This Magic Moment: Part 8 CM Tammy Harvey-Stauber

Written by on June 18, 2023



CM Harvey-Stauber – the facts

  • Born:  1961
  • 1973 started Taekwondo
  • Instructors:  Finis Shelnutt, H.U. Lee
  • 1975 1st degree
  • 1977: youngest person (16) to certify as instructor
  • 1978 first female to open commercial academy
  • 1981: 4th degree
  • 1990: first female to ever compete in Men’s 5th Division
  • 10-time national champion forms & sparring (consecutively)
  • 1993: 6th degree
  • 1994: became ATA’s first female master
  • 1996 ATA hall of fame
  • Personal: married to James Stauber, 3 children, 3 grandchildren
  • Hobbies: loves outdoors, lake, beach, music, kayaking, fishing, gardening, riding motorcycles with hubby
  • Favorite thing is being “Gammy” with the grandchildren
  • Loves to make people laugh.

Not sure you have the time to read all I want to say about this wonderful person.  I first met Tammy Harvey-Stauber in 1983 at the Ferncliff Summer TKD Camp.   I was 30 at the time and well, CM Harvey-Stauber is one of those eternally-youthful-looking folks.  I suspect she was a teenager at the time.  But it really was her parents who made a bigger impression on me because they came to camp to help with a pig roast that we feasted upon after a rigorous four days of training in the mosquito-infested forest outside of Little Rock. I saw those two folks every year thereafter for many years, each time, cooking another pig, and each time it was delicious.

CM Tammy first blew away my vision of perfect kicking around 1985? when she and Wyck Blankenship were selected to introduce the new 3rd Degree form, Chung San, at WORLDS. Wow!   Now is not the time to go into all kinds of detail about how special Songahm forms are……



You had to be there  when we first saw Songahm I after training with Chung Ji  which included NO KICKS AT ALL.


Well I think at the time 3rd Degrees were doing an old form call Po-Eun which had only two knee-level side kicks.



To watch this powerful new form, Chung San, performed by two expert kickers, YES, my mind was blown.  Here is a current video of Chun San.



(Perhaps somewhere on YOUTUBE there is a copy of the “Harvey-Blankenship” Chung San.  Let me know if you find it.)   You can learn  a lot about how special Songahm Taekwondo is just by watching the video of Chung Ji.   Notice particularly how the turns are executed…..

Well enough technical stuff.  Let’s move on to CM Tammy and me.

Here we are in 1999 just after I became a Master.  She came to Arizona for a tournament and we took her water skiing. She did great!!!

I watched her demos at almost every national event and was totally inspired by her for many years.   We were never really close, but from a distance, she was a total inspiration.

(YOU need to remember that YOU TOO are an inspiration to someone that you do not even know!)

And then suddenly she was gone from ATA.  No need to focus on those days now.  I had my academy to run and my family to support and that was enough.

Well, my heart jumped for joy in 2021 when I learned she had returned to ATA, and when I reported to my ring for 8th degree competition at WORLDS, there she was, my chief judge.   What a sweet reunion!  And I took first place… See!!

I was also blessed that my original instructor, Mr. Rex Veeder, came to that event.  His health was failing fast at that time, but he was there, after he taught my first class 45 years ago.

I had planned to give him a special gift, some beautiful calligraphy created by GM Soon Ho Lee himself.  It was a very special moment for student and instructor.  The piece means “instructor.”

I thought the day was special, but had no idea of the surprise CM Tammy had planned for me.  I knew I took first place because I had won the runoff.  So that was not the surprise.  The judges called out the 2nd and 3d place winners in normal fashion and then CM Tammy told me to follow her.   Unknown to me, she had retrieved the 1st place medal and given it to Mr. Veeder (who was in a wheelchair at ringside) so that he could personally present it to me.  I can relive that moment in my mind and heart any time of any day, especially because Mr. Veeder passed just a year later.

But that gesture, that presentation of a medal, more than any other award or trophy, will always be mine to cherish.   And THAT is the gift that CM Tammy gave to me.  And THAT, my friends, is ATA spirit!   CM Tammy, you are truly a “grand” master.

Thank you, CM Tammy Harvey-Stauber!


Bill Babin

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

ministry / martial arts academy / convention / event




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