Eat your heart out, Donatello.

When Taylor Dorothy was a little girl, she used to watch “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “Power Rangers” on television — only she wasn’t the type to sit quietly on the couch.

“I was a little hyper when I was a little kid,” Dorothy said, “so I would end up trying to mimic the moves and try to do them on my older sister, so I’d get in trouble.”

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Dorothy has managed to channel her energy into something a bit more productive. The 2014 Whiteland graduate won her first American Taekwondo Association (ATA) world championship last year, and next month she’s planning to compete on international soil for the first time at the WKU World Martial Arts Championships in Killarney, Ireland.

Back when she was honing her craft by mimicking cartoons, Dorothy repeatedly begged her parents to enroll her in martial arts classes. They eventually relented, and when she was 9 years old she started taking beginner taekwondo at Greenwood Community Center.

When she was 12, Dorothy had earned a black belt and was already doing some teaching.

“I was one of the more advanced students at my first school,” she said.

For the past three years, she has been the head instructor at ATA Family Martial Arts on the northwest side of Indianapolis, where she trains under the tutelage of that gym’s former owner, Adam Hess.

Dorothy competed in several different sports growing up, but by the time she was in high school she knew that she wanted to focus all of her energy on competing in taekwondo.

That decision has paid off. After racking up several state and regional championships, Dorothy earned her first world title by taking first place in creative forms at the 2016 ATA worlds. She followed that up by earning three medals — two silvers and a bronze — at last month’s ATA world championships in Little Rock, Arkansas.

This past winter, she was invited to Evansville to try out for a spot on Team USA for the WKU worlds, and she beat out six other girls there for a spot on the team.

Though she competes in eight different events at ATA competitions, Dorothy will be concentrating on three in Ireland — creative forms, XMA forms and XMA weapons, the same three she medaled in at the ATA worlds in June.

“Those are my best events,” Dorothy said, “so I want to go over to Ireland and really show them my best.”

Part of what appeals to Dorothy about competitive martial arts is that it’s an individual sport. And in most of her events, she’s truly on an island.

There are a handful of taekwondo events that involve going up against an opponent — Dorothy competes in sparring and combat sparring — but the majority are performance-based and judged, much like gymnastics or figure skating.

“I don’t have to rely on teammates to succeed,” Dorothy said. “It’s all about whether I push myself to achieve my goals.”

She’s pushed herself all the way from her living room to Europe.

At a glance

Taylor Dorothy is looking to raise $2,500 to cover her trip to Ireland for next month’s WKU Martial Arts World Championships. She needs to raise approximately $1,600 of that by July 10 to book her flight and hotel.

Want to help out? Donations can be made through Dorothy’s GoFundMe page at

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Ryan O'Leary is sports editor for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at or 317-736-2715.