A local family once again showed their martial art prowess. Seven of the Smith family children competed in the ATA World championship for Taekwondo and brought home some outsanding awards
“I don’t know of anybody who has ever had this many people in one family competing for world titles. It certainly adds to the stress and the chaos. I mean as a parent, I’m very proud. They’ve worked very hard,” says Jessica Smith.
While this is a major accomplishment, the Smith family is full of Black Belts. When we say full, we mean 10 Black Belts out of 14 family members. The Black Belts range in varying degrees. Even mom, Jessica, and dad, Scott, have earned their Black Belts.
“They come out kicking. And they’re around it. They love it. And I’ve never had a kid ask to quit, I’ve never had a kid that said they wanted to take a break, like never. They have all been all in since they started,” says Jessica Smith.
A.J. is the oldest of the Smith kids. He’s received a 4th Degree Black Belt. He’s also the reason the Smith’s become involved in Taekwondo. Jessica and Scott welcomed triplet girls when A.J. was 22 months old. The Smith’s wanted to find something for just him, and martial arts was a suggestion.
“It’s really fun to have so many Black Belts in one family, and especially having them all be my siblings and my parents. It’s really awesome to just to look at that and see all that we’ve accomplished and what we’ve done,” says A.J.
Fast forward seventeen years, now along with their parents, A.J., Isabella, Arianna, Sophia, Naomi, Adelaide, Graham, and Abraham have their Black Belts. Six-year-old Veronica has a Blue Belt, and 4-year-old Benedict is a Tiny Tiger Yellow.
Jessica says 2-year-old Solomon thinks he’s a ninja, and just over a week-old Felix is destined to be a ninja.
Jessica says all the kids begged to part of Taekwondo, and none have wanted to quit. A.J. serves as a teacher to the younger ones. He says it’s like having a built-in coach, and the others agree. They all practice together, cheering each other on when competing, too.
The family traveled to Little Rock, Arkansas for the world championship, and camped along the way. Seven of the kids competed.
Twelve-year-old Adelaide was the only world champion in the Smith Family. Now, she’s not alone.
She is a 2019 world champion in combat sparring and now is joined by sister Arianna who is a world champion in combat sparring and team sparring. The Smiths also earned 3 silver medals in the Top Ten Competition and one bronze.
According to Jessica, “We learned that during the course of the 2018-2019 season there were over 30,000 unique competitors in ATA in all of the varying events and divisions which makes earning a spot in the Top Ten even more special.”