Local karate kids excel in testing


Two Ponte Vedra Beach girls excelled during the collar testing for their karate teaching certification in the elite ATA Legacy Program.

Jessie Miller and Lilly Sonn, both 10, are set on becoming karate instructors and have established a new national standard of excellence in earning their black/red collars that identifies them as the youngest of members to pass the difficult training program for future instructors. This gives them “the foundation needed to create a lasting legacy,” ninth-degree black belt Grand Master In Ho Lee wrote on behalf of the Founders and Master Council.

Miller and Sonn demonstrated the achievements and commitments to have been selected by their instructors to join ATA’s premier program, which promotes structure, emotion, knowledge and legacy as the foundation of character development.

During Miller and Sonn’s quest to become instructors, they have achieved many similar accomplishments of success, including:

·         Earning second-degree and first-degree recommended black belts

·         Winning multiple Florida state championships

·         Winning district regional championships

·         Assisted teaching for hundreds of hours of karate

·         Participated in tournament scoring procedures

·         Completed CPR and life-saving techniques

·         Are honor roll students

·         Are active in church activities

·         Each recognized in multiple newspaper articles

·         Featured as “Leadership Kids” in ATA’s World magazine

Their physical testing included the memorization and demonstration of over a thousand movements in forms, kicks, warrior combinations, krav self-defense and kali quadrants.

Miller and Sonn are learning the lessons of legacy at Karate America Ponte Vedra Beach, owned by Grand Master William Clark and operated by Master Daniel Gimenez, World Champion Amber Smith and black belt instructor Justin Escarra.

The ATA Legacy program will continue to take years to complete. The three levels of training require Miller and Sonn to demonstrate their skills, communication and to apply that knowledge of martial arts to their everyday life.