Hunter Williams on Dr. Oz
By: Jenny O’Connor
During the last few years, martial arts has grown tremendously in popularity among children and adults. This generation’s parents grew up with cult classics like “The Karate Kid” and now their kids are falling in love with Po, the “Kung Fu Panda.” But it’s not just a feel-good story that draws families to martial arts; it’s that this extracurricular sport can teach self defense, self confidence, and self improvement.
For Hunter Williams, 14, of Medina, Tenn., his martial arts journey began when a teacher recommended Taekwondo as an outlet for his excessive energy and to help him stand up to bullies who poked fun at his small stature. The Williams family explains that when they signed Hunter up for martial arts classes, they knew he would gain physical fitness from the cardiovascular workout of Taekwondo, but they were hoping he would also learn focus and self control. The structure of the Taekwondo classroom combined with the positive encouragement from his instructors made this an activity from which Hunter and his parents benefitted. Today, Williams is a 2nd Degree Black Belt with the American Taekwondo Association (ATA), a multiple time ATA World Champion, and was a member of the organization’s elite World Demo Team.
Though Hunter’s martial art accolades are exceptional for any child, the physical fitness and mental discipline he experienced are characteristic of students in martial art classrooms across the nation. In 2010, Hunter had the privilege of being featured on the Dr. Oz show to talk about martial arts and its benefits. Doctors, like Dr. Oz, have encouraged martial arts for children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a neurological behavioral condition characterized by inattentiveness, difficulty focusing and staying on task. Children generally become more disciplined by the formality of martial art classes and take this self control beyond the classroom doors.
“Before Amber and Adrian started Taekwondo ATA Karate Classes, they used to be really shy, and whenever they had to do a school project and talk in front of the class, you could barely hear them. Both of them were really nervous. But, since they started with the ATA [Karate] and the Leadership classes both can talk in front of the class and it has helped their grades.”
-Mark Kashay (father of Adrian and Amber)
In addition to focus and self control, martial arts is one sport the whole family can do together! Working up the belt ranks is a great way to keep your family healthy and fit while also learning important self defense tactics you could use as protection. ATA Martial arts, the organization the Williams’ family trains with, is one of the many martial art organizations using its training for good. While celebrating its 40th anniversary, ATA is on a quest to make 40,000 families more physically fit and 40,000 children safer. With curriculum programs like Karate for Kids, ATAFIT and ATA Kidz’n Power families are encouraged to get off the couch and get moving while fighting obesity and building safer communities.
Get more physically fit visit www.TryATA.com for more information on how you, your family and friends can try Songahm Taekwondo and see why so many families are becoming martial arts members at TryATA. Try ATA Martial Arts schools are independently owned and operated.