Tae Kwon Do

The one with the camera

It has been over a year…

I was the aunt -the sister- with the camera; taking every picture, every video, until the last drop of my battery. Recharging on some outlet while sitting on the floor. Always so proud to see the fantastic accomplishments of my black belt family. So proud to see the dedication, and the passion, in my sister, her husband, and my niece and nephew.

Especially my niece who, clearly, has blossomed into a strong little miss.


(With my black belt family)

Surely, I am not the first.

It has become fascinating to be so immersed in the world of Tae Kwon Do, it having begun so indirectly.

More over, the man I would come to share my life with would be a black belt too; a very advanced one -Mr. Benavides. Another wonderful personal discipline shared with his sons. 


(With Mr. Benavides)


(With my teenage stepsons)

Now, more affected than ever.

Cheering at every moment, for every level of black belt in the book. And for many ages…  

Seeing little children be also inspired, and starting. Like Isa -I love her spirit.


(Celebrating Isa’s birthday)

No wonder the bug would hit me.

To a person uninformed, the practice may seem an aggressive one, but it is all so positive. Mr. Benavides is a very joyous man, and I know his character in part he gets from a lifetime in martial arts. So for me, it only was a matter of time.

Fast forward and I have become obsessed with the idea of the practice, and participating in ATA competitions. Not as a camera woman, but on the mat. I particularly enjoy forms, and especially creative forms. 

When a form is performed superbly, as I witnessed Mrs. Von Schmeling perform it, it can be mesmerizing. That is the word I will use… I was mesmerized. The perfect synchronization of form and breadth… I could hear her every move and its intention. I could see every start and stopping point, and so much control. I could see her power.

Then I thought -I can do that… I would LOVE to be THAT good.

The thought quickly turned, and I started to think… I am an Architect. But it turns out I am not the only architect that would practice the discipline. I have friends all around the globe that have emerged at all levels of belt since I began looking -and feeling- more deeply about training. A friend architect -Mark- 2nd degree black belt in Chicago, an architect colleague -Armin- training with his son across the globe -a green belt in Austria, another colleague in Arkansas -Jeremiah- who not only is a brown belt but actually also participated in the design of ATA’s headquarters, and another colleague -Keith- who called it a life-changer also practicing with his daughter, in Raleigh. The list goes on. Funny, I have yet to encounter a woman, architect, martial artist… (aaah, the story continues!…)

My goal is to start training on 09/01/15, deliberately scheduled. Today is different than over a year ago in that I am more immersed, I have more intent, I have observed more, and now I have more freedom midday to train with adults in a less hectic, less full session. On those same days I will attempt to also practice Bikram -combining the two at least twice per week.

As I move forward with my path, I will be sharing my progress, and I hope to achieve an impossible: a true scorpion kick in a short 2 1/2 years… Why, you ask? It is only a line of measure. I like to set myself seemingly impossible goals because that is the way I make my most optimal, best, personal progress (in anything).

On that note, one last thing…

I can’t wait!


-Tabitha, White Belt, Bikram Yoga practitioner + Reiki Master

Sparring with Friends

One of my favorite things about karate is that I get to participate in sparring, which is basically when you fight in class or tournaments.

When it comes to sparring my friends that’s where is gets exciting.

It’s fun to spar with friends because you can train on any new techniques or tactics you would use during a tournament, and it’s not like you are in true competition.

You know that you guys will not be hitting too hard, or going full force, but the act of sparring with friends -to me- helps with creating strength, improving, and advancing your game.


-Benavides Jr., 2nd Degree Black Belt