Michael OMalley | Feisworld

Michael O\’Malley on Tae Kwon Do competition and the path to resilience


meet michael o’malley

Some of you may know that I\’ve been a martial arts practitioner my entire life. This martial-arts-themed episode is one I\’ve been eager to release to my audience. Today\’s guest is Michael J. O\’Malley.  Mr. O\’Malley has been my Taekwondo instructor and mentor for over 10 years. After receiving my first degree black belt in 2005, I continued training under Mr. O\’Malley and was able to advance to 2nd degree, and most recently to 3rd degree black belt in 2014. Taekwondo has been a practice for me throughout my college and professional life, and I still look forward to training many times a week.

I feel very privileged to interview Mr. O\’Malley. He was chosen for the USA Taekwondo teams from 1978 through 1982,  elected US Team Captain in 1980 and US Team Coach in 1984. In 2007, Mr O\’Malley was inducted into the Taekwondo Hall of Fame and eventually received their Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011.

In Part 1, we talked about the first defining competition in his career. What\’s it like to train 10-12 hours per day as a 14-year old? What\’s the process to be selected for the US Team? Mr. O\’Malley relates his experiences in Taekwondo competitions of the highest caliber, and also shares the relationships he formed with his teammates. Taekwondo competitions helped this Mr. O\’Malley fulfill his dream of traveling the world, and helped shape him into who he is today.

In the following episode, we will learn about the Taekwondo school Mr. O\’Malley founded, where he continues his teaching as the Principle Instructor today.


O’Malley Tae Kwon Do Center teaches traditional martial art and practical self defense for men, women and children. The program is an individualized and comprehensive approach to helping students achieve their fitness goals. Instead of only focusing on a student\’s strengths, Mr. O\’Malley helps the student overcome his or her unique challenges.

Mr. O\’Malley created a specialized program to teach children and adults how to be confident and powerful on the inside and out. In additional to Tae Kwon Do striking and kicking techniques, Mr. O\’Malley has made self defense modules a requirement for all students. During day and summer camps at O\’Malley Tae Kwon Do Center, Mr. O\’Malley creates workshops for young campers to practice power poses, learn self-protection strategies, and participate in anti-bullying programs conducted by police officers.

Beyond Tae Kwon Do practice, Mr. O\’Malley has introduced a line-up of extraordinary people who teach his students a variety of subjects and skills. Ralph Peterson Jr. (Jazz musician and professor at Berklee) teaches students how to play drums; Xiang Li (renowned artist from the Forbidden City of Beijing, China) has conducted a series of Art workshops for children and adults; Tracy Levesque (artist and assistant instructor) has her beautiful artworks displayed inside the school. Adam Leffert (an experienced technology consultant) who has been Mr. O\’Malley\’s student since the age of 14 still studies and teaches (part-time) today.

To check out the latest O\’Malley Tae Kwon Do Center activities including instructional videos, photos and events, follow them on Facebook. 

I hope you find opportunities to meet and learn from Mr. O\’Malley.

Do you enjoy this podcast? If so, please leave your comment below and share the podcast with your family and friends. Your support will keep me on track and bring many other unsung heroes to this podcast.

Part 1 Show Notes (Times Are Approximate):

  • First competitions as a low rank [3:00]

  • Mixed martial art competitions in 1970s [5:00]

  • First defining competition [7:20]

  • Training 10-12 hours days at the age of 14 [9:00]

  • How were you selected for the US Team? What\’s the process like? [11:00]

  • National Championship at Howard University in Washington DC [13:10]

  • Best Match of the Day with a fractured foot [16:00]

  • Meeting US Team members for the first time [17:30]

  • Dynamics among teammates then and now [21:00]

  • A sense of belonging and taking his training to another level [23:30]

  • Living on US Army Base to prepare for World Championship in Germany [26:30]

  • A boy\’s humble beginning and dream to travel around the world [27:30]

  • What was it like to compete in Korea (country where Taekwondo was born)? [32:00]

  • Winning the first metal for US Team in Pan American Game [35:30]

  • Winning a Gold metal for the US Team in the 2nd Pan American Game [38:00]

  • A surprise win after a decision to retire and receiving Ken Min Award for accomplishment and leadership [41:00]

  • Influence of martial art movie [44:30]

People Mentioned:

  • General Choi Hong Hi (Father of Tae Kwon Do)

  • Jong Soo Park

  • Jae Hun Kim (Mr. O\’Malley\’s instructor, Founder of the Jae H. Kim Tae Kwon Do Institute)

  • Dae Sung Lee (Olympic Team Coach, also China National Team Coach. in the Guinness Book of World Records for his longevity as a U.S. Team member)

  • John Holloway (US Team teammate, middle-weight national champion)

  • Gerard Robbins (President, Tae Kwon Do Hall of Fame)

  • John Lee (US Team, 1983)

Part 2 Show Notes (Times Are Approximate):

  • Mr. O\’Malley tells us about his school: O\’Malley Tae Kwon Do Center [3:30]

  • Why Mr. O\’Malley believes it\’s important to open the school 7 days a week and offers over 40 classes for students at every level [5:30]

  • After 40 years of teaching, Mr. O\’Malley still had to reinvent himself as an instructor [9:45]

  • The design of the children\’s program [10:30]

  • Teaching children to be resilient [13:20]

  • How do you teach children to be confident? What\’s the process? [14:55]

  • How Mr. O\’Malley prepares his students to be safe: self defense strategies and awareness [17:15]

  • How can body language change the projection of your self confidence? [20:00]

  • Individualized programs for students [21:40]

  • Providing students with access to extraordinary people who teach his students in a variety of subjects and skills [22:30]

  • Mr. O\’Malley\’s belief of a martial art school\’s responsibility in a community [23:40]

  • Preparing children to be leaders and expand their thinking [25:00]

  • When a kid shout out: \”Mom and dad, the school is a place of great meaning!\” [27:30]

  • Teamwork for children to collaborate and learn from one another [29:00]

  • Frequently Asked Questions for martial art training – how to choose a school, what are the common misconceptions, etc. [30:00]


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