Heart of a Champion
Two-time sparring World Champion Katherine Spaulding walks into Manhattan’s local Evolution Martial Arts every Thursday night to teach what she loves—ATA Taekwondo. As a Kansas State University undergraduate and now a graduate student in veterinary medicine, Spaulding has been an instructor to a range of students from 5-year-olds to adults. Spaulding has spent 17 years practicing Taekwondo, her hobby, while also pursuing a career thanks to her scholarships from Kansas State and the life lessons she has received from her training in Songahm Taekwondo.
Spaulding has always been motivated to improve as she moved up the ATA ranks, learning to master weapons and spar on a championship level. She started competing when she was 8 years old, while working with instructors who taught her confidence and respect. Now, she gets to share that knowledge with her students.
“As an instructor, my goal for all of my students is to make them feel that incredible feeling of success that I’ve experienced winning my world titles,” Spaulding said. “Even if it’s getting their black belt and that’s the most amazing thing in the world to them, then I want to help them do that.”
The skills Spaulding has learned from Taekwondo have translated into her work in veterinary medicine. She spent this past January in Honduras as a volunteer veterinarian working from sun up to sun down doing high-volume and high-quality spay and neuters on animals. Learning to stay focused and organized on the task ahead are skills she attributes to ATA training.
“We performed surgery after surgery and didn’t leave for the day until we were finished because we went to different villages every day,” Spaulding said. “That’s where I appreciate the scholarships [and training] I’ve received because it allowed me to go on this trip and know there are people supporting us along the way.”
Spaulding lives for challenge, whether that challenge is winning two ATA world champion titles or doing intense volunteer work in Honduras. As challenging as her academic and teaching activities are, she doesn’t see herself being defeated any time soon.
“The school-work balance is challenging for sure, and there are days when I wonder ‘Why did I want to do this?’ But I absolutely love the challenge of it in a different way,” Spaulding said. “I feel like I owe it to those who contributed to my scholarship and those who have been part of my martial arts training, to continue to do what I’m passionate about.”
Spaulding continues her pursuit of Songahm Mastership, while changing the lives of her students all while managing a future career as a veterinarian. She knows through ATA, she can #MakeItPossible!
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**Article courtesy of the KSU Foundation.