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Because I'm in the Leadership program at my ATA school, my Instructor asked me to think of a way to serve others in my town. I decided to pick up trash at a park near my house so that kids like me would have a clean place to play. My Mom and Dad and even my little brother helped. It was kinda gross, but I had fun. I really like helping people!
– Paxton Thomas, Yellow Belt, 9 years old

From ATA World Volume 20, Number 1 Spring 2013

Were it not for her daughter’s involvement with ATA Taekwondo, author and mother Laurie Gray would not have published her second novel, Maybe I Will. The story, which follows a high school sophomore struggling to make sense of (and peace with) a sexual assault, incorporates the physical, emotional, and spiritual strength that comes from Taekwondo.

“There would not be a Maybe I Will without my daughter and without hearing the ATA pledge and thinking about it,” Gray says. When she was a deputy prosecuting attorney, she dealt with child sexual abuse crimes. “I was spending so much of my time with my daughter at Taekwondo class, and was so impressed with the positive environment there, that it just worked its way into my story.”

While the novel is meant to provoke discussion and raise awareness about sexual assault, the story also seeks to answer the question “What is ‘character’?” The protagonist – whose gender is never specified – arrives at a conclusion by meditating on the ATA pledge.

Gray’s daughter, Victoria, began Taekwondo when she was 5 under the instruction of Penny Beddow-Wolf of Coventry Taekwondo in Fort Wayne, Ind. “The director of my daughter’s studio is an excellent role model,” Gray says. Victoria is now 11 and a 2nd Degree Black Belt.

“I see Taekwondo as such a powerful opportunity for boys and girls to come in and have a safe place to really work and learn together,” Gray says. It is no wonder Gray’s protagonist finds the courage to talk about the assault the more he or she becomes involved with ATA. This novel – meant for children age 13 and up – is a powerful testimony to the bonds Taekwondo participants form with one another, and the transformative world they enter when joining ATA.