tournament info

"Karate for Kids... brought our family together"

Joining Karate for Kids in Gladstone, MO has brought our family together unlike anything we have done as a family. We tried soccer, baseball, boy scouts, and even football. We were always looking for something we could all get involved in, as a family, allowing us to support one another. After trying out with a competitive boy's football team for two weeks, I realized that the boys were not enjoying the sport or the teamwork aspects of the sport, so I gave them the option to walk away and try something else. We took a long break from extracurricular activities and took our time in searching for our next family adventure.

A longtime friend of mine had his son in Karate for Kids and we had the opportunity to check out a local In-School tournament. My friend always gave rave reviews about the Tiny Tigers program and the fun and friendly atmosphere the establishment had. Most importantly, he bragged about a certain instructor named Mr. Palmer, and how great he was with the kids at passing on his martial arts skills.

Having been in another local Tae Kwon Do school as a young adult myself, I was intrigued by the Karate for Kids approach. Throughout our sports adventures, we'd had some unpleasant experiences with local competitive sports coaches, and I did not want my family to have a negative experience with a hard core militant Korean approach to martial arts. I wanted them to love it and gain the life lessons and self-awareness that I had gained with my martial arts experience.

One day, I was driving with Ethan (10yrs old) and I decided to drop by the Gladstone Karate for Kids dojo, much to my surprise I ran into several of my High school friends that had their kids enrolled in various programs at the school. Everyone had something great to say about the school, the programs, the instructors and the ATA and encouraged me to sign up my boys. Ethan and I met with Senior Master Wenenn and he made all the options easy to understand and affordable enough not to pass up. I knew I would enroll the boys, but what I did not realize was that I was about to enroll my wife and myself as well.

My wife and I enrolled in the adult basic class, Max (6yrs old at the time) in Tiny Tigers, and Ethan in the karate for kids program. It was an instant hit with our family because we were able to learn Korean commands, traditions, martial arts moves, forms, and even weapons. We were all hooked for different reasons but bound by the same thread. My wife has grown more confident and empowered, Max has gained more discipline and self-control and Ethan became more self-assured. I get to spend time with my family and discuss things we all can relate to, and it doesn't hurt that I've regained my slim look back. We used to be a couch potato kind of family who sat around and had movie nights almost every night. Now we don't turn on the TV at all as we all help each other out with our forms, one steps, sparring and weapon handling.

It was a matter of time before we felt we needed more than the basic classes. We had a meeting with Senior Master Wennen and we discussed where we were in our training and where we wanted to go with it. He suggested the Leadership classes were the next logical step. So we enrolled the whole family in Leadership II classes and added tournament training to our martial arts journey.

Training for tournaments while keeping up with class material is challenging but rewarding. We have traveled to many states for all different types of tournaments and have had the honor to meet great people from different schools and states. We have become close friends with several of them since we see them all the time in the tournament circuit. Besides medals and trophies meeting lifelong friends is a priceless reward. Some of the people we have met along the way are Mike Chat (innovator/ creator of Xtreme Martial Arts) and Grand Master In Ho Lee.

Even though we started the 2011-2012 season late, we were able to train and compete in 11 tournaments nationwide and won 78 first place wins, 59 second place wins and 18 third place wins for a total of 155 total top 3 finishes for the season as a family. The season is getting wrapped up and all of us are in contention for several state titles in multiple categories.
All of these great achievements, experiences, and the excitement to achieve more is all due to the supportive and inviting atmosphere the Gladstone Karate for Kids dojo provides. Senior Master Wennen, Mr. Palmer and the rest of the Wenenen ATA family have opened up our hearts and our drive to be the best we can be and in that process we discovered that a family that "kicks together...sticks together. "

The Filion Family