in later years if asked by the MWF to continue working with them, but she does not see a pro wrestling career in her future as of right now, though she certainly does have the ability.
She does say though she would not consider this part of her life over. She says, “It’s never really over. You can take breaks, but you always kind of come back to it.”
Robertson ended the interview with a heartwarming metaphor of how the sport would always be in her life. She said, “It’s like addition and subtraction; you learn-it just kind of sticks there. I mean, you might get a little rusty, but once you get back to it, it’s still there. And that’s what this is. I’ll probably be that goofball that comes back and try doing it again.”
For more information about SAGA you can contact them at (828) 851-9514 and the MWF by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
---Melissa Cordell graduated from Lincolnton High School and is currently studying Journalism and Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a nature and coffee enthusiast and enjoys warm weather. If you have a story idea for Melissa please let us know by emailing us at LH@lincolnherald.net.
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