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Keep fighting toward your goal

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jaeda Tookes
1st Lt. Elizabeth Guidara, 12th Missile Squadron missile combat crew commander, is training to become the first female Air Force officer to go through the Marine Corps Martial Arts Center of Excellence, and to go through the Martial Arts Instructor course.

"Once I finish the course, I will be a certified combative instructor and be able to teach combatives anywhere in the world and at any base," said Guidara.

While in college, Guidara's best friend introduced her to a boxing club.

"I fell in love with it," said Guidara.

Guidara has trained in the District of Columbia, Korea, New Zealand, Thailand, California and now Montana. She has been training for a year and a half.

The Marine Corps training course is 10 hours a day, five days a week to include training and test taking. The Marines also have their own color belt system, and participants must have a gray belt to enter.

Guidara admits her biggest weakness deals with her training and technique.

"It is hard when I am the only female out there sparing with guys, who weigh like eighty pounds more than me," said Guidara. "It's hard because I want them to spar with me as their equals, but at the same time I know they are more experienced than me."

Guidara's ultimate goals are to win a black belt in Brazilian jujitsu and win a belt in mixed martial arts.

Guidara is a Korean-American born in Busan, South Korea. She was adopted by an Italian-American family at the age of seven months.

"I had an amazing adoptive family; I was pretty blessed," said Guidara. "I never saw them as my fake family."

Guidara's adoptive family was very supportive in her reconnecting with her roots, by showing her files of her birth family and being open to the idea of her meeting with them one day.

Guidara met her birth family for the first time at the age of 14. She was able to go back to South Korea with five or six other Korean adoptees and their adoptive families.

"I grew up in a country where culturally I felt American, and then was able to go back to my ethnic roots and look as if I belong, but still feel like a foreigner."

At 22 years old, Guidara's birth mother called her crying, while her friend translated.

"She tried to kill herself, she was bulimic, she was depressed," said Guidara. "My birth father would go into these drunk rages and beat her violently."

Domestic violence is the social norm in South Korea according to Guidara.

"I want to be able to teach classes to others, and on top of that teach women's self-defense courses," said Guidara. "It goes back to finding out my birth mother was a victim of domestic violence; women should know how to defend themselves at a basic level."

"Don't be afraid to take a risk, it may be a little intimidating at first, but just go for it," she continued. "It is hard work, but it will pay off in the end. You have to remember the bigger picture of your goals, and don't give up."