The ATA Family

Written by on June 18, 2024

Looking back over many years


NOTE:  All photos were taken on June 21, 2024 at the Southwest District Championships in Glendale, Arizona.

Hello ATA Family!  It’s been more than 40 years since my wife and business partner helped me start the first ATA classes here in Phoenix, Arizona.


Over those years, I have come to know so many people in Arizona.  I did not, however, at that time think that I would meet wonderful people all over North America as well.

(Mr. John D’Anna, my student since 1983!)

And I certainly did not think I would become friends with good people from all over the world, England, Portugal, Brazil, South Africa, Canada, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, and of course. Korea.

(Mr. Patricio Gutierrez, originally from Chile.  My student since 2000.)

In fact, I traveled to Korea twice, once in 1987 and again in 2010.


(15 instructors who made both the 1987 trip and the 2011 trip)

Wow!  It has been an amazing journey.  And I have come to know people that I can certainly call “family.”   I was recently chatting with a very high rank master (below) and he said this:  “If I were in any city in North America, and I needed help, I could call someone in the ATA.”   That is amazing.

(Master Wacholz, friend since 1987)

Your membership in ATA can also become a real family experience.   I was surprised at that comment, and then I realized that he and I have been in ATA together for the same amount of time.  I, too, could call for help in almost any city in North America.

(Chief Master Jaime, Northern California, friends since 1990)

A few years back, our son was chasing a championship.   We sent him all around the country (age 17) chasing points, and he often stayed with my ATA friends like Chief Master Jaime, pictured here. How do you measure the kindness of a fellow instructor who keeps and eye on your 17-year-old son?

(Benito, who joined in 2014 and his wonderful Mom.)


But getting help in a different city is not the only part of the ATA experience.   In ATA you will find someone to help you train, someone to challenge you, someone to help you understand being a taekwondo parent, someone to help you build confidence and find purpose.  Now that’s a family experience!

(Mr. Giordano, friend, instructor since 2011, from Las Vegas.)

I know there are challenges in every family—arguments, disappointments, financial crises, loss of faith.   You might say:

“I don’t like that competitor.  She’s mean.  Kicks too hard!”

“That kids parents are out of control.  I’m keeping my distance.”

“I’m never competing again.  Those judges were incompetent.”

“My instructor never helps me.”

(Chief Master M. Lee, friend since 1987.)

These are all reasons to say:

“This ATA family thing is dumb.  Dumb people doing dumb things.”

So let’s turn this thing around.

(Castela family, friends since 1989.)

Imagine you are part of a professional association like AMA, IBEW, AICPA, or event the local PTA, HOA, WOMEN’S CLUB.  Or pretend you belong to a church or a softball team or a car club or book club or drum circle.

(Master Berry, SoCal, known him since he was 13!)

If you think there are idiots in the ATA that destroy the “family atmosphere,” you need to look more closely at the world outside of ATA.

(Master Schaefer, Northern California, known since 2005)

There are idiots and rude people and bullies everywhere.    A generally accepted truth is that there are the same number of idiots everywhere, in every organization, in every neighborhood.  You’re not going to free yourself from the scourge of idiots by moving or quitting.

(Master Plaid, all around great guy, instructor, champion.  Las Vegas. Known since 2015)

So what can you do if you don’t think the ATA is a family experience?   The answer is very simple:


(The Joseph Family, known since the tall guy on left was 5. Now 18!!)

Start today or during your next class or tournament or seminar or national seminar or event.  Look for the good in the people around you. I guarantee, you will find it.  And the more you do this, the more good seems to dominate your experience.

(Master Feiles, great instructor, person. Known since 1990)

Everything in your ATA experience will change for the positive.  You will still experience challenges and disappointments and failed testings and big tournament losses.

(Mr. Inloes, friends since 2009)

When you are looking for the good, you see the disappointments fade away as you discover the lesson to be learned, and that will point you in the direction of more good.

(Master Moody, business coach, great guy.  Known since 1990.)

Now there is one more detail to help you get the most out of the ATA family experience:


(Ms. P. Martinez, instructor, fierce competitor, known since 1991.)

That is right.  YOU can be the competitor with the greatest amount of self-control and respect!

YOU can be the parent who cheers on all the kids and supports anyone who is disappointed.

YOU can be the parent who helps the chief instructor organize events.

YOU can be the instructor who always seem to have time for each and every student.

(Mr. Thornton, fierce competitor, enthusiastic, young school owner. Known since 1995!)

When you BECOME THE GOOD, then you enrich the ATA family experience for all those around you.

Try it!


Bill Babin

is available to speak / teach / play music / consult at your

ministry / martial arts academy / convention / event




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