Recently I had the chance to interview Jared Reed, a 3-time US Collegiate National Champion, 2015 Male Athlete of the year, and 2-time US World Cup Team member. Jared has devoted over 16 years of his life to Taekwondo and is now one of the top competitors in the US. He was very happy to spend some time with me to share his thoughts and hopefully motivate other young athletes to pursue their dreams as he has.
Q: When did you start Taekwondo?
A: I started Taekwondo when I was 8 years old. I originally did Karate, but my dad took me out after I kicked a kid in daycare. The kid had taken my action figure, so I kicked him out of anger. I’m not sure it was the right thing to do, but I got my action figure back. 🙂 At the time, my uncle was doing Taekwondo and he told my dad that I should come and check out the studio he was at. Years passed, I fell in love with the sport and I never looked back.
Q: What has kept you doing Taekwondo for over 16 years?
A: Oh, too many things. For one, the love of fighting. I don’t think I could describe the feeling of being in the ring. I also love having the ability to travel all over the world and take in all the wonderful sights, experiences, and opportunities. I’ve met so many people and made friends with people I never would’ve had a chance to was it not for this sport. Aside from the competitive side, I also love teaching and sharing my experiences with students that I’ve gained through training and travel.
Q: What is your ultimate goal as a Martial Artist?
A: I want to be able to stay active and train in the martial arts for the rest of my life. I want to remain a student always learn because the one thing martial arts teaches you is to always better yourself and continue to grow. In my life, it helps me relieve stress and stay focused and have a clear mind about life.
Q: What is the toughest obstacle you have had to face in your career?
A: I would say this happened recently and has to do with transitioning motivation. I lost motivation over the course of a few months due to a variety of reasons, some including Taekwondo politics and our National Organization. After that it kinda snowballed some more after negative results at a big competition. Then I had to get a knee surgery due to an injury. I took some time off and focused on building my motivation back. After lots of work and analyzing, I saw the potential I could have and I set off to pursue my career again. I came back in to a tournament and did quite well, which pretty much confirmed it for me.
Q: How do you balance life, school, and TKD?
A: Through making time for things. Honestly, I just don’t let things be an excuse. I notice a lot of people saying, “Oh I can’t do this because of __,” so instead I just do it. There’s a set time to do homework, to go to class, to work, to train, or to spend time with my family and friends. Taekwondo also helps because I can jump back to life whenever I finish Taekwondo. It’s rejuvenating, basically.
Q: What advice would you have for other young athletes that want to achieve your level of success?
A: I don’t want to say the whole work hard and follow your dreams thing that everyone says. I would tell them to find a motivation and reason to do something and stick to it as long as they can. Find a hero to look up to and aim to be like him or her. That’s what will keep you going- it’s a reason and something to chase after.
Thanks to Jared Reed for sitting down to discuss his life’s journey with us. As we can see he’s a great role model and an athlete that will continue to find success throughout his career. Be sure to check out Jared’s blog that he created to inspire positivity in today’s world.