Mara started training in Tang Soo Do at the age of six. Though she was timid and prone to tears, she loved Karate. At Brown Belt and the age of about nine, she started assisting the instructors in classes: warming the students up, helping the younger or lower ranking students, and doing chores. Being involved in the studio was fun. She made friends and learned valuable life-lessons through the multitude of activities that her studio has to offer. She would participate in and assist at parades, clinics, parties, Leadership meetings, clubs, and tournaments. Participation did not stop at the studio level; Mara also participated in most of Regional functions and World Tournaments.Mara earned her Black Belt in 2009 at the age of 12. It was a tough road and there were struggles. Karate did not necessarily come easy for her, it took a lot of work and we spent hours and hours memorizing all the techniques and information needed to pass the written and practical Black Belt test. The development continued and at this time, Mara is a Sam Dan, a third degree Black Belt. She set a goal to achieve third degree by a certain date and she met that goal. She was the lowest ranking Second Degree in the WTSDA to test for Third Degree during her testing cycle. A huge accomplishment! Mara’s loves training and her favorite parts are: self-defense, fan, and teaching the Tiny Tigers and Little Dragons.Being a Black Belt extends past the Do Jang Doors. Mara has been active in Church and School as well. At Church, she was a member of the Hospitality committee which provides snacks after masses each week. Mara also was a catechist (teacher) in her parish’s Religious Education Program for three years. At school, Mara was a member of the NHS, President of the Poetry Club, and a member of the AICE Academy. The AICE Academy is an academic program of advanced studies in High School. She earned her AICE diploma, graduated with a 4.52 weighted GPA, and was in the top 10% of her graduating class. Mara is currently attending the University of Missouri in Columbia Missouri seeking an Anthropology Undergraduate Degree. Several scholarships were awarded to Mara: The Mizzou Heritage Scholarship, The Northeast Florida Mizzou Alumni Association Scholarship, and the WTSDA Region 21 Scholarship. She entered her first year with a full semester of credits and her basic math and composition requirements waived. Her goal is to earn her Master’s degree in Library and Information Sciences and have a career working for a prestigious institution.Her success is due in no small part to the involvement of Middleburg Martial Arts. The studio taught her to be strong, confident, self-reliant, and brave!