Karate Atlanta Interschool Tournament
Both of my kids have been taking karate lessons for around two years from the American Taekwondo Association or ATA. In Atlanta, eleven of the metro ATA schools belong to Karate Atlanta. Karate Atlanta hosts several tournaments each year for the students of their schools to compete. From the Tiny Tigers (who are 4-6 year olds) up through adults of all ages and belt levels. I had the pleasure of photographing their instructors last summer, along with their Grand Master Soon Ho Lee. You can read about that here, where I was the safest photographer in Atlanta. 🙂 My girl child lives for these tournaments. She is eight and she’s good at it. She begs to participate in these tournaments from the moment signs are posted in her school and doesn’t let up until she knows her name is on the list.
I can only assume that because she is the youngest, she feels overshadowed by her brother…who gets to do everything first. Because he’s older. And so this is her way of doing her own thing and getting a little recognition (her brother wants no part of competing). Which makes her father and I tease a little that she’s not our child. Neither one of us is extroverted (she is and very much so!) or likes to have attention focused on us. In the corporate world (he’s still there and I am obviously, and thankfully, not), my honeys and I are/were very much nose-to-the-grindstone-let-me-do-my-own-thing-so-I-can-get-the-job-done-for-you-I-don’t-need-any-public-recognition/awards-thank-you-very-much. We both do well in leadership positions, but they’re not something we jump for and will step into if no one else does. Which is fine, but we’d prefer to not have a spotlight on us. I suppose that need to blend into backgrounds helps me be less obtrusive as a photographer, which is nice (I love hearing, “I didn’t even know you were there or took that photograph!”).
I love that one of the philosophies of the ATA is positive reinforcement and constant encouragement. I love that this comes from the top and is practiced so fabulously by the instructors. Respect is often talked about, but kindness is seen in the actions. And. I. Love. That. I love that the Grand Master Soon Ho Lee is so patient and encouraging. To every child and student who comes to him. Grand Master Lee signed my baby’s medal, belt and poster. He put this big grin on her face after there were tears on those cheeks with the realization that her skills weren’t quite where she thought they were once she saw others of similar rank. And I love that, too.