You have those that when they say they’re going to do something, they actually do it, and Therese Riedel definitely falls into this category. A rising basketball star who likely would’ve played on the 2012 U.S. Women’s Olympic team, she went on to transform her b-ball skills into martial arts skills.
And it doesn’t stop there. Now a teacher of martial arts and returning to school as well, this 24 year old woman refuses to let her injury win. Read how Therese Riedel did it below.
Why she’s fearless
Growing up in San Diego, California and a graduate of Grossmont High School, San Diego is in the blood of Therese Riedel. She lives and breathes this city, which is likely where she’ll say despite their notorious hilly/non-accessible landscape.
Also a former student of the University of Idaho, after only one year (despite receiving a full scholarship) Therese moved back home, and received another athletic scholarship for Vanguard University in San Diego.
It was here, while on a team building field trip in 2008 for the team at Newport Beach in San Diego, when Therese broke her neck at C5 after diving into some waves near the surf. She hit her head on a sandbar, and she knew instantly her body was paralyzed, describing the feeling as if her body was “melting.”
After her injury, Therese was in basic rehab for almost a year, and after rehab she moved onto Project Walk in San Diego; a rehab facility that focuses on restoring movement from repetitive movement. But perhaps Therese’s best rehab post-injury moment has been Jing Shen Kuoshu, an intense form of self-defense martial arts.
It was about four years ago is when Therese discovered Jing Chen Kuoshu, and her life hasn’t been the same since. She’s regained strength in her hands and triceps, and she’s been able to train once a week with Gary Pearson of San Diego’s Jin Chen Kuoshu workout center. She impressed her trainer her so much in fact they’ve made dozens of adapted martial arts videos. Check them out
Since becoming an expert in adapted Jing Chen Kuoshu, Therese also found the strength to return to college. A born and raised Roman Catholic, religion has always played an important part in her life; since her injury even more so. This is why when Therese decided to return to school, she transferred to John Paul the Great University.
She initially had dreams of returning to Vanguard University and studying to become a coach, but now she’s working towards a mass communications degree at this college, with plans on graduating next year.
Therese also began teaching adapted martial arts this year as various rehab facilities in San Diego, California, including the Deni & Jeff Jacobs Challenged Athletes Center. She teaches through the Jing Chen Kuoshu San Diego-based clinic, sharing what she’s learned through this program with other people with disabilities. Now that is some awesome stuff.
Jing Chen Kuoshu truly is an exciting new level of rehab therapy, and we have Therese to thank for it. If it wasn’t for her, there definitely wouldn’t be as much buzz about this sport. Thank you Therese for showing the world how strong we can truly be.
– Learn more about Therese: San Diego Paraplegic Athlete Fighting To Walk Again KPBS-San Diego
– Learn more: Jing Shen Kuoshu of San Diego
Have you used martial arts training as part of your rehab process?
Watch the videos!