Michelle Baker – Author, Artist, and Martial Artist!

Our student spotlight this week in on Michelle Baker! Michelle is an awesome Tae Kwon Do powerhouse who practices alongside her son Wilson. In addition to being a fantastic martial artist, Michelle is also a local artist and author.  Michelle kindly included in her interview this invitation to her upcoming book launch:
michellebaker“I would like everyone to know they are invited to Malaprop’s for the book launch party of my new book, The Canoe. Saturday, Nov. 15th, 7 – 9 p.m. Please join me for a book talk, signing and tasty treats. It would be a joy to see familiar Sun Soo faces there.
THE CANOE: Set over the course of ten days in 1912, this poetic portrait of love and loss follows two simultaneous stories: the coming of age of Bernie Kingston, the teenage son of a coffin maker who lives along the Chesapeake Bay and Katherine Chambers, a middle-aged Englishwoman leaving home for the first time as she seeks to recover from the loss of her husband and son. Written in journal format, their parallel journeys are told against the backdrop of the Titanic disaster and the communities touched by its tragedy.”
The Canoe is available in store at Malaprop’s, and is available in print and ebook online via Indiebound, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashword.

Interview –
Age: 47
Rank: White/Yellow belt
Occupation: Author/Artist/Photographer

Why I practice:
Having studied and practiced Qi Gong, I have always wanted to learn an additional martial art. When my son, Wilson, started at Sun Soo, I knew I would soon follow in his footsteps.

I practice martial arts because I believe life is a constant conversation between the light and the dark, and all that falls in between. I believe a martial arts practice gives practitioners the ability to choose more consciously, more intentionally, how to wake from, enter into or be in the light, the dark, and all the places in between.

This is also why I am an artist, and I believe each of us is an artist. Every moment is a creative act. We might have a set daily routine, but each moment is absolutely new, never to occur again; we can create a new experience within the repetition of our daily lives. A practice like Tae Kwon Do drives this home for me.

How long have I been practicing Tae Kwon Do: Since July 2014

What I enjoy most:
I like learning the forms. I have a background in dance, and always enjoyed learning new choreography. The forms are new choreography to me. The learning is challenging and exciting. I also enjoy being part of a community. Being able to witness and support each other’s learning processes and achievements is a privilege for which I am very grateful.

Other hobbies/interests:
I paint very large, abstract multi-canvas paintings. Some of my work can be seen at Gallery Asheville and Café 64, both in downtown Asheville. I am a photographer as well, and enjoying taking portraits of people.

Something people at Tae Kwon Do probably don’t know about me:
I wrote and performed a solo show that toured across country for two years with three runs off-Broadway. The play is called Sole Survivors. I interviewed immigrants from Mexico and El Salvador, and created four composite characters who told their stories interspersed with the music of a live mariachi.

As an actor, writer, and former photojournalist, interviewing the people and writing this show was an absolute thrill to see how all my creative outlets could come together, be expressed, and shed light on and give voice to the stories we often never see or hear.

Favorite Tae Kwon Do movement:  Jump kicks!