Webster defines perseverance as ‘the continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition’. Each sport has at least one inspirational example of perseverance. Whether its Babe Ruth in baseball or Michael Jordan in basketball, there’s always a story.
At ATA Martial Arts / Karate for Kids, a martial arts school for children and adults at the Shelbourne Square Shopping Center in Exeter and Suburbia Shopping Center in Pottstown, there are six.
Over the past season, six students from these schools were motivated to move out of their comfort zone and test their abilities in tournaments around the country. These students train year-round taking classes 3-5 days a week, dedicating additional time to improve their skills for competition.
A member of the American Taekwondo Association (ATA), Karate for Kids has nine instructors who teach taekwondo, a Korean martial arts discipline, and over 250 students.
“Martial arts is about competing against yourself,” said Michael Morgan, co-owner of the schools. “Participating in tournaments puts those abilities to the test in a safe, positive environment where you learn what you did well and what you need to work on.”
The tournament season runs from July through May. Competitors receive points for placing first, second and third in their respective events. They are grouped by age in various categories such as traditional forms, traditional weapons, sparring and combat weapon sparring. Competitors may travel to local/regional tournaments throughout the season. Competitors with the most points per event, in each state, in each event and age group earn a rank. The top 10 in each state were eligible for the district championship and world championship.
Students from Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts competed in the Northeast District Championship. Northeast District Championships held at United Sports Center Fieldhouse, Downingtown, Chester County, June 1. Following Districts, qualified competitors are invited to the World Championships in Little Rock, Arkansas July 8-14.
Six students from Karate for Kids competed this past season: Isabella, DiStefano, Max Gallagher, Zoe George, Kayla Morgan, Amanda Selwyn, and Mason Vetter.
DiStefano who competed in 2nd & 3rd degree black belt girls ages 12 to 14, ranked in the Top 10 of Pennsylvania for sparring and combat weapons sparring this past season.
Gallagher took home the titles of district champion and Pennsylvania state champion in X-treme Martial Arts form and weapons for colored belt boys ages 12-14. Additionally, he ranked in the Top 10 of Pennsylvania for traditional forms and weapons form.
George who competed in 1st, 2nd & 3rd degree black belt girls ages 1 to 8, ranked third in Pennsylvania for sparring and second for combat weapons sparring.
Morgan who competed in 4th & 5th degree black belt women ages 18 to 29, earned fourth place in traditional forms at World Championships. She also holds the titles of District champion and Pennsylvania state champion in traditional forms as well as second in Pennsylvania for sparring.
Selwyn who competed in 1st degree black belt women ages 30 to 39, earned second place in combat weapons sparring at World Championships. She also holds the title of Pennsylvania state champion in traditional forms, sparring, and combat weapons sparring events.
Vetter took home the title of district champion in combat weapons sparring for colored belt boys ages 1-8. He also ranked in the Top 10 of Pennsylvania for traditional forms and combat weapons sparring.
“These students trained hard over the past season. We’re all really proud of their accomplishments individually”, Michael Morgan said, “We’re even more proud of how they collectively represented our school, respected their competitors, and cheered them on. Each of them made a lot of new friends at these events and have inspired more of our students to challenge themselves in competitions this season.”