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Coach Mickey Lee, M.Ed.

Martial Foodie

Tae Kwon Do

Tai Chi

Coach Mickey Lee

Coach Mickey Lee, M.Ed.

Pioneering Martial Arts Competitor

With Coach Melody as his personal coach, Coach Mickey has been a pioneer Tai Chi (Taiji) competitor in open martial arts tournaments (all styles competing together).  Having enjoyed success at Chinese Martial Arts tournaments including 1st places in Men’s Tai Chi (Taiji) divisions at the 2007 U.S. Wushu Team Trials, they gradually turned their passion towards open martial arts tournaments to express their creativity through their diverse martial arts background, sharing the beauty and power of Tai Chi (Taiji) with non-martial artists as well as martial artists of various styles including Korean, Okinawan/Japanese, Chinese, and Extreme (contemporary style of acrobatics and gymnastics).

Coach Mickey’s first open martial arts competition occurred during the Adult Traditional Forms Grand Championship round for 2007 Tiger Claw Elite Championship Final at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Having won their own divisions, Coaches Mickey and Melody were two of seven champions of various styles—Korean, Okinawan/Japanese, Kajukenbo/Kenpo/Polynesian, Traditional Kung Fu, Tai Chi (Taiji)/Internal 18-39, Tai Chi (Taiji)/Internal 40+, and All Styles 40+—shooting for the Grand.  It was Coach Mickey who won the 2007 Tiger Claw Elite Adult Traditional Forms Grand Champion, making his open martial arts tournament debut with a big bang by becoming the first internal martial arts competitor to win Grand Champion of a national open martial arts tournament.

Entering open tournaments in an era dominated by Extreme and Okinawan/Japanese stylists, Coach Mickey became the first internal martial arts competitor to win Contemporary Forms/Weapons Grand Champion (2009 Shark City Nationals) with his musical Taijijian (Tai Chi straight sword).  At this time, Coach Mickey with Coach Melody by his side as his personal coach, made the jump into the most competitive and prestigious of open martial arts tournament circuits in the world: North American Sport Karate Association (NASKA).

In his debut as a NASKA competitor at the 2009 US Capitol Classics, Coach Mickey bested Extreme Martial Arts superstar Marc Canonizado to win NASKA Men's 18-29 Musical Forms division, which had been completely dominated by Extreme stylists, then finished runner-up in the Men's Overall Forms Grand Championship to NASKA legend Marcel Jones.  Coach Mickey would continue to establish firsts for international open martial arts competitions: first internal martial arts competitor to win NASKA Traditional Forms Grand Champion (2010 Gator Nationals) and first to win NASKA Overall Forms Grand Champion (2011 AKA Grand Nationals).

In 2011, by winning five Traditional Forms Grand Champions and two Overall Forms Grand Champions in the eight preceding tournaments, he qualified to compete for the 2011 US Open's ISKA World Championship.  This provided him with the special opportunity to share Tai Chi (Taiji) with a wider audience as the ISKA World Championships was broadcast on the ESPN network.  After a powerful performance that won over the crowd, he was narrowly edged out by Extreme Martial Arts legend Matt Emig following a double-tie breaker.  By winning over the audience of thousands as well as viewers on ESPN, Coach Mickey's entire performance was featured on ESPN2.  This led to a WUSA9 News interview of Coaches Mickey and Melody with sports reporter Kristen Berset, “Local Martial Artist Kicking Down the Competition,” which aired on the evening news on March 1, 2012.

Within a few years, Coach Mickey achieved what previously would have been beyond imagination: a Taiji competitor winning in NASKA.  He finished a historic year by winning the 2011 NASKA World Grand Champion in Men’s Traditional Forms and 2011 NASKA World Champions in Musical Forms, Chinese Forms, and Chinese Weapons.

His unprecedented success has increased participation of Chinese Martial Artists in NASKA and encouraged traditional martial artists to compete in musical forms division.  Continuing to compete against top competitors, Coach Mickey won the “The Battle of NASKA 4 M’s” at the 2012 Compete Nationals' NASKA Men's 18-29 Musical Forms division—the first and only competition among NASKA’s current top men’s forms competitors (Mickey Lee, Matt Emig, new to adults division, forms phenom Micah Karns, and Marc Canonizado​)!

Today, Coach Mickey competes as an ambassador of Tai Chi (Taiji) at open martial arts tournaments, sharing the beauty, power, and health benefits of the Tai Chi (Taiji) with fellow competitors and spectators.  Winning has helped him to not only gain the admiration and respect for Tai Chi (Taiji) from his peers of various martial arts styles, but also reach bigger and wider audiences through television coverage.  He has been specially invited to perform at Saturday Night Shows at tournaments solo and as a pair with his synchronized partner, Coach Melody, at international tournaments such as the San Diego Grand Internationals, Dixieland Nationals, and the Quebec Open as well as at the Moroccan Ambassador's private residence and the South Korean Embassy.

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