The Ramstein Southside Fitness Center hosted the 13th annual U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa martial arts tournament Feb. 23.
The contest saw participants from as far away as Aviano Air Base, Italy.
Participants’ ages ranged from 3 to 18 years old. Age brackets were arranged and challengers faced off in a battle of martial arts prowess to determine the winner.
Skill levels of those who competed varied. Neverthe-less, several of the excited young competitors said there was a new level of confidence and enjoyment that was achieved.
“I’m happy,” said David Bidwell III, 8, son of David Bidwell Jr. “I got second (place).”
David said he learned he should always give it his best and have fun during any competition.
The battle for first place in David’s division was close.
“I feel good,” said Jaeden Hose, 8, son of Master Sgt. Mathew Hose, 521st Air Mobility Operations Wing Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century manager. “I was nervous during the contest though.”
Jaeden also shared David’s viewpoint.
“I feel like I did really good because I’ve been practicing so much,” Jaeden said.
He said all his competitors showed just as much effort as he did and he felt they were all on even playing grounds.
David and Jaeden both took home a lesson of humility and respect for each opponent they faced. Even the parents saw benefits from their children’s participation.
“Martial arts provide a great tool for any child,” said the Thweatt family. “It allows (our son), Xavier, to exercise his body and mind. His morals and discipline have been reinforced through it.”
The Thweatts said they believe Xavier and all those who competed have a stronger sense of accomplishment, confidence and the ability to overcome adversity.
In a sense, David, Jaeden and Xavier encompass the main ideas of warrior fitness and resiliency.
For more information about events being held at the fitness center, call 480-0295 or 06371-47-0295.
For more information about youth events in the KMC, visit www.86FSS.com and click on “youth programs” in the family tab or call 480-6444 or 06371-47-6444.