It is our honor and privilege to acquaint you with our September Black Belt of the Month. She is an inspiration to not only her juniors, but to women of all ages with aspirations to fulfill their dreams. Ms. Maria Kaiser is not just a fierce competitor, but a nurturing mentor and a wonderful mother with a warm and kind heart for everyone.Ms. Maria, at what age did you start taekwondo and what is it that you like about it? — “I started Taekwondo around 2010-2011, and I was about 36-37 years old (so now you can guess my age). I started because my daughter was already into it, and I thought it would be a nice way for us to bond. Once she got into middle school she quit, and I stayed. What I like about taekwondo is that it is a sport for all ages and capabilities. I’ve seen extremely young people and senior citizens competing, and that’s very nice. You can see more than one or two generations practicing the same sport and sharing experiences. The taekwondo community should explore and expand even more the chances of competing. It is more than just sport — it’s a martial art that takes the best out of yourself.”


Outside of taekwondo, who are your heroes and why do you admire them?  —  “I don’t have just one hero in life, in a way, all of us are heroes to others, If we’ll just open our eyes and learn to help others with an open heart, we can make the difference in someone’s life. But if you ask me about who I think are heroes I would mention Nick Vujicic, Michael Phelps, Saint Theresa of Calcutta and the 33 Chilean miners trapped inside a mine some years ago. The reason I name them is that despite the odds, they inspire people to overcome obstacles, they were humble enough to start again defying their own restraints and or weaknesses.”


What is your favorite TKD move or form, and what do you like about it?  —  “From sparring, I love the cut-flip, in-out, and scorpion because thanks to them I’ve won some matches. With the scorpion, I won my first state qualifier for Nationals. Poomsae-wise, the taeguk forms I love are 7 and 8. I think they combine technique, strength and grace. The skills acquired with this poomsae not just help you with sparring, but also they involve very important self-defense moves.


Tell us about a peak moment in taekwondo, one that you are especially proud of and will never forget.   — “From tournaments there are several, but there is a special event that really made me wake up and realize that Taekwondo was already in my DNA and I was being watched by others. It was when a former teammate (Sophie) gave me several drawings expressing that I was very special for her, her hero. That was very, very special and gave me the motivation to keep going and keep trying every day even harder. I never expected such a beautiful and nice gesture. Thank you, Sophie!”


What advice would you give a white belt student who wants to be a black belt someday? “I would advise a student to never quit, to always try his or her best, because commitment and consistency are the key. I would also tell the student if he or she has difficulties with a technique: Ask, research, practice, take notes, practice again, but never ever quit… the evidence of that fact: I’m here!!! If he or she needs advice, help or some pointers, just ask me or any other black belt. At Quest we are a family, and we will be very proud if we can help you!”


Other than being good in taekwondo, are there any other accomplishments you want to share with us?  —  “I love to write, in fact, I’ve won some poetry contests in Chile. When I was also in Chile I was the first attorney to manage the prosecution of a person for cybercrime using laws that weren’t made for that. In a way I had to “knit” the case and make the crime type fit for that specific case. It was big…even in the news… Sorry, I couldn’t find any pictures!!!!

Doesn’t she look like a litigator already even back in High School?


What do you like to spend your time on … other than taekwondo? —  “Besides taekwondo that it is part of my life and my DNA now, I love to spend time with my family, also hiking, camping and knitting.”


Ms. Maria, if you were a fictional character who or what would you be and why that character? —  “I would like to be the female version of James Bond, because nobody could tell that I’m a spy and how much I know. That way, I would help to balance inequalities all around the world.”

Please finish this sentence: “Most people don’t know that … “I LOVE TO DANCE. “

We may not see Ms. Maria doing the salsa, but we always see her with her fancy footwork on the mat.

If your friends and family were to describe you, what 5 adjectives would they use? My friends and family would use the following adjectives: persistent, kind, passionate, caring and energetic (very).”


Being a Black Belt, you already have virtues others admire, but would there be some other virtue you would like to acquire, and why?  —  “Some virtues that I would love to acquire are more patience, more self-control (working on it), meditate more, more speed and more stamina. Sometimes, I tend to rush too much, and I want results asap, and you cannot always get them in a snap, you cannot speed-up a process or jump steps, you just need to enjoy the process, embrace it and go for it. Self-Control, because of lack of patience sometimes I am too obsessed with things, and I’m learning to deal with that.

This is the “dealing” part!
 Meditation is a technique I’m learning to use to calm down anxiety before fights, before I do a presentation…it helps me with the first two. It helps me with my “down” moments. Speed, since I’m in the “ultra” side of fighters, I really need to work on my speed….but furthermore— my stamina. All in all, I’m a work in progress.”


If there is one famous person, living or historical that you can spend the whole day with, who would that be and what would you talk about? — “It’s difficult to choose just one! I have several: Elvis Presley, Charles V, Sun Tzu, Pope Francis and form Martial Arts, Bruce Lee. If you see, my list is varied, because there is a lot to talk about, but for the sake of Martial Arts I would choose Bruce Lee. Why? Because he was just amazing, extremely intelligent and fast. I would convince him to “speed-train” me despite my age!!! I would also have a conversation about how difficult it was for him being allowed to practice martial arts, and about some philosophical points of view.”


Having already won the Gold at the recent Nationals at Salt Lake, Utah, what other goal are you reaching for? —  ” It may sound ambitious but my goal in Taekwondo is to be dominant in my division and once that is done, to seek international positioning or ranking. The sky is not the limit.”


What words of wisdom can you share with the rest of your taekwondo family? . — “Enjoy together the process of becoming a Martial Artist, open the doors for your family and friends, this is a wonderful opportunity to bond as a family. Also, I would tell them not to quit, be resilient, committed and consistent. There is no age limitation, or any condition that can limit us. We set our own limitations. Also, we need to nurture each other, challenge each other in order to grow and evolve. To never forget that beyond the sport, there is a beautiful and strong Martial Art that shelters the whole family from the youngest to the oldest. In addition, I would tell them to never stop dreaming, because there is no age nor any condition that can limit us, but ourselves.”


Lastly, tell us about your most important wish at this moment. Maybe someone who’s reading this can make your wish come true… — “Well, my most important wish is that the Quest Fight Team can reach their funding goal! Regarding my other dreams…they are a work in progress!!!! Well…more international tournaments with ultra divisions!!!”

To make one of Ms. Maria’s wish come true, support Team Quest in their fundraising efforts through this link at Flipgive. Regarding her personal goals and dreams, we know that because of her sheer determination, she can make these come true on her own. She may be lacking in patience, but I know that what she has plenty of is perseverance.

So Ms. Maria, I’ll say to you: “You go, Girl!”

Don’t forget to check in next month as we interview another amazing Black Belt. If you’re in the South Bay area, swing by Quest Taekwondo before you hit the beach!

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