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Whiz Kid: Woody McGuiness [Video]

This sixth-grader from Dolan Middle School is spending the summer honing his martial arts skills.

Summer's finally here and school is out, but the learning and studying continues for 11-year-old student Woody McGuiness.

McGuiness has been spending at his dad's dojang on Shippan Avenue preparing for an international competition at Walt Disney World in August. McGuiness has a red belt in karate and is gearing up to compete against other kids his age from seven different countries. But karate isn't McGuiness' only interest. He also loves football, baseball and math.

Patch paid a visit to Stamford Martial Arts to see McGuiness in action and to hear how he's preparing for the upcoming competition.


Patch: Hey Woody! I just dropped in on you practicing at your dad’s dojang. What do you love about karate?

McGuiness: I love taking karate here because my dad singles me out in class and teaches me more forms than the other students. We learn social defense that can help us in any situation. I’ve been taking classes since I was three and now I’m a red belt. I love going to classes because I can meet up with my friends and I get to express myself physically and emotionally. I learn a lot and I get to spend a lot of time with my Dad, which is cool.

Patch: What forms are you learning?

McGuiness: I’m learning pole forms, sword forms and other types of martial arts. And as we go on, we’ll get into higher ranks such as knife forms.

Patch: And you have a competition coming up, right? Tell me about it.

McGuiness: I’m going to an international competition at Walt Disney World in August. Kids from seven different countries will be there. We’ll be put into different age groups to perform in front of judges.

Patch: Are you nervous about competing?

McGuiness: I am more nervous about this competition than others because hundreds of kids will be there and it’s international. Two years ago, this competition was held in Europe and in 2013 it will be in South Africa.

Patch: Wow, that’s so cool! What other sports or extracurricular activities do you enjoy?

McGuiness: Well, I’m on the football team at Dolan and I’m also on the All-Star baseball team at Northrop. I’m also on the math team at school.

Patch: And what classes do you love at school and why?

McGuiness: I love Math because I’m better at it than other subjects — it’s easier for me to comprehend. I also love Music because it’s fun and I get to learn instruments. I’m learning how to play the piano and soon I’ll be learning how to play the guitar.

Patch: So you just finished sixth grade and you're headed to seventh grade in the fall. What are you looking forward to the most?

McGuiness: I’m definitely looking forward to playing football again, getting new teachers and my birthday.

Patch: And what do you think you'd like to do once school's all done and it's time to go to work?

McGuiness: I think I’d like to become an artist or a pianist. I think each job would be fun all around.

Patch: Wow, so you do art as well? Do you take lessons?

McGuiness: I draw and paint. I love to draw real people. I’m not very good at drawing anime. I’m self-taught, but I did take a cartooning class once.

Patch: And what about martial arts? Do you think you'll continue to do it when you're an adult?

McGuiness: I think my dad expects me to take over as instructor of the dojang, but that won’t be for a while.

Patch: And who do you think inspires you the most to achieve?

McGuiness: I think my parents inspire me the most. When I’m at baseball, my mom says things like, “You gotta reach more into the outfield.” And my dad’s always giving me tips on how to do things better.

Patch: And when you’re not practicing karate, baseball or football, what do you do to have fun?

McGuiness: My neighbor has a trampoline and some of my neighbors have pools. And my friends and I set up our own basketball court on our block, so we’re always out there having fun.

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