July 1, 2016-
Moriah Martin-3rd Dan Kukkiwon & 4th Dan USAT
Liberty University Junior
Are you a team officer? If so what is your position and what do you do to support the team?
I am the assistant coach for the Liberty Taekwondo team but I also assist in physical fitness schedules as well as mandatory academic advisement.
Who was or is your primary Taekwondo instructor?
Trevor Martin- head instructor and coach for Taekwondo Elite USA in Anchorage and Eagle River Alaska
Who is your University Team Head Coach(es)?
Tom Childress- head coach of Liberty University Taekwondo Team
What influenced you to get started in Taekwondo?
My mother, father, grandfather, grandmother, uncle, and aunts ran a taekwondo club out of a church in Anchorage AK. You could say I was literally born into it. As soon as I was out of the hospital I was at the church gym every practice, watching and being trained from the time I could lift my leg. It was the family business. My father excelled as a fighter, nationally and internationally and I felt like it was time for the next generation to take the spotlight. It was my life, what I grew up in, my idea of “fun”. The Taekwondo club was where my friends were and where I felt like I could be exactly the way I wanted to be- I was comfortable and I couldn’t get that from anywhere else.
What has kept you going?
There was a number of times I seriously felt like quitting. Even turned in my gear and said I was done. But ask any major competitor and they’ll agree there’s times you just want to walk away. But I cant. Leaving the sport would be like leaving my childhood, half my life behind. It’s like a bond I have formed with this sport. I keep going because I feel like without it I won’t be the same and I’d spend the rest of my life regretting what I walked away from.
The adrenalin from the competition; knowing one wrong move and I could be seeing stars; that’s addicting to me. It makes me feel like I’m on top of the world, living on edge. Everyone wants to feel that at some point in their life and I get to feel the rush on a daily basis. I could never walk away from that.
Even after a hip surgery I can’t walk away. I tried. I really did. I even tried to just coach instead of compete but I can’t keep away from the mat! Some people spend their whole life finding a calling and as I may have more than one, I can’t ignore my call as an athlete in this sport.
How is Taekwondo a positive influence in your academic life?
I learned at a young age to strive for greatness. That if I wanted something to happen I would have to commit myself to it. I was blessed that I didn’t struggle in school but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t want to slack off. I had to be able to balance both as well as excel in both. I know Taekwondo won’t last me the rest of my life- there’s a time I’ll have to retire- meaning without school I won’t be able to succeed in the real world outside Taekwondo.
The competitive mindset I adapted to doesn’t leave me when I walked out of the studio. The yearning to be the best, to excel, to prove myself, has become part of my everyday life. With this mindset to excel in school, if I slack, I will slack in my training as well.
To me, a true successful athlete is one who can succeed in every area of their life, not just in fighting.
How is your University team special?
We are able to connect on a deeper level then most university teams. Liberty’s team is not bonded together just through the sport. We are able to connect on a deeper level then most universities will ever experience. We are able to meet each other on an emotional and spiritual level. We are able to put a hand on our partners shoulder and pray for them. We unite together, embracing one another, and pray over one another. We share each other’s needs, not just in the sport but in life- school, work, and relationships. Our teammates are not just our friends but our brothers and sisters in Christ.
How do your team members support each other?
As depicted above my university team is not comprised of teammates but of my brothers and sisters in Christ. We are blessed to understand that the person themselves is not immune to outside influence and problems. One person’s bad day can affect the whole team. Why would I want to put my heart into training when my partner’s heart is braking? That doesn’t mean that precious workout time is missed out on. It means that even before we start these kids take the hand of the person hurting and fight their battle alongside them. I honestly believe that daily emotional struggles and battles can be fought and won inside the gym. And that’s how we support each other. We push our teammates to fight and overcome their obstacles but they never do it alone. Can you imagine a whole team yelling and training and cheering and blasting music in order to help their teammate get past their personal obstacle? Its unexplainable.
How has Taekwondo been a positive influence to your university or university community?
Taekwondo is not new to Liberty University but it is new to elite competition. Over the past year Liberty Taekwondo team had made an effort to put the University on the Taekwondo “map”. Personally I think that the biggest influence the Tkd team has had on the university is promoting a positive view on the term “fighting”. Anywhere, especially in a Christian school, is it hard to explain why the term fighting (especially Tkd) is not a term to be concerned or afraid of. I think the school has been influenced by the sport becoming more competitive in a way that gives a brighter look on the name of taekwondo and its athletes.
It has opened the doors to new talent that wouldn’t have otherwise known the university had such a sport. I believe that many who walk through the doors leave with a greater knowledge of their bodies as well as the physical ability it takes to do this sport. Although we are not football, track, volleyball or lacrosse, I believe the physical strain an elite Tkd athlete puts their bodies through stands toe to toe with any of the “named” sports. And I do think many are starting to understand this at Liberty.
What are your goals for after graduation?
I plan to graduate Liberty with a B.A. in Business Administration with a specialty in Project Management. From there I plan on taking my GMAT and LSAT prior to attending Princeton’s Law School (hopefully).
What are your goals for Taekwondo?
My goals are specific yet generic when it comes to Taekwondo. Many spell out their goal in one word “O-l-y-m-p-i-c-s”. But mine is different. I want to travel; to fight in every country across the world for Team USA. If the Olympics rolls my way one of these days then so be it but I’d rather travel the world fighting with a big USA sign on my back.
To find out more about United States College Taekwondo: