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Reporter: Jake Young

Despite some major physical disabilities, eight-year-old Matthew MacConney gave taekwondo a try, and what has happened since is nothing short of astounding.

“I like to do punching on targets.”

That was what made Matthew MacConney watch a taekwondo practice three years ago.

Despite some major physical disabilities, he gave the sport a try, and what has happened since is nothing short of astounding.

His mother, Melissa MacConney, says, “Because Matthew has several disabilities, it’s something that can build confidence for him. He’s really excited. Especially after this summer when he became world champion. There aren’t many people at eight-years-old that can say they’re world champion, and he’s able to do that.”

That’s right. World champion. Taekwondo has helped Matthew battle muscular dystrophy, transforming himself from a five-year-old that couldn’t run or stand on one leg, to an athlete that can kick nearly to his shoulder.

And don’t think he’s only won a single championship. The eight-year-old won three state titles and four world titles this year, but he hasn’t done it alone.

Melissa and six-year-old Micah, joined taekwondo at the same time as Matthew, and both have won state titles this year.

The boys agree that the sport is more fun because the family is involved, and Matthew adds, “It’s much easier to take class together.”

As for mom? She wouldn’t want it any other way, saying, “That’s one of the things that we liked. As far as being state champion or world champion, all of the matches are together, so we can still travel as a family and make it into a family event.”

A healer, a teacher and a family event. Taekwondo, it seems, is all things to the MacConney’s, and there are no signs of that changing.

http://www.wrdw.com/sports/headlines/98890399.html