407 N. Main Street, Arab, Alabama 35016

Tournament Memories

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Tournament Memories

Tournaments are my favorite!!

Tournaments are a way for the individual student to compare their training with other, similar-ranked students. 

Tournaments are a way to have your "Karate Kid" moment.

Tournaments are a way to discover your potential.

Tournaments are a way to feel a part of the "team".

I have been participating in tournaments since 1983. In those 38 years I have learned about myself as a martial artist, and instructor, and as a leader. This is what tournaments offer to everyone, regardless of rank or age.

Here are some of my favorite tournament memories:

1. I'll start with my first tournament. I was a 13 year old yellow belt. I had been training for 5 months and wanted to see what taekwondo was all about. I traveled to Birmingham, Al with another student and his family. In those days we had no idea of when we would be called to compete. We sat and waited for our division to be called. I remember the anticipation of the unknown. As the hours passed , I took in the atmosphere. Black belts were everywhere. Sparring was happening. People yelling felt like "controlled chaos" to me. When my time came, I'd like to say I performed great. But it wasn't my day. However, my fire was fueled to be a tournament champion.

2. In 1996 I decided to leave the taekwondo organization I had started with. They were no longer a good fit for me. I traveled to Charlotte, NC to participate in a tournament with a new organization. This was my first tournament with Taekwondo America. I was introduced to some new friends by my old friends, had some laughs, and won a trophy. I decide at this time that Taekwondo America's culture suited me just fine. The rest, as they say, is history.

3. 2008 was my daughter, Riley's, first tournament as a Little Dragon. The joy she expressed when she won her "Dragon Medal" was something every parent can appreciate.

4. In 2013, I ran my first tournament by myself. I had helped out at others: separating divisions, getting the students to their ring, training judges. But the 2013 tournament was my first as the sole responsible person. The tournament was in KNoxville, TN and, I feel, it couldn't have gone better. We had over 400 competitors that day and finished at 5 pm. We have since streamlined the way we schedule divisions and it makes for a shorter day.

5. There was a tournament in Dallas, in 2012, where the fire alarm at the hotel went off at 1 in the morning. Not really a great memory, but one for the books.

6. At another tournament in Dallas, we had to stop the tournament periodically to allow a wedding procession to walk through the facility. No lie. The bride was all dressed up and we, as a group, stopped, applauded, and wished her well.

There are lots of other tournament memories. Too many to count, actually. My 6th degree testing, my 7th degree demo, my first tournament as a TA school owner, lots of memories.

I'm looking forward to making more memories in July (Chattanooga) and September (Cincinnati). The one thing I can tell you is that tournaments are for everyone. All ages. All ranks. Parents and students.

Come make memories with us!!


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4 weeks plus a student uniform for $60.00 (a $145 value)