Five Questions with Tom Richards


Makayla Archambeault

In his free time, sophomore Tom Richards is a martial arts instructor. He primarily teaches Tae Kwon Do to all ages.

Vijay Viswanathan

Sophomore Tom Richards has always been interested in martial arts. He was a student at a dojo, an area that is used to practice martial arts. He hopes to soon become an instructor at the same dojo.

What or who got you interested in martial arts?

My mom signed me up for a class when I was five years old, since then, it’s mainly been self-motivation, though I do have to thank my parents for signing me up because otherwise I wouldn’t be able to do this.

What does a usual day at the dojo for class entail?

Usually, I show up ten minutes before class starts, then you get lined up, the after you salute in, you do a short, five minute warm up that consists of stretches, jumping jacks, push-ups and sit-ups. Then, you arrange between 150 and 300 kicks, and then do two sets of forms. Afterwards, you split up into pairs to practice take downs and locks for the rest of class.

When did you become an instructor and what type of martial art do you teach?

I became an instructor when I was 14. I was teaching a couple of classes now and then, but once I became 14, I became more involved. I teach Tae Kwon Do, and I teach to all ages.

What does Tae Kwon Do involve and how much work have you had to put in?

Tae Kwon Do is focused around five tenets, which are courtesy, perseverance, self-control, indomitable spirit and integrity. These tenets aren’t just for Tae Kwon Do, but apply to everything you do in life. Tae Kwon Do also isn’t something you can learn in a day. It has taken me ten years to become a third-degree black belt, which is one of the highest ranking belts in Tae Kwon Do. I have had to practice many times a week to get to where I’m at now.

Do you have a particular memory from Tae Kwon Do that stands out to you?

This was when I was around seven years old. We were breaking boards in class, and it was my turn. My instructor told me it was okay if I didn’t break the board because I was young and very small. I then proceeded to break the board on my first try, and then my instructor told me to ‘forget everything he just said.’ This stands out to me because it’s always a memory that I will keep for motivation because it proves I can do anything I want to, if I put in the work.