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Taekwondo black belt Anna Huller, 10, practices her moves Saturday. - photo by Jennifer Sami

The Inaugural 2012 Battle Against Hunger American Taekwondo Association Regional Tournament was the first competition for Sarah Bosco.

An orange belt student, she has been practicing the sport for just three months. She hoped to go home from the event Saturday with more than just a medal.

“It’s a good experience and you meet new people,” the 15-year-old Forsyth County resident said. “I’m lucky to have this opportunity.”
Held at the Lanier Technical College Forsyth Conference Center, the competition drew hundreds of taekwondo students from five states.

They performed various skills, including combat weapons and sparring, as well as demonstrations of traditional martial arts forms.

It helped students showcase what they’ve learned, but also benefited the Children’s Restoration Network Thanksgiving Food Drive, which is receiving a portion of the proceeds from the event.

Attendees were also encouraged to bring non-perishable food donations. Organizer Kevin Mende said it was a great way to show what his students do all year.

“We work to help to raise these kids and teach them character-building skills they are going to need in the future,” he said. “That’s what ATA is all about.”

The competition Saturday was not the first for black belt Anna Huller of Canton. The 10-year-old began taking taekwondo classes three years ago when an instructor visited her school.

“She came home saying, ‘I want to do that,’” said her mother, Katy, who signed her daughter up for a trial run. After a few classes, she “was in it for the long haul.”

“I love that she’s really found herself in this,” Katy Huller said. “She’s leaner, faster and stronger than before and it’s helped her in every aspect of her life.

“She’s just loving it. What more could a mother want?”

Mende, who owns a martial arts studio in Cumming, said Saturday was “the first time we’ve been able to have [the event] in Forsyth County.”

“It gives us an opportunity to give back to the community,” he said. “We try to do as many things as we can for charity.”w