ATA’s “Super Ken”
Ken, “Super Ken", Wendel, started his journey in martial arts in 2017. The introduction to this opportunity was presented to him by ATA Legends Martial Arts and Mr. Johnny Johnson when they began visiting Horizons Enrichment Center in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Horizons is a day program for adult individuals with developmental disabilities offered in conjunction with Southeast Missouri State University.
Super Ken has been a martial arts fan for most of his life. His heroes include Tom Laughlin as Billy Jack and Chuck Norris as Walker Texas Ranger. He understood the core values of respect, comradery and honesty that is the way of Songahm martial arts. We had no idea he would ever be able to realize his dream and become our martial arts hero, too.
Mr. Johnson, Brandon and the entire team at ATA Legends and his classmates have truly transformed Ken into a confident and proud martial arts student. We have witnessed him grow into an individual who is not afraid to participate, excel, and reach for that next level of impossible possible. There would have been a time in his life that he would not have been afforded this opportunity and we are so blessed that Ken can show that he puts “ability” in disability.
Ken never wants to miss a class, and for the first time he participated in a tournament in 2019. This was something we never thought he would do, and he was thrilled to be a part of such an honor. Bless him— he even cried when he was presented with his medal. He was so touched and proud of being a part of the event. It was both one of the best days of this life and one of the saddest days of his life. Right after the competition that day, his beloved service dog Bella Boo had to be sent to the Rainbow Bridge as she had been just diagnosed with cancer. In the true spirit of Taekwondo, we celebrated Bella’s life in a special dinner and toast to her continued journey knowing she would continue her faithful watch over our Ken in spirit.
We call Ken “Super Ken” as Superman is his favorite superhero and of course Ken is our very own superhero. He is first to step up and assist Mr. Johnson and Mr. Brandon when they come to Horizons. He loves to show his friends all he has learned at ATA Legends Martial Arts. We can’t wait to see him move up to his next belt and beyond as our Super Ken proves everyone can achieve their goals and be a martial arts superhero. Thank you, ATA Legends Martial Arts, for helping Super Ken "Make It Possible."
Author: Donna Wendel-Eggimann
Edit by: Jenny Wolff