VALDOSTA – Master Mitchell Church, chief instructor and sixth-degree black belt of Performance Martial Arts Academy has been voted Instructor of the Year by the American Taekwondo Association.
The honor was announced at the final competition of the 2022 season in Atlanta by Grandmaster Soon Ho Lee, organizers said in a statement. The award was voted on by a group of high-ranking masters within the southeastern district of the United States.
“Church was the clear winner of over 100 ATA schools from Alabama, Georgia and Florida,” organizers said. “This advances him to be possibly inducted as the International Instructor of the Year for the ATA. This will be announced at the World Championship in July 2022.”
The Church has been a member of the American Taekwondo Association for 37 years. He has trained many top-ranked marital artists with 57 world championship titles, 114 district championship titles and 412 state championship titles under his instruction.
“It is an honor and humble experience to be recognized as the Instructor of the Year for our region. Our region is known for having the highest standards set for their instructors,” Church said.
“Church proudly acknowledges the leadership and guidance from Grandmaster Soon Ho Lee who is the highest ranking instructor within the ATA and his direct instructor of 37 years, Chief Master Scott Stauffer,” the organizers said.
The Church is quick to recognize this honor would not be possible without his faith in God and the love of his wife and family.
The Church also acknowledges that this would not be possible without the assistance of his leadership team and the support of the families of Performance Marital Arts Academy.
Mitchell Church is a life-long resident of Statenville. He is active within Echols County. He is in his second term with the Echols County Board of Education. He is the director of operations for baseball and basketball programs for the Echols County Parks and Recreation Department. He is active in the Statenville Church of God where he coordinates the men’s fellowship program.
Church’s marital arts programs are best known for the excellence he promotes for students of all ages. His programs promote students having respect for others who are both younger and older, organizers said.
“His programs encourage students having respect for parents, making good grades and performing chores with a positive attitude,” they added. “For young students and adult students, he instills the black belt qualities of loyalty, honor, courtesy, respect, perseverance, integrity and self-control.
“He is well known for being a selfless person and is often seen putting the interests of others before his own. If anyone in the community happens to see Master Church, shake his hand and congratulate him. We are proud to have such an outstanding man helping to develop the leadership skills of our children and adults in the Taekwondo/Valdosta/Tifton /Statenville community.”
Performance Marital Arts Academy has locations in Valdosta at 1337 Baytree Road, (229) 506-8777 and in Tifton at 255 Brumby Way, (229) 472-3843.
Church plans to test for his seventh-degree black belt in 2024.