WOOD COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - An all martial arts tournament was held in one East Texas community, promoting fitness, self-defense, and the spirit of competition.
And many families are opting for martial arts training as a way to protect their children from bullying in schools, or targets for violence from outside sources.
Taekwondo: Korean discipline. Kung fu: Chinese. Aikido: Japan. All of these disciplines have common threads.
“I believe the biggest benefit is discipline and respect,” says 13-year-old competitor Sam Strong.
"It’s taught me a little more discipline than before I came into it, " says 16-year-old Kung fu student Matthew Anderson.
The all martial arts tournament in Holly Lake was not so much a competition, as a way to measure skills. Skills important to kids and adults.
“My biggest kick is to see these kids get out and do well. And see them progress,” says Sifu Brandon Greene of Red Dragon martial arts in Holly Lake.
In an era where school bullying is still a concern, and outside threats to children’s safety are always possible, any form of self-defense is appealing to parents.
"Self-defense is just daily things in life that can happen to us. Bullying, especially when people put hands on, martial arts teaches how to defend themselves. To get out of the situation safely," says Mount Pleasant martial arts Owner and instructor Shea Taylor.
Whether its forms or weapons, all martial arts offer something else very important.
"Actually build their confidence in front of other people and gives them an opportunity they wouldn't have. So it takes a kid who didn't think they could do anything, to an adult that can do anything they put their mind to," Taylor says.
Children, as well as adults, competed in the tournament.
Competitors ranged from 8-years old, to 68-years old.