Maggie Messina, owner of TaeCole, to be inducted into Ocean State Grand Nationals Hall of Fame

Maggie Messina, owner of TaeCole, to be inducted into Ocean State Grand Nationals Hall of Fame
Maggie Messina, seen here with two of her students, said she opened up her taekwondo studio to give kids a safe haven and encouraging environment. (Photo courtesy of Taecole Tae Kwon Do and Fitness)

Maggie Messina, owner and master instructor of TaeCole Tae Kwon Do and Fitness in Albertson, will be inducted into the Ocean State Grand Nationals Hall of Fame on Friday.

Messina, who will be part of a class of three, said she is honored by the award and to be among people she’s looked up to for decades. 

“These people are really who started up martial arts competitions in the 1970s; they’re very influential,” Messina said. “It’s an honor to be valued for the work I do for women in martial arts and in sports.”

Messina will travel to Warwick, Rhode Island, for the event, one she has been going to as a spectator and competitor for years. 

Professionally, Messina first competed at Madison Square Garden in 1986, competing with her division in the gym corner near the bleachers and the bathroom. Since then, she has won multiple world championships in multiple sport karate circuits. 

The extent of Messina’s accomplishments does not fit completely on one page, as shown by her website, let alone several walls at her studio in Albertson. She has been named master instructor and director of tens of locations, won numerous fighting championships and traveled the world competing. Her studio is lined with gold medals, championship belts and photographs of her travels. 

From upstate New York, Messina grew up in the foster care system. Living through poverty, she said, helped her achieve the determination necessary to reach the upper echelons of her sport.

Coming her humble beginnings, she said, she could never have imagined the heights she has reached. 

“It’s definitely like a wow factor,” Messina said. “Because of my upbringing it’s always kept me in a position where I’ve always been a pay it forward kind of person. I always have the values to make the world a better place than it was for yourself.” 

Messina has received merit awards from the U.S. Congress and the state Assembly for her dedication to achieving equality, particularly in regard to children and women.

Upon finding out the news, Messina said her staff and parents of students showered her with congratulations, both in person and on Facebook.

“They said they were blown away but not surprised,” Messina said. “It feels good but I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.”

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