Tell us a little bit about yourself :)
I live in Missouri but I was born in North Carolina to military parents. I love martial arts and the color green.
How did you get introduced to your passion and when did it get serious?
I first got started in martial arts when I was 15. I would always watch action movies and wish I could do some of the kicks and punches. Around 16 I ended up quitting. I started back up at 20 and had to quit at 21 when I got into a car accident. I started again when I was 24 but wasn't really focused and quit some time after starting again. All my friends were living their goals so I thought it was time to work on mine. I was newly single and more focused when I was 26 and started looking for a martial arts school that matched my work schedule. Once I found a school I told myself I wasn't quitting. I'm more determined than I ever was in the beginning.
Can you share your biggest challenges?
My biggest challenge is definitely my weight. It makes it harder to jump and have good endurance. Consistency is key. I always train even when I don't want to or I'm sore. I know the goal will outweigh the sacrifice. But to top that off, my teammates and instructor motivated me every class. There's always someone cheering you on.
How do you handle pressure and where do you find your motivation?
I feel pressure when I'm doing a new technique that I feel I will be bad at. I just have to try plus my teammates are already telling me I can do it. The first couple times may not be good but the 5th always looks better. During a competition I'm going to be nervous - period. I don't like to get cocky thinking I can beat everyone. I prefer a pep talk from my instructor to make me feel better.
What was your most embarrassing moment (in regards to martial arts, of course)?
My most embarrassing moment is when I tried a new kick while sparring and I fell. Everyone stopped and asked if I was okay which made it worse.
How did your passion influence your life in other ways?
Martial arts has influenced my life by making me more confident and comfortable with who I am. It's also helped with my anger. I think about the things I do because I don't want my instructor to hear bad things about me.
What does your typical day look like?
On a typical Thursday I wake up and give my dog a bath. Go to my taekwondo morning class. Then I help instruct the other classes from cubs to teens. Then I participate in the adult class. Then I help clean the dojang. I then come home and feed my dog. I either may watch some Hulu, a little gaming, or go out with some friends.
And what about your flexibility training? Where does that fit in?
Well, I am one of the lucky ones. I'm pretty flexible and didn't have to work at it. My side split is pretty good. I would like to be able to go all the way down but man that's painful. Not the best feeling.
What are your future plans/goals/dreams?
My future goal is to have my whole world immersed in martial arts. No more 9 to 5's.
Any tips for passionate people who are starting to practice taekwondo now?
What I would tell someone starting out is to keep going. It gets easier over time. Don't focus on anyone else's progress. Not all pain is bad pain. What I wish I've done differently is not quitting as many times as I did.