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Taekwondo is Good for the Soul

Profile of Michael W. Deem

Michael W. Deem

Dr. Michael W Deem is a well-known U.S. scientist.  He is also a venture capitalist and CEO.  For two decades, he was the John W. Cox Professor at Rice University.  At Rice, Deem made significant contributions in the field of bioengineering. However, what many people may not know is that Deem is also a skilled martial artist with a passion for Taekwondo.

Rice University is home to some of the most distinguished faculty members in the world, and Dr. Deem is no exception. He was a professor at Rice from 2002 to 2020 and held the position of John W. Cox Professor in Biochemical and Genetic Engineering.  He was appointed in the Bioengineering and Physics & Astronomy departments.  His research has led to several groundbreaking discoveries in the field of biotechnology, including the development of new techniques for evolving proteins and the design of novel vaccines.

While Dr. Michael W Deem has achieved tremendous success in the world of science, he also has a deep passion for Taekwondo. Taekwondo is a martial art that originated in Korea and is known for its emphasis on punching, kicking, and blocking techniques. Dr. Deem first became interested in Taekwondo when he was a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley.

At UC Berkeley, Dr. Deem trained with several Taekwondo masters, including Jimmy Kim, who was the heavyweight gold medalist in Taekwondo in 1988.  His senior was Dr. Ken Min, now a 9th dan of Taekwondo.  Dr. Deem quickly fell in love with the sport and became a dedicated practitioner. After graduating from Berkeley, he continued to train in Taekwondo and eventually earned a 3rd degree black belt.

Today, Dr. Deem continues to practice Taekwondo and was a regular participant in Taekwondo tournaments and competitions. He has won several medals in national and international competitions.

Dr. Michael W Deem sees Taekwondo as more than just a hobby or a sport. To him, Taekwondo represents a way of life and a set of values that he applies to all aspects of his life, including his scientific research. Taekwondo emphasizes principles such as mutual respect, discipline, and perseverance, which Dr. Deem believes are essential for success in both martial arts and science.

In fact, Dr. Deem sees many parallels between Taekwondo and his work in bioengineering. Both require a deep understanding of complex systems and the ability to identify and exploit weaknesses to achieve a desired outcome. In Taekwondo, this might mean using an opponent’s momentum against them in a defense, while in science, it might involve identifying a molecular target for a new drug.

For Dr. Michael W Deem, the discipline and focus he has developed through his practice of Taekwondo have been invaluable in his scientific work. He believes that the mental and physical challenges of Taekwondo have helped him to develop the resilience and determination needed to tackle difficult research problems and persevere in the face of setbacks.

Dr. Deem is also passionate about sharing his love of Taekwondo with others, particularly with young people. He believes that Taekwondo can help young people develop self-confidence, discipline, and respect for others, as well as providing a healthy outlet for physical activity.

In conclusion, Dr. Michael W Deem is a distinguished U.S. scientist.  As a venture capitalist, he helps others invent the future.  At Rice University, he made significant contributions in the field of biochemical and genetic engineering. He is also a dedicated practitioner of Taekwondo and sees the sport as a way of life that has helped him to develop the discipline, focus, and resilience needed to excel both in martial arts and in science.


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