Taekwondo is a vehicle to become successful in life for Cameron Kayne. Having his mother Tracy at his side watching his success and also competing at a high level makes it even more special.
"I'm supporting him as much as he's supporting me," Cameron's mother said. "It's definitely our bonding time."
Even though Cameron, a rising sophomore at Lakeview Academy, has found a rare level of success in Taekwondo, including his recent Xtreme Martial Arts weapons World Championship on June 25 in Little Rock, Ark., it doesn't mean this is his life. He's much more than just a karate kid.
Cameron, 15, is also an honor student, soccer player and striving toward earning a pilot's license. His goal in life is to become an architect, and he is already tinkering with designs on his computer.
"They don't give out scholarships for Taekwondo," Cameron said.
That doesn't mean martial arts doesn't provide invaluable lessons for this mother-son duo.
Along with building physical strength and self-defense tactics, they've learned discipline incorporated into the different forms, confidence, sportsmanship and a feeling of community with those they have competed against in events across the southeast.
Tracy is just as busy in her personal life as a self-employed businesswoman with her husband David. She also had a remarkable performance at the championships placing third in forms, fourth in weapons, and eighth in sparring, Xtreme Martial Arts forms and Xtreme Martial Arts weapons.
"Taekwondo is truly a family event for us," Tracy said. "Not only are we exercising together, but (we're) growing as a family."
At the World Championships for Xtreme Martial Arts, Cameron, a third-degree black belt, barely squeaked into the Top 10 to qualify, but that didn't stop him from putting together the perfect routine in this hybrid form of Taekwondo to win the title.
Once he hit the mat at the Little Rock Statehouse Convention Center, he had a single-minded focus to make everyone involved in his development proud, including his coach Ciel Solwazi, and owners Bart and Christine Edge at Edge ATA Martial Arts in Oakwood - both fourth-degree black belts.
During competition, Cameron flew through the air with great precision, slinging his kamas -dull-bladed weapons - in synchronization with his routine.
To find out his performance was the best was pure elation. Cameron prepared for the event with a two-hour quiet period to gather his thoughts and visualize what he wanted to accomplish.
"It meant so much to win, it was a feeling of being official," Cameron said. "It was euphoria."
Right there in the crowd were Cameron's parents to share in the excitement. Going into the World Championships, Cameron was hoping just to get a solid performance to set the stage for a run at the title in 2012.
But now that he's won it, he's going to focus on working at gaining the next step in his fourth-degree blackbelt, which he can't attain until he's at least 18.
Still, he will never forget the memories of all the friendships and camaraderie involved with those in this disciple of martial arts.
When he won, everyone was hugging and sharing in the celebration of being the world's best.
"They form a mosh pit around you," Cameron said.
Now that Cameron's conquered this goal, he'll put the same emphasis on his other academic and athletic ventures.
But Taekwondo will also be a part of this family's life.
"The lessons learned from training always stay with you," Cameron said.