Student plays key role in local martial arts

Brian Preiser was elected vice president of tournament operations in the Atlantic Collegiate Alliance of Taekwondo

Liberty taekwondo assistant coach and sophomore Brian Preiser has many accomplishments under his belt. Now, he can add one more to that list.

Preiser was recently elected vice president of tournament operations in the Atlantic Collegiate Alliance of Taekwondo (ACAT).

“With his new title … Brian will work alongside students of other colleges in order to bring a level of competition to the southeast never before seen on the collegiate level,” Jesse Wilson, head coach of Liberty’s taekwondo team, said.

kickstart — Brian Presier practices the art of taekwondo. Photo credit: Lauren Adriance

Kickstart — Brian Presier practices the art of taekwondo. Photo credit: Lauren Adriance

Wilson became the coach two years ago when Liberty first decided to add taekwondo as a club sport. At the time, there were no college taekwondo competitions in the southeastern United States.

“I started making phone calls, sending emails, looking through Facebook for any college that had a taekwondo team in the southeast,” Wilson said. “It turned out that all of the major colleges in the area had a team.”

Wilson met with the coaches from Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia, and together, they created the idea of the Virginia Collegiate Alliance of Taekwondo. By the end of the year, the name was changed to Atlantic Collegiate Alliance of Taekwondo due to the interest of out-of-state schools such as Duke and the University of North Carolina. Wilson said that today, ACAT includes 11 official member schools.

ACAT is run primarily by students, and in January, it released the names of its official board of directors, which now includes Preiser.

“I was excited to begin a new chapter in my martial arts career,” Preiser said. “For many years, I was the competitor. … It was good to be able to step to the other side of the table.”

Preiser began studying martial arts when he was 8 years old. He said his parents actually signed him up because his sister wanted lessons. Preiser was initially reluctant, but when his sister quit six month later, he chose to continue.

“Fourteen years later, and I still have never quit,” Presier said.

In 2013, Preiser received his third-degree black belt in United States Black Cat Kanpo, a fusion of taekwondo and a few other martial arts.

“I love the martial arts,” Presier said. “It is something that has drastically changed my life.”

In spite of Preiser’s strong competition background, Wilson decided he would make a better leader than competitor. He made Preiser the team captain first before promoting him to assistant coach.

“Brian immediately, unknowingly started to motivate the rest of the team,” Wilson said. “He was very straightforward with everyone, but his demeanor was one in which he drew respect.”

Preiser said that he has learned a great deal about leadership while studying martial arts. He said his new position as tournament operator gives him the chance to utilize those skills. He is now responsible for organizing and planning the competitions, which includes coordinating with everyone from referees to coaches to venues.

“From the registration to the game-day events, my hand is in each and every aspect of the tournament,” Preiser said.

According to Wilson, Preiser now has the ability and opportunity to take tournaments to another level with his new position.

“Brian is a natural leader and has the vision to see how (ACAT) has the potential to grow into something huge,” Wilson said.

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