I started my training with the ATA in Springfield Missouri 40 years ago! That’s 1984 for anyone who is counting. Wow! It is difficult to believe that I have been training and belonging to the same association for so long! Four Decades. It was February 1984 when I tested from White Belt to Yellow belt. My instructor was and is Grand Master Nominee Tony Isaacs.
Upon reflection of reaching this milestone, I’ve asked myself how was this possible? I am able to come up with a few reasons…
First, it is because of the ATA. Founded in the 1969 by Eternal Grand Master H.U. Lee, it has grown to become the largest martial arts organization in the world! I had the privilege of not only meeting Grand Master H.U. Lee, but being trained and tested by him as a Black Belt! My most memorable time with him was during a private tour he gave of ATA headquarters in Little Rock Arkansas. It was the Monday after World Championships and I had an extra day before my flight left. So I went to HQ to meet a few people and look around. Low and behold, Eternal Grand Master saw me and toured me around the construction for the new WMA building. He then took me into his office and explained to me his famous map of ATA locations. He pointed out where my school was in Canada and told me to get more going! At that time, we might have had about 4 schools/clubs in Canada. We now have almost 20.
Second reason I can Celebrate 40 years with the ATA, well that has to be all of the great students I have had the pleasure of teaching! God has certainly blessed me with awesome students over the years. Everyone who has come into one of my clubs or academies I try to personally interact with. It make me very happy when former students contact me either in person or by email/facebook. I’m always pleased with how our martial arts program has influenced their lives and brought many of them success and happiness.
The third reason for being able to Celebrate 40 years with the ATA is because of great staff members! Over the years I have had the honour and pleasure of training and working with some great people. I have staff that have been with me for decades. Mr. Millard started his training with me in 1992 and is still working out and teaching at our academy. He is my right hand man when it comes to figuring out the best approach to success for our students. Mr. McCann is 71 and started a few years after Mr. Millard. Although he has had a few health challenges lately, he still assists and loves working with our students. There are so many others my fingers would wearing out sharing about: Master Wilson, Mr. David Lister, Masters Bennett, Mr. Mike McHugh, Ms. Lindsay McCall, Mrs. Natasha Millard, Mr. Jordan MacWilliams, Mr. Lucas Hudon, Ms. Erin Thornson, Mr. Phil Pollard, Mr. Nathan VanCuylenburg, Nathan and Samuel Ng and over 800 more Black Belts!
The final reason for having success and celebrating 40 years is because of my family and God. Without either, it wouldn’t have been possible. God has so blessed me with such a special family. All four of my boys were able to train to Black Belt with me. And several of them were able to travel to tournaments with me for competition. This was no easy task considering I have worked evenings and most Saturdays for many decades. To top that off, my wife works shifts. As I look back, I really don’t know how we did except by the grace of God!
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Chief Master Scott Karpiuk
8th Degree Black Belt, BA Education