May 14, 2016-
USCTKD Female Athlete of the Month: Nathalie Peck
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey -Senior
Are you a team officer? If so what is your position and what do you do to support the team?
For the 2016-2017 school year I will serve as one of the coaches for the Rutgers Taekwondo Team, and Captain of the Rutgers Intercultural Demonstration Team. I like to think I bring energy, boost the team’s morale, team spirit, and support to my teammates during training. I help junior belts learn proper techniques in sparring and forms. For the Demonstration team, I oversee the coordination of events, the learning of new skills for team members, and lead the team in learning the demonstration routine.
Who was or is your primary Taekwondo instructor?
Grandmaster John Park and Grandmaster Lou Giamo
What influenced you to get started in Taekwondo?
I actually never intended on doing Taekwondo, I started taking cardio kickboxing classes at a local Dojang, and they convinced me to try a Taekwondo class, and after the first class I was hooked.
What has kept you going?
I love the culture surrounding Taekwondo, the people I have met over the years have had big influences in my life and even became some of my closest friends. Training in Taekwondo has become something that I do not think I could live without. As a Taekwondo instructor, I love teaching children and adults the techniques and skills to develop strong bodies and minds. As a team member, I get to train with amazing people who inspire me everyday.
How is TKD a positive influence in your academic life?
Taekwondo has given me confidence, leadership skills, and taught me the value of cooperation and teamwork in a successful group. The focus, integrity, and perseverance I learned from TKD translate in to my academic success by motivating me to work effectively.
How is your University team special?
The Rutgers Taekwondo team is extremely diverse, in all sense of the word. We have grown so much over the last 3 years, from about 8-10 regular team members, to over 40 regular team members. The variety of levels and experience allows for learning and growth within the team, whether it is by helping a less experienced belt or learning from someone with more experience than you. Everybody has different skills and talents, and we all trade tips and tricks for sparring, forms, and special kicking. Most importantly, the Rutgers Taekwondo team is a big family; we all love and support each other in and out of practice. Any day you will find team members hanging out and helping each other out with difficult classes.
How do your team members support each other?
Like I said earlier, we are a giant family. In and out of practice my teammates support me and I can always count on them to help me out. You can frequently find groups of us getting sushi together, or invading a student center in a pack to study for midterms and finals. I love the way my teammates go out of their way to help each other improve in Taekwondo and in academic life.
How has TKD been a positive influence to your university or university community?
Our Taekwondo team has a demonstration team that performs at campus events. Many of our peers enjoy seeing the board breaking and routines that we perform. Most recently, the Demonstration team performed at the Rutgers University Dance Marathon, where Rutgers raised almost $1 million dollars for charity.
What are your goals for after graduation?
After graduation, I plan to open a sports agency with some of the friends I met through the Taekwondo club. Also, I plan to continue working with Elevate Education; a company that helps high school and middle school students understand the best ways to get better grades.
What are your goals for TKD?
I cannot imagine a life without taekwondo in it. I want to keep training and competing for as long as I can! I dream to one day earn my 8th degree black belt and become a Grandmaster.