We will have a Traditional Candle Ceremony at Kowkabany’s Family Martial Arts Center in our Tampa, Florida location on Tuesday, December 18th, at 6:45 p.m. All of our Adult Martial Arts Students and Karate Kids are welcome to attend, and those who wish to join us on the training floor during the ceremony should wear their full dobok (uniform). Family members and spectators are also encouraged to attend, however, only students in full uniform will be allowed on the training floor. Here is a quick recap of the origin of this ceremony, as well as information on those who will be honored during this event. Excerpt taken from ATA’s History: As Grand Master H.U. Lee was leaving Korea to start a new life in America, his Martial Arts Instructor gave him a gift. The gift included two items, a bar of soap and a candle. Grand Master Lee asked no questions as to the meaning of the gift, but often pondered its meaning. On a Trip back to his home land, some years later, he discovered that his Instructor had passed away, so there was no way of asking him the meaning of the gift. Grand Master Lee became an instructor and started teaching Taekwondo. It was at this point in his life that the meaning of the soap and candle came to him. A leader’s life must make constant sacrifices as do the soap and the candle. The soap cleans a body by sacrificing itself just as a martial arts leader sacrifices himself daily to help cleanse the student’s mind and body. A candle’s light is seen as knowledge. The light reveals what could not be seen. The candle must constantly sacrifice itself as it melts away in order to keep the flame going. In the same way, the leader must illuminate with knowledge and guidance so that the students can see their path that was dark, and to shed light on a life that was full of darkness. The candle is also used in the Master’s Ceremony to represent the willingness to follow the Grand Master’s example; to make a daily sacrifice for the children of Songahm Taekwondo; and to prove to be a loyal student of the Grand Master. During this traditional martial arts ceremony on Tuesday, we will honor one of our Assistant Instructors who just recently passed his first level of certification to become an ATA Certified Trainer. We will also honor those students who successfully tested for the rank of 1st Degree Decided Black Belt during our Rank Testing held on December 13th. These inidividuals will light their candles from the flame of 8th Degree Chief Master Laura Kowkabany’s candle, signifying the knowledge she has passed on to them during their training.