It's a bit of a shame that Tara MacDonald, though a student at the Harvard School of Education, doesn't want to go into teaching. After all, even Detroit's legendary headmaster Joe Clark never won a round from Dallas, the American Gladiator. As the 6 foot, 150 1b, U.S. National Champion in the Chinese martial art Sanshou, Tara would be particularly suited to keeping even the most rowdy students in line.
Tara describes Sanshou as a complex mixture of boxing, wresting, kick-boxing and grappling, a combination that makes the sport "the hardest thing I've ever done." She took up the form after her kung fu insctructor told her she hit "like a girl." After a few years, Tara vaulted to the top of the small pool of female Sanshou fighters.
'sock full of marbles'
At the U.S. Nationals, Tara breezed through the early rounds, making short work of lesser opponents. She finished the final in gory "Moral Kombat" fashion, delivering a perfect roundhouse kick that crushed her opponent's nose with a sound that her teammate Josh Bartholomew described as like "a sock full of marbles hitting a wet turkey." Watching the video of the coup de grace confirms this description, even for those of us who are more humane to we turkeys.
However, Tara's best-known opponent didn't know Sanshou from moo shu. Before she assumed her national title, Tara was scheduled to fight in a competition televised on Pay-Per-View. 24 hours before the competition began, Tara's opponent, intimidated by her formidable skill and size, refused to fight. After scrambling to find Tara a new opponent, the network summoned Dallas, the American Gladiator who also happens to be the two-time Tough Woman World Champion. Tara's uneasiness about facing the Gladiator (and without a padded "Pugil Stick," at that) wasn't helped by the fact that she wasn't sure who her mom--a huge "American Gladiators" fan and a passionate devotee of Dallas--would be cheering for.
Dallas weighed in at an unreal 172 pounds, and the 22-pound difference was a formidable obstacle for Tara to have to overcome. Not familiar with Sanshou technique, the Gladiator used her brute strength to slam Tara out of the ring eight times, winning two out of the three rounds.
And now? Tara, disappointed by the lack of non-gladiatorial competition, plans to form a national women's Sanshou team. If that doesn't work out, there's always Ice.