ATA SONGAHM WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS RECAP
As I drove home yesterday from my 26th consecutive year at our Songahm Taekwondo World Championships I had plenty of time to reflect on the ATA’s past, present and future. I feel fortunate that when I first started my Taekwondo training the ATA happened to be what was available. I had no idea at that time that I would grow with the organization as it would become the world’s largest. (The above picture is just a snapshot of one of two rooms in the 3 full days of competition). That gives you an idea of the magnitude of this event.
Outside of my family the members of this fine organization are the closest people to me. When I attend the World Championships it is like one big family reunion. I see many people that I have spent years trying to kick in the head and them me, but when the competition is over its back to family and friends.
What makes this organization so great is that it’s a traditional martial art not stuck in tradition. It is constantly evolving with the times and has something for everyone. Not all can be good at everything but everyone can be good at something. The ATA provides that opportunity. They spell out the process from white to black belt to certified instructor and then Master Instructor.
I am so proud of our two newest World Champions Ms. Adrea Shadbolt, Forms and Mr. Tom Froidl, sparring. Their hard work and dedication earned them a title that they can cherish for life. Its students like these that have given us the reputation for developing quality martial artist for over 20 years. We greatly appreciate those before you and those that will follow. Like the ones that kicked off the new tournament year with domination in your divisions this weekend, it sets the pace for the tournament year ahead.
A huge highlight for me was being there with my brother as he broke his 9 day fast for Mastership. In many styles the instructor self proclaims Mastership .In the ATA a Master Instructor is required to have a large following of students and go through a yearlong intensive mental and physical training program. I know that this year has been quite challenging for him as it should be. Now he can reflect on the journey and appreciate the time and sacrifices he has overcome to hold this esteemed position in this great organization. I know for me personally I have had my most growth as a person since achieving Mastership. After being there with my brother I feel he’ll have the same experience as it’s truly enlightening.
Being part of something bigger is truly better, we are fortunate to be involved in an art that is so systematic it takes the guess work out of requirements and expectations. It gives it’s instructors a road map to help their students excel both mentally and physically. For me personally I am so fortunate that ATA just happened to be what was available when I went looking for martial arts.