Polk County’s Cole Mizio came out on top, Friday June 21, at the U.S. Open Taekwondo Hanmadang in the World Arena, Colorado Springs, Colo.
The 11-year-old son of George and Melissa Mizio competed with athletes from all over the world in the World Taekwondo Federation national tournament.
Mizio found success early in his young career, this year he earned a bronze medal in forms as a second degree black belt, a gold medal in spinning hook kick and two best spirit awards, one in the skipping side kick and one in turning back kick.
His first year he won a gold medal as a brown belt in forms and a silver in skipping side kick. The second year at the nationals he earned a gold medal in forms as a first degree black belt along with three Best Spirit medals in spinning hook kick, skipping side Kick and weapons form.
Mizio’s mother outlined his career and the path he has taken.
“Cole is home schooled and we were looking for an activity for him,” Melissa said. “We needed something that would not interfere with his grades and work into our schedule. Cole found some old Ninja Turtles VHS tapes we had and fell in love with them. He began to copy their movements.”
“We enrolled him in a community Taekwondo program for about three weeks. While I was running the track around the gym to rehabilitate my back after surgery, I noticed they just had Cole in a corner working on his punches by himself so we took him out of the program and he worked by himself until we could find something better.”
While his mother was rehabilitating from her surgery, Mizio waited two years training himself. Mizio then enrolled in a studio in Golden, Colo., about 45-minutes from his home in Blackhawk, Colo.
He began to train under masters there and in 18 months had earned his First Degree Black Belt.
“We chose the Olympic style of Taekwondo because of the discipline,” Melissa said. “Not that other forms of Taekwondo do not have discipline but this one seemed to fit our military background.”
After moving to a farm near Halfway, Melissa had trouble finding a WTF instructor in southwest Missouri. Mizio now trains at the Next Level Sports in Springfield under the guidance of Grandmaster Kevin Lutrell.
“Grandmaster Lutrell is retiring soon and we cannot find another WTF instructor in this part of the state,” Melissa said. “They have a big facility in Lee’s Summit with good instructors but that is too far for us to travel to. If anyone knows of a WTF instructor in the area we would like to get into contact.”
Of all the different parts of the sport Cole says he likes the kicking the most but really likes everything he has to do.
“I made several friends at the nationals,” Cole said. “My favorite group there were the Korean Tigers. I met people from Hawaii, Korea, India and California there.”
Mizio hopes to represent Missouri at the nationals next year for his fourth year in a row.
“I am helping in the studio now,” Mizio said. “My instructor lets me work with the younger kids.”
Cole stays busy as an Assistant Chaplain with the District five Honor Guard based out of Humansville. He is an active member of the DAV Auxiliary and a Royal Ranger at the first Assembly of God Church in Bolivar.
Mizio is looking into starting a chicken farm and someday opening his own Taekwondo studio when he is older.