I was originally introduced into the martial art of Taekwondo (also referred to as TKD) because my mom knew I was small for my age and she wanted to make sure I could defend myself if I ever needed to.
I quickly grew to love Taekwondo for more than just a way to defend myself. It soon became a sport and lifestyle for me. I had fun and at the same time my skills became better and my confidence continued to grow.
I attended my first tournament shortly after I began studying TKD and instantly fell in love with the competition aspect of the sport. Over the years TKD has become a passion in my life.
Here is a photo back in 2002 where I competed in the U.S. Junior Olympics Taekwondo and tied for third place. When you see how small I was back then you’ll understand why my mom wanted me to be able to defend myself. LOL
Here’s a picture of me In 2004 when I brought home the gold at the Champions Tournament.
In 2005 I competed at the U.S. Junior Olympics Taekwondo in San Antonio, Texas and won my first National Championship bringing home the gold back to Michigan. Following that accomplishment in 2005, I brought home the gold again at the 2007 AAU National Championships. Once again in 2008 I won the gold at the AAU Junior Olympics.
I have always watched the Summer Olympics because I love sports and it is also one of the biggest stages in the world. Following the 2012 Olympics held in London, I realized my ultimate dream – to bring home the gold in 2016 at the XXXI Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Currently I train on a daily basis both my mind and body with my teammates and coach. I also get help from my supportive wife, Amy, who also helps me train at home or at the gym. Over the years I have had the opportunity to train with some of the best Taekwondo athletes including 2012 Olympic medalists and US Olympic team coaches.
When I was in San Antonio, Texas I had the pleasure of meeting the Lopez family, Diana on the left, then me, Steven and Mark, who all autographed my head gear. The Lopez family have won five medals at the Olympics. Steven took gold in 2000 and again in 2004. Mark won silver in 2008. Steven and Diana won bronzes.
I constantly strive to improve myself, which is the main reason I continued Taekwondo after all these years. I’m able to push my body and mind to their limits. I love that about TKD because although it may appear that the sport is all physical, it’s also just as much mental. I am able to get the best of both worlds and continue to improve physically and mentally; and I get to help others do the same.