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Demetris Coachman 8-09

Demonstrating Service to others and Great Perseverance to Reach His Goals!

Two simple words sum up Mr. Coachman’s life:

perseverance and service.

And what a set of accomplishments!  Here’s just a few:

  • 4th degree black belt
  • certified instructor
  • World Top Ten honors for 10 years in a row
  • Various state championships

Mr. “C” began his Taekwondo career in 1996 when Senior Master Babin started classes at the Boeing Helicopter plant in Mesa.  Over the last thirteen years, he has trained consistently, earned FOUR black belts, and a WORLD championship.  He eventually became the instructor of the classes in which he started!

His professional career in INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY also demonstrates perseverance.  He has been helping engineers at Boeing install, test, deploy, and support software for twenty-six years now!

Let’s take a closer look at his thoughts and philosophy.  He started training for much the same reasons as many of us: “I liked Bruce Lee, David Carradine, and Chuck Norris.  I thought karate was cool.  I liked the power of Bruce Lee, and the patience of David Carradine.  When SMBabin started classes at Boeing, it was really convenient for me and I wanted to get in shape.”

Looking back over thirteen years of regular exercise, Mr. Coachman says: “I accomplished my goal of staying in shape.  I realized that it was based on what I put into it.  I realized that the more I put into it, the more I got out of it.  And I got a lot out of it!”

Earning first degree black belt was a “real milestone” in his life.  He calls it one of his “main accomplishments in life.”st degree black belt—has led to so many great accomplishments in Mr. Coachman’s life.  What would he have missed—and certainly what would all of us have missed—if he had seen 1st degree black belt as the END and not as the BEGINNING? And looking back now, all of us can see how perseverance—continuing the discipline of training beyond 1

How did this commitment to service begin?  Mr. C remembers: “I was told to come to a meeting.  I had no idea why I was there or what I was doing, but I followed directions.  By the end of the night, I was invited to join leadership.”

After six years of service to others as an instructor, Mr. Coachman has these comments:  “I’m not sure I would have furthered my Taekwondo career if I had not been an instructor.  That role helped me in several ways:

  • It helped me break out of shyness
  • It helped me become a better public speaker
  • It gave me more confidence

“I can have a good day at work, and after teaching, I have had an even better day.  There’s no way I have ever had a down day after teaching.  It has always made me feel better about life in general.  I love working with the students, being able to give them something they did not have when they came in to class.  Achieving 4th degree does not compare with teaching, because achieving 4th degree only affects me, but teaching affects other people.” This is the Black Belt quality of service to others.

Over the last two years, Mr. Coachman has been “back at school”.  Yes, while working full-time AND teaching black belts twice a week, he has been taking intensive college courses in which ONE semester of material is condensed into FIVE WEEKS.  Every five weeks for the last two and a half years, he has started a new course.  That was a grueling pace and he did have to give up training and some competitions.  I asked him about that because he did continue to teach when he could easily have taken a break from that as well.  He said simply:  “Although I had to give up training for that time, I did not want my college program to interfere with teaching.”  So all of you who earned 2nd or 3rd degree in the last             

two years, should give him an extra note of gratitude.  Mr. Coachman received his B.S. Degree in Management  from University of Phoenix on July 17, 2009.

As I mentioned earlier, Mr. Coachman has earned WORLD TOP TEN honors for several years.  In 2003, after earning the NUMBER TWO spot in the world, he went to Little Rock with hopes of winning a gold medal in sparring.  He was eliminated in the first round.  “I was ranked number two in the world, and I was devastated by that loss.  I became determined to learn what I had done wrong and I committed to earning that number two spot again.”

And so he set out—not thinking so much of a gold medal, but taking it one week

and one tournament at a time, striving to regain that spot in the WORLD TOP TEN.  “I wanted to prove to myself that I was better than what I did in 2003.” He said that he actually did not think about the GOLD MEDAL until after he knew he had qualified for the 2004 Tournament of Champions.  That’s taking the goal one small step at a time and persevering!

You might also find it a little strange when he says this about winning a WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: “It was not about winning. It was about achieving.  I remember that journey.  I remember all the competitors.  Every one of my sparring partners was a part of my gold medal.  I said to many of them, ‘I could not have done it without you.’  There’s nothing malicious about competition.  I don’t want to win at all costs.  I want to win on my own terms and that means winning by skill, with respect and control. At that level, you compete with the same people all year.  You become friends.  Then you step into the ring and it’s all business, and then when it’s over, we congratulate each other and we are still friends.”

Mr. Coachman’s words prove that many of the next generation of black belt leaders truly do understand Eternal GrandMaster Lee’s philosophy:”to compete is to win.”

In closing, I asked Mr. Coachman what he would say to someone considering joining our program and his comment was brief and clear;  “The only bad choice you can make is NOT starting.  There’s something in it for everybody.”

Thank you, Mr. Coachman, for showing us what perservance and service are all about!

Carl Moore 11-08

Carl Moore

Carl Moore

Replacing shyness with confidence!

Carl Moore is the proud father of Olivia Moore, a quiet, 12 year old 2nd degree black belt.

Carl and Olivia’s story starts back when Olivia was in preschool—lots of preschools.  Twelve to be exact!  “Olivia was kicked out of those preschools because of uncontrollable bad behavior” Carl says.  By the time she started kindergarten she wasn’t doing much better.  “She was diagnosed with ADHD at age 5 and was put on medication.”

It was great to have the behavior issues under control but she became “withdrawn and shy to the extreme.” She wasn’t interacting with other kids and cried whenever she had to face any new and different situation.

Carl knew he had to do more for Olivia.  He enrolled her at Karate for Kids at age 8, with the intention of helping her gain confidence and learn self defense.  But now, 4 years later and a 2nd degree black belt, both Carl and Olivia got a whole lot more.

Within the first year of training, several things changed for Olivia.  Carl goes on to say, “She was developing confidence.  She started to make close friends outside of Karate for Kids”, something she hadn’t done up until this point.    “I’m so proud of her!”

Another major turning point for Olivia was when she started to put the life skills taught in class into practice outside of her martial arts training–specifically at school.  “The life skill Olivia has benefited from the most is goal setting.  She has a chart in her room with her academic goals written down! She writes down due dates on projects, and writes down what she needs to do every night to get it accomplished and turned in on time.” We weren’t surprised when Carl told us that Olivia is a straight “A” student.  Well, she does have a “B” this semester, with a goal to make it an “A”. “She interacts with students and teachers and gives oral reports”, something she wasn’t capable of a few years ago!

Another important benefit for Olivia according to Carl is learning to put the life skills of persistence and perseverance into action.  Getting to 2nd degree black belt has had it’s challenges and “Olivia has learned to work through tough times and not get frustrated.” This is really important to Carl to see her conquer this obstacle.

You might not expect it, but Olivia loves tournaments.   She enters all in-school and regional events, and has even traveled out of state a few times.  Sparring is her best event.  Carl says that although she has never won a first place, she loves to compete.  “Olivia has taken Senior Master Babin’s advice.  She always makes a new friend at these events by introducing herself to others” an exercise we do in leadership class! “And because she has been so friendly over the last few years, she always sees friends at tournaments.  I’m pleased at the way she has learned to make friends.”

Olivia may have started school and needed medication as early as age 5, but that’s changed now as well.   Carl reports that her medication has been reduced by 75%.   “The doctor told me this is unheard of.” Usually, medication needs to be increased as children grow larger and often develop a tolerance for it.   So Olivia’s progress is really wonderful!!!!

Carl knows that the KARATE FOR KID LEADERSHIP PROGRAM is helping Olivia “grow into a better adult.   I like what I see in the older kids at the academy and I know Olivia will be just like that.”

Let’s all Congratulate Carl Moore On Being our Parent of the Month for November 2008!  By Partnering with Karate for Kids and  Supporting Olivia Through Tough Challenges, Carl Has Reshaped His Daughter’s Future!

Elijah White

Elijah White

Elijah White

Demonstrating Discipline & Personal Achievement

Four years ago, Ilona and Scott White were looking for an activity to help their son Elijah gain coordination.  He was only three years old when they enrolled him in our Tiny Tiger Program, and the rest of the story is about discipline, parenting and achievement.

“He was very uncoordinated as a young child, but the consistent discipline of your instructors sank in very quickly,” Scott said.  According to his father, Elijah learned quickly to put the instructor’s commands into action.  Whenever he failed to listen carefully, there always was a consistent consequence.  “It was a perfect combination of a little negative and a little correction, and lots of encouragement,” Scott said.  A few times, Elijah had to sit down for not listening, but Scott said that the consistency of the instructors really helped Elijah learn quickly how to listen.

Not only did his coordination improve but also his focus!

When I asked Scott what UNEXPECTED benefit has resulted from the training, he had a quick answer:  “My own mom and dad had a relaxed approach to parenting.  By watching the ATA instructors, I learned techniques for reinforcing discipline at home.  I was also a little surprised at the large emphasis on respect and the life skills taught.  These traditional values have meant a great deal to my wife and I and our children.”

Elijah is now

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seven, has graduated to the Karate for Kids class, and is fast approaching black belt.  His favorite weapon is SWORD and at the tournament in September, he took FIRST PLACE in weapons.

Perhaps the biggest reason for Elijah’s success is that his parents have made such a great effort to get him to class consistently.  “Sometimes Elijah complained about having to stop playing and go to class, but the consistency of always going has taught him two things:  1. he always has fun in class, and 2. there are great rewards for consistently working hard.”

To parents considering enrolling, Scott said, “It’s very helpful to see how the instructors consistently apply discipline and guidance.  And the Karate Kids traditional values are great.  It is not some obscure eastern philosophy.  You teach the kids how to use traditional values in very practical and relevant ways.  I know that Elijah’s ability to focus, I know that his discipline and his persistence will be really important later in his life, too.