Samuel D. Logan
The Valdosta Daily Times
The American Taekwondo Association’s International Taekwondo Tournament was held Saturday in Valdosta, giving youth and adults alike a chance to showcase their martial art talents.
The event gave more than 500 competitors a chance to show their mettle against one another, and included 16 martial arts masters as well. Hosted by the Performance Martial Arts Academy of Valdosta, the tournament took a lot of time to plan and execute.
“All my parents put a lot of it together. It takes a lot of time and training for the students,” said Performance Martial Arts Academy owner Mitchell Church. “It’s a community thing so everyone works together to make it special. I have the greatest parents ever. They really made the tournament a success. With all the people we had in town, we had all the hotels on the exit booked.”
Even larger than last year’s tournament, the event brought out big names in the local community, including Valdosta State University President William McKinney and Valdosta mayor John Gayle.
“It was great, better than last year, and even the year before. Every master in attendance couldn’t believe the southern hospitality our tournament team showed them,” said Church.
The tournament was also graced by the presence of Grandmaster Soon Ho Lee, in addition to competitors from around the world.
“It was a big honor for me to have Grandmaster Soon Ho Lee to attend, and all the other masters we had from all over the world, to be apart of the event,” said Church.
The final results of the tournament will be delivered later in the week, but the students of Performance Martial Arts Academy left their impression on the judges and more importantly, their master Church.
“Our students did awesome, I am very proud of their effort and hard work,” said Church.
With the hard work of this tournament over, the students of Performance Martial Arts Academy will now prepare for yet another tournament in Atlanta on April 22.