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Wednesday , September 19 2018
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Home | Sports | Borderland's Best | Martial Arts School Qualifies Entire Class for National Championships in Florida

Martial Arts School Qualifies Entire Class for National Championships in Florida

It’s not very often that I see something positive in my Facebook stream.

Mostly it’s people arguing politics, pictures of what people had for dinner, or who’s dating whom. Just the everyday things we’ve become accustomed to, and mostly ignore.

But late last week, I ran across a post from Eric Smith of Screaming Eagles Martial Arts.

I went out to meet Eric and talk about that post. He told me that he has a group of young, motivated students who have been training, and competing to reach the AAU Taekwondo National Championships this July in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Thirteen kids, of various ages, competed in Albuquerque to qualify for the finals. So just how many of them qualified?

All of them. Every single kid that went up there qualified for nationals. To me, that’s an amazing feat.

IMG_0005Screaming Eagles is a young taekwondo school in El Paso’s Westside. They’ve been open for five years and had eight people qualified for nationals last year. “We decided,” Eric told me, “that because we are a young school we wanted to wait and try again this year.” So this will be their first time in the nationals.

To get there, the kids need to qualify in various events like breaking boards, poomase (the forms, or positions in taekwondo), and sparring. At the nationals, there will only be two events to compete in sparring and poomsae.

However, this is one thing that stands in their way: money.

“We need to do some fundraising,” Eric said. “We need to try to come up with ways to make some money so that these families can go.” They do have plans. There is going to be bake sales, yard sales, raffles, “a lot of different things,” according to Eric. Even a kickathon and break boards-athon.

IMG_0001Talking with Eric, you can see that he does care for these kids, and wants them to make it. He want’s to seem them succeed not only in this but life as a whole.

“I would like everybody to know that you have one chance to be a child, to be a teen. You’ve got the rest of your life to be an adult. It’s very important to build leaders and leadership at a young level because a great kid makes a great teen, and a great teen makes a wonderful adult,” he says.

“This learned behavior now is very important for them to understand that you can do anything in life. To not let anything stop you. That’s why I am pushing them to do their fundraisers. I’m pushing them to do a lot of it on their own so that they can see that it is all there for them, that it is all available for them, that it is there for them to grasp, but they must work for it,” Eric adds.

IMG_0014The time I spent at Screaming Eagles, I could easily see the motivation and determination these kids have. They are going to be game changers, they are going to be our future leaders, and they are striving the gain the needed discipline now, while they are still young.

In the end, the lessons they are learning today will be with them for the rest of their lives.

I’m told that it will cost about $500 per family. That is for the hotel, the flight, and entering the various events, which cost between $100 to $250 depending on how many events they enter. Of course, this is occurring during a holiday weekend, so everything is bound to go up.

So why don’t we help make an impression in their lives? If you can help or would like to help with the fundraising ideas they have, give Eric a call. He can be reached at 915-820- 0739 or visit their web page.

About Steven Cottingham

Steven Cottingham is an artist, poet (haiku, tanka, senryu) as well as a photographer. Growing up, he wanted to be a columnist, as well as photojournalist. Life, and poor decision, led him down a different path. Today, Steven is chasing those dreams. He is currently working on his next book, as well as starting a small poetry journal. You may visit Steven, online, at

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  1. I hope they all get to go. Is there a crowd funding page?

  2. I hope the community gets behind these great kids and this group they work hard to build respect and try to be role models for other kids. With what’s going on in the world today we all could and should support children who work hard to do the right thing.

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