Mr. Benton appreciates the ATA's many positive attitudes. "We work with males and females, every age (5 and up), and every ability, to teach people the sport of martial arts. Each person is judged and promoted for their own abilities, not how they compare to others. Older adults are not expected to be able to do a jump-360 side kick. But they are expected to TRY. The ATA teaches respect to others and self-discipline. The 'Yes/No Sir/Ma’am' is a sign of that respect. Showing up for class after a bad day, or continuing to work on a technique that is difficult for you, is a sign of discipline."
His daughter, 24-year-old Emily, She started taekwondo as an alternative to ballet for the summer back in 2007 and has stayed with it ever since. She has earned several World-Competitor rankings in the Special Abilities division. She currently holds a 2nd-degree black belt and will be testing for her 3rd in the summer of 2017.
Mr. Benton believes the ATA promotes a mental work-out, in addition to a physical one. "There are nine color belt forms, (with 310 techniques), One-Steps and Sparring Segments. It takes concentration and practice to learn them as you progress through the ranks. Then, if you want to be an instructor, you should know them all on demand. While taekwondo is not an aerobic or “muscle-building” sport, it does push the practitioner to constantly strive to improve their techniques."
Mr. Benton achieved his 4th-degree black belt in March 2017. He has been a certified ATA instructor since February 2010. Mike originally joined the ATA in 1981, earned his 2nd-degree black belt, then took an extended break, returning in 2007, starting over as a white belt.