Team Kowkabany held our First Intra-School Tournament on December 8th, 2012, in our Tampa, Florida location. This martial arts tournament was well-attended by our Karate Kids as well as by our Adult Martial Arts students, and even a few of our pre-school Tiny Tigers. This tournament was sanctioned by the American Taekwondo Association (ATA) as a “C” tournament, and with numerous Top Ten Ranked and State Champion Competitors in attendance, it provided for some GREAT competition! Here are some photos from this exciting event! Chief Master Laura Kowkabany (8th Degree Black Belt) assisted the Tiny Tigers (pre-school students) as they learned how to compete in forms and free sparring! These young kids are on an excellent path that will teach them skills that will help them all through their lives. Our White through Yellow Belt Karate Kids also competed early in the morning, in traditional Songahm Forms, one-step sparring, and even in traditional weapons. Their competitive spirit was strong, and they demonstrated excellent techniques and focus! For many of our Karate Kids, this was their first tournament! It appears we have some future stars in our midst!! Our Camo and Green Belt Karate Girls really put on a good show in sparring! They may be sweet to look at, but you better keep your hands up if you decide to spar with them! We also had some of our low-rank color belt Adults competing. They all work very hard in class, and that was very evident when they competed. We are so proud of these Future Black Belts! Our high-rank color belt Karate Kids really enjoyed sparring with the Combat Bahng Mahng Ee. The action was fast and furious, as competitive sparring with this weapon allows you to strike to the legs and the back, and you can stab as well as strike. Our high-rank color belt women are also EXTREMELY competitive, and they sure do hit hard! The chance to battle for a few extra points in the State Champion rankings made it that much more exciting! As with all of our students, when the action is over in the ring, everyone is still family! Fight your hardest in your matches, but win or lose, when it’s over, everyone is still proud that they did their best, and they are happy for their fellow competitors. The high-rank color belt men can be deceiving, with a few of them being high-rank black belts in other styles. We are grateful that they have found a home with us in our school, and their technique and intensity really helps set a great example for our younger students. Our teenage Black Belts worked hard in the morning judging our pre-school Tiny Tigers. Have you ever seen such big smiles at a competitive event! Team Kowkabany’s Juniors/Teens showed off some great action in sparring! The speed and strategy involved was fun to watch, and every point was hard-earned! The teen Black Belts were absolutely phenomenal! The forms scores were very close, resulting in a tie-breaker; and the sparring matches were just as intense! However, when it was over, everyone was happy, and a few picked-up some extra points in their bids for Top Ten and State Rankings. The Black Belt Men’s group included World and State Champions, and Chief Master Laura Kowkabany and Sr. Master David Kowkabany both stepped in to help with judging this group! Even though they fight hard in the ring–very hard!! — they always finish as a band of brothers! You won’t find a better group of men, in or out of martial arts, anywhere. This tournament was a great way to showcase the three main aspects of ATA’s Songahm Taekwondo: our Traditional Songahm Forms, Free-Sparring (fighting) and Traditional Weapons. If you have never seen Black Belts perform their forms, then we suggest that you stop by to watch one of our high-rank classes, or attend one of our Traditional Rank Testings. Free-Sparring relies less on size and power, and more on technique, speed, timing and strategy. In this photo, you can see the smaller competitor using a #1 side kick (front leg executes a defensive kick against a rushing attacker) to keep his partner from getting close enough to score. This well-attended tournament was such a fun time for everyone, and our plans are to have a second one in the Spring of 2013. Thank you to all of our judges, competitors and supporters for making this such a great event!! We are so proud of everyone, and so thankful that all of you are part of our family – Team Kowkabany!!