Managing her studies. Helping run the family business. Amassing world titles. It’s business as usual for Adalis “AJ” Munoz, a psychology and exercise science senior who also is a fourth-degree master black belt and the World Taekwondo Poomsae champion—a title she claimed in 2018 for the third consecutive year.
“To maintain that level of competitiveness is definitely a challenge, especially balancing a full-time academic load,” Munoz says. “The biggest challenge is maintaining the organization and that drive.”
To compete in the world championships and University Games, each country can only send one entry per division in both competitions. Athletes first have to qualify at state tournaments and then be selected from the field at national championships. Munoz has earned eight national championship titles since she began competing in 2013.
Munoz started taekwondo when she was 10, training under legendary Grandmaster Myong Sok Namkung Mayes. But her primary coach in Texas has been her father, Joe Munoz, who had his family start martial arts as a way to learn self-defense together.
“It turned into a passion for my daughter,” Joe says. “My daughter outranks us all and she’s about to possibly get promoted again this year. She still has to do the dishes and take out the trash, though.”