MariLiis Bateman was recognized for her first place finish at the 2021 Pan American Championships
Lee University student MariLiis Bateman has been selected to compete for Team USA at the Pan American Kickboxing Championship in Brazil this month.
The championship is hosted by the World Associations of Kickboxing Organizations, the only kickboxing organization that has an International Olympic Committee recommendation and will potentially be included in the 2028 Olympics.
“This opportunity to represent Team USA and share the ring with the best fighters in the Pan Am region is an honor,” said Ms. Bateman. “I’m thrilled to demonstrate how hard I’ve worked over the past few months to become the best fighter I can be.”
Ms. Bateman has been with WAKO since 2018 and won first place in her first international competition, the 2021 Pan American/North Caribbean Championship. After attending several WAKO training camps this year, she was selected by Coach Team USA Rob Zbilski to compete at the international level again and gave herself a chance to defend her title.
The full-time student, in addition to being a skilled kickboxer, is the primary instructor and owner of Force Academy, a martial arts fitness facility in Cleveland. She works alongside her father, David Bateman, teaching martial arts classes to children and currently meets with 20 students twice a week.
Ms. Bateman’s father, who is also her trainer, inspired her love for kickboxing. She began training martial arts at the age of three and is now a 4th degree black belt, six-time AAU National Champion and 2020 Martial Arts Hall of Fame Female Instructor of the Year. the United States.
A bioscience junior with a major in pre-physical therapy, Ms. Bateman wants to use her degree in tandem with martial arts. “My dream is to have a sports and rehabilitation center for athletes to help train them and encourage them while they go through therapy,” Ms Bateman said. “I want to give athletes a way to learn about injury prevention, so they can have a better and longer athletic career. Especially in martial arts because it’s a contact sport with a lot of injuries, many coaches are not trained in these areas and therefore can harm athletes in the long run.
Not only does Ms. Bateman train rigorously off campus, she is also a hard worker inside the classroom.
“I am thrilled that MariLiis has this wonderful opportunity to compete in the Pan American Kickboxing Championship,” said Dr. Pamela Hobbs, assistant professor of health sciences at Lee. “I am not surprised by this honor because MariLiis is one of the hardest working and most successful young women I know. She sets goals and works hard to achieve those goals by doing her best whether it be in her schoolwork or in the sport of kickboxing, MariLiis is well deserving of this honor.
For more information on the 11th Pan American Kickboxing Championship, taking place November 16-20, visit www.wako.sport/events/12th-panamerican-championships/
For live viewing, visit www.youtube.com/c/WAKOKickboxing.
For more information on The Force Academy, please visit www.expertkarate.org.
MariLiis Bateman using the “flying knee” technique at WAKO headquarters during the 2021 annual training camp