Adam Paolino has been training in the martial arts since he was 3 years old. His hard-earned speed, strength and strategy paid off when he won a bronze medal in sparring at the USAT National Taekwondo Championships held in Detroit.
A big hit: “Winning the bronze is a big step toward my goal of making the Senior National Team, which represents the United States at world championships, Pan American Games, World Cup, and every four years, the Olympics.”
The art of movement: “I was drawn to taekwondo because it creates art through movement in a chaotic environment. For me, it is a form of physical freedom, probably not unlike what dancers feel when they are really in the moment. In fact, the kind of athletic ability and gracefulness often seen in taekwondo is like that of a football running back and a classical dancer combined.”
The fight to be the best: Paolino, who is considering a major in biology, works his body and brain hard. “I train year-round, five or six days weekly, two hours per session, often starting at 7 a.m. Balancing homework, training and a social life can be challenging. I put a lot of energy and focus into my academics, so many times I am tired for my training sessions. I have learned to do things by the clock. I set aside time each day for each subject and really stick to it. Daily meditation also helps keep me stay centered.”
Meaningful moves: During the summer, Paolino mentored and tutored students at Community Preparatory School in Providence. He enjoyed the chance to positively influence children because he knows the value of life lessons.
Taekwondo has offered him plenty: “The most important thing I have learned from fighting competitions is that it is not so much what you do, but how you do it. There are so many variables that are out of your control in a match, just like in life. The perception you bring offers the real value in what you are doing.”