Since her first martial arts class at age 10, Laura Clements has trained with world masters, earned numerous black belts and opened Central Ohio Martial Arts in Clintonville. Today, Master Laura teaches classes in Korean disciplines such as taekwondo (hand-to-hand combat), haidong gumdo (sword) and kuk kung (archery).

Since her first martial arts class at age 10, Laura Clements has trained with world masters, earned numerous black belts and opened Central Ohio Martial Arts in Clintonville. Today, Master Laura teaches classes in Korean disciplines such as taekwondo (hand-to-hand combat), haidong gumdo (sword) and kuk kung (archery).

Name: Laura Clements

Age: 30

Job: Martial arts instructor

Neighborhood: Clintonville

Hometown: Columbus

Website: centralohiomartialarts.com

I wanted to start martial arts when I was five, but my parents made me wait until I was 10, because they were hoping I'd grow out of it. They put me in figure skating to try to get me to stop wanting to do martial arts.

I started teaching when I was 13. I opened my first school when I was 20.

To become a master depends on what art you study. In taekwondo, a fifth-degree black belt is a master, and it takes at least 15 years to achieve that. For the Korean sword, you're officially a master when you're a fourth dan.

I've only been in two fights in my life, and one was when I was a teenager in the Northland Mall parking lot. I think I had just gotten my first-degree [black belt]. I'm not one of those people who goes around saying, "I'm a black belt."

The only time I've had to use self-defense is when people knew I was teaching self-defense. They try to grab you or attack you to see what would happen.

Some people think you can master a martial art, but I don't think anything's perfect. I think you can always improve. My slight feeling is that if you're done learning, you shouldn't be an instructor.

Different things draw people to martial arts. A lot of the teenagers want to do weapons. The younger kids like to kick. And the adults like the self-defense aspect.

Getting a black belt now is a lot different than when I got a black belt. No school was light contact or non-contact. You went in and you actually fought and sometimes you got hurt. When I tested for my black belt, I had to do a lot of things I'd never ask a kid of that age to do.

My school is non-contact, but that doesn't mean my students don't hit me. I just don't hit them. Training people, I have gotten worse than actually training myself.

The best swords come from Korea. They're actually forged steel. A really good sword to cut bamboo is gonna cost you at least $800 to $1,000. The sword that I demonstrate with all the time I won in a cutting contest. It was $5,000.

Cutting through bamboo is the equivalent of cutting somebody's bone.

The coolest thing I've broken is a red brick with a jumping front kick. I also broke a red brick with a spinning hook kick. The red brick is equal to six or eight boards. I almost knocked myself out because the brick comes right back down.

My best trip to Korea was in 2006, because I went with some of my students. There's a huge competition over there for sword, and I won third place in the world in bamboo cutting. I was the only white person on the stand, and I got mobbed by Korean photographers and news media afterward.

It's very interesting to get on a plane with a sword. You call ahead and tell them you have a demonstration license. They have a police officer follow you to the airplane. The cabin crew takes it, and then you get it back at the end of the flight.

One of the things that fascinated me about kuk kung is in Korea, you'll be sitting on a five-story building and shoot like two football fields into a target. They have these really high-powered bows. It's unlike traditional archery because eventually you get on a horse.

When I'm not in the studio, I like snowboarding. I'm really into history. I play the piano. I don't really have a lot of free time.