Triumph Over Cerebral Palsy, Vision Loss, and Deafness Through Taekwondo

In a world where obstacles can appear insurmountable, the remarkable journey of Juliana Weigle stands
as a testament to the human spirit. Born prematurely in the Ukraine, she entered the world weighing
only 2 lbs. 1 oz. She was diagnosed with cerebral palsy but defied the odds to become a Taekwondo
champion. Her story takes an even more awe-inspiring turn as she faced the challenges of vision loss at
16 and profound deafness at 19, proving that with unwavering determination and resilience, one can
conquer any adversity.
Juliana’s journey began with a remarkable spirit. She was adopted by an American family at the age of
17 months. As a toddler, she was unable to walk, crawl, or sit up unassisted. From a young age, she
faced developmental delays that presented unique challenges. She wore Ankle Foot Orthotics (AFOs)
and relied on a walker to aid her in walking, a reality that set her apart from her peers. But instead of
being discouraged, Juliana embraced her circumstances with unwavering determination. With the
support of her loving family and dedicated therapists and teachers, she channeled her energy into
overcoming these physical challenges. When she was six years old, Juliana took her first steps
unassisted. At the age of eight, she embarked on a Taekwondo journey after going to a classmate’s
birthday party at an ATA (American Taekwondo Association) school in Arkansas.
Juliana started competing in ATA tournaments in the “Special Abilities” ring. In addition to the regular
competition, ATA offers divisions for students with physical disabilities, cognitive disabilities, and autism.
She won State and World titles multiple years in the Special Abilities-Physical ring. Cerebral palsy posed
distinctive challenges, but Juliana’s instructors, Senior Master Monica Smith and Master Keegan Ireland,
recognized the significance of adaptability. They designed customized training routines to accommodate
Juliana’s pace of development.
Juliana’s journey was marked by obstacles, including moments of frustration and a several-month hiatus
after undergoing corrective surgeries to help her walk. Nevertheless, she emerged from every setback
even more determined. Her fellow students played a pivotal role, offering relentless support and
camaraderie that fueled her determination.
As a teenager, Juliana decided to challenge herself and switch to the regular ring. Whether or not she
brings home a gold medal, Juliana enjoys competing against others who are her age. Her favorite
weapon is the jahng-bong (long stick), which she uses to compete in traditional weapons, creative
weapons, and extreme weapons. She has earned her 3rd degree black belt and is pursuing her 4th

Juliana’s journey took a remarkable turn when she started experiencing migraine headaches and
subsequently lost most of her vision at the age of 16. Rather than letting this devastating development

shatter her dreams, Juliana adapted. She learned to rely on her other senses, enhancing her spatial
awareness and honing her instincts.
At 19, Juliana confronted another formidable challenge: becoming profoundly deaf. This could have
discouraged many, but Juliana’s spirit remained unbroken. She embraced sign language, communication
aids, and her newfound perspective on the world.
Juliana’s perseverance bore fruit as she steadily progressed in her academic and Taekwondo journeys.
While in middle school and early high school, she performed below grade level. Then, she defied the
odds, gradually closing the gap that once separated her from her classmates. Through sheer dedication,
countless hours of hard work, and a heart filled with determination, she graduated from high school at
grade level.
Becoming an assistant Taekwondo instructor was one of Juliana’s most cherished accomplishments. It
not only allowed her to excel in a discipline she loved but also gave her the opportunity to inspire and
guide others on their own journeys. Helping students set and reach their goals became a source of deep
satisfaction for her, reinforcing her commitment to the art of Taekwondo.
What made Juliana’s role as an instructor even more meaningful was when a young student with spina
bifida joined her class. This young student had witnessed Juliana’s own incredible journey and had been
encouraged by her example. Juliana’s unwavering determination, coupled with her support and
encouragement, served as a powerful source of inspiration for this budding martial artist. Witnessing
the impact of her own journey on another young person filled Juliana with pride and a profound sense
of purpose.
Juliana’s story is a testament to the incredible influence one person’s determination and support can
have on others. Her dedication to Taekwondo and her willingness to guide others along their paths
demonstrated the true essence of mentorship and the immeasurable impact it can have on those who
follow in one’s footsteps.
In addition to conquering cerebral palsy, vision loss, and profound deafness through her Taekwondo
journey, Juliana has taken her inspiring journey to a global audience. Through her YouTube channel,
aptly named “Super Abilities,” she is empowering the world by sharing her experiences, challenges, and
victories as she navigates life with multiple disabilities.

Juliana’s story transcends her Taekwondo community. Her incredible resilience has become a wellspring
of inspiration for individuals with disabilities across the globe. She shares her experiences at church

youth events and is available for public speaking events, spreading the message that challenges are
merely opportunities waiting to be embraced.
“Super Abilities” came to life as Juliana’s way of reaching out to others facing similar challenges. At its
core, the channel is a platform for her to inspire, educate, and create a supportive community where
individuals with disabilities can find hope, guidance, and a sense of belonging.
One of the primary missions of “Super Abilities” is to raise awareness about disabilities and break down
misconceptions. Juliana candidly addresses common misconceptions, fostering empathy and
understanding among her audience. Her videos challenge stereotypes, encouraging viewers to see the
person beyond the disability.
As Juliana continues to train and compete in Taekwondo, her future overflows with potential. Her
journey reminds us that disabilities do not define one’s destiny. With unwavering determination, a
strong support system, and the right mindset, anyone can shatter the confines of their limitations and
achieve greatness.
Juliana Weigle’s transformation from a young girl living with cerebral palsy to a Taekwondo champion
who has triumphed over cerebral palsy, vision loss, and profound deafness is a testament to the
extraordinary power of determination, adaptability, and unwavering support. Her story is a beacon of
hope for countless individuals grappling with physical and sensory challenges, encouraging them to
pursue their dreams while recognizing that the only real boundaries are those we impose on ourselves.
Juliana reminds us all that, in the face of adversity, extraordinary achievements are within reach with
the right attitude and unwavering determination.
-Written by Juliana Weigle