Get to know Melissa Barrow

Melissa being sillyMrs. Barrow has been practicing martial arts for over a decade with the Mountain Academy of Martial Arts.  As one of the few advanced female martial artists in our school she has the privilege of being a role model for the girls just starting out.  You can’t miss her usual bright pink dobalk and as the school’s webmaster she is the reason we’ve got such a wonderful site.

1. What got you into taekwondo?

I’ve wanted to study martial arts since I was a kid. I’m sure The Karate Kid had something to do with it. Unfortunately, as a kid I didn’t get to participate in extracurricular activities. As an adult I decided to change that. After I graduated from college the first time I found I had too much time on my hands. I’ve worked full time and gone to school full time since I was 16 so suddenly having nothing more than work wasn’t enough. I decided to fill up my time with all those things I wished I could do as a kid but was unable. I took up piano and guitar lessons, and tae kwon do. While I enjoyed my music lessons, they didn’t last past a year. I fell in love with tae kwon do though. As evidenced by the fact I’m still studying nearly 12 years later.

2. What’s your favorite thing about taekwondo?

The people. For some reason, a lot of great people are attracted to martial arts and I’m happy to call them my friends, my teachers and my students. I also love that no matter someone’s age or rank, you can learn something from them.

3. Have you studied any other martial arts?

Yes, I have studied jujitsu. I absolutely loved it, but my joints did not and I have some lasting injuries.

4. What do you do when you’re not doing taekwondo?

I work in the domain industry and try to spend as much time with my husband and our three dogs as possible. I love to travel and have been to 5 countries and about 60% of the United States. I enjoy photography so am usually behind the camera taking entirely too many photos. I love lacrosse so during the winter you will find me at a Mammoth game or watching a Mammoth game most weekends. And during the warmer days of the year, you’ll probably find me on my motorcycle putting as many miles on it as I can before it snows.

5. What aspect of taekwondo have you struggled most with?

The details. While I can be a very detail oriented person, in general I like to have the gist of something and don’t worry about the details. I can talk history with you, but I will never know the dates of anything.

6. Favorite weapon and why?

Bo staff. It’s easily available and feels very natural and powerful in my hands.

7. Favorite technique and why?

Crescent kick. It’s a very powerful kick with control and can fit into many combos, or fakes.

8. How has taekwondo changed you?

I’m much more patient and compassionate.

9. What would you tell someone just starting out in martial arts?

Know that no matter their rank, every one above you in rank started exactly where you are now. Martial arts is work, and it is an art. Don’t get discouraged and give up. Anyone can start martial arts, but very few have the fortitude to finish.

10. What’s something most people don’t know about you?

I adore chopsticks. I would eat every meal with them if I could. I have a rather large collection of them ranging from stainless steel to lightsabers to chinese porcelain and everything in between.

11. Favorite form?

Advanced Bo. It has a beautiful flow and amazing power.

12. Favorite place?


13. Favorite book/author?

JK Rowling by far. How to Kill a Mockingbird and All Quiet on the Western Front are near the top of my favorites books. I also will read just about anything from Jack London, Joe Lansdale, or Bram Stoker.

14. Favorite quote?

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” Dr. Seuss

15. Favorite food?

My dad’s Red Beans & Rice

16. Favorite ice cream flavor?

Peanut Butter and Chocolate with Mint Chocolate Chip a very close second

17. Favorite super hero?

When I was a kid, Wonder Woman, but as an adult, probably due to my husband’s influence, Batman

18. What hobbies do you have?

Photography, lacrosse, legos, motorcycles, cars

19. Dream vehicle?

That’s a toughie because I am a gear head.

Old Muscle – A late 60’s Camaro or Firebird, or an old Mach I Mustang

Reasonable – a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo

Out there – an Aston Martin, Audi A8 or Bugatti Veyron

20. Pets and/or kids?

3 large dogs

21. Dream vacation?

A year traveling the world

22. What did/do you want to be when you grow up?

A better question is what didn’t I want to be? I wanted to be so many things. A teacher, an astronaut, a scientist, a pilot, a psychiatrist, a lawyer, a doctor, a race car driver, a veterinarian.

23. What do you want to learn?

As many languages as possible. I know Spanish and English, starting to learn German, and eventually will tackle French again, and Japanese.

24. Ninjas or pirates?


25. What can’t you live without?

My Harry Potter books, and probably my memorabilia too.

26. Who or what inspires you?

My students, my friends, dreamers, people who believe in themselves even when the rest of the world says no, you can’t.

27. What super power would you want to have?

Teleportation. Would make travelling simple. Imagine how much of the world you could see if you could teleport there.