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Through my Taekwondo training I've learned how to defend myself, but as a Leadership student, I also received advanced lessons with traditional weapons. I never imagined that using something as simple as a Bo Staff could be so empowering! Although I hope I never have to defend myself against an attacker, I now have the confidence and ability to do so.
–Christina Morales, Brown Belt, 18 years old


                From ATA World Volume 19, Number 2 - Summer 2012

How are ATA students inspiring and entertaining large audiences? Here are just a few who’ve hit it big time in mass media recently:

Consider Lydia and Daniel Wade (2nd Degree and 3rd Degree Black Belts respectively) and their ATA schoolmate Black Belt Amy Nicholson, who have been performing at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Lydia and Amy appeared in Mozart’s The Magic Flute and all three performed in Aida. They performed as supernumeraries – additional actors necessary to put on the story of the opera. They may just be teenagers, but their auditions allowed them to display the focus, discipline and attitude necessary for a national opera stage. Says their dad, Jim, who owns Karate for Kids in Franklin Park, Ill., with his wife Marcy, “Without a doubt, we know ATA Taekwondo training was one of the reasons our kids did so well in rehearsals and performances.”

Kaitlyn Mulder was featured on the Lifetime Channel series Coming Home. Her dad, Joseph, was serving in the U.S. Navy during her 2nd Degree testing. Producers filmed her testing in Hawaii, in a partnership with Pride Martial Arts of Chula Vista, Calif., and Traditional Taekwondo Center in Honolulu. When it came time for her to be presented with her new belt, cameras caught the big surprise: her dad holding the belt! You can watch the segment Coming Home: Karate Surprise at Make sure you have some tissues handy.

Black Belt Jessica Cox, who was born with no arms, studies Taekwondo at the University of Arizona ATA Club – Young’s Black Belt Academy, and was featured on the show Beyond Belief on the Oprah Winfrey Network because she is the only person in the world to fly a plane with no hands. Follow her amazing story at her website:

Everywhere they go, Songahm students exhibit confidence, commitment and joy – and inspire others!