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AAU Tae Kwon Do bronze medalist back in the Bay Area

August 9, 2012

by Malaika H Kambon and Leroy F. Moore

Kyorugi, or Olympic style sparring in Tae Kwon Do, is nearly non-stop, full contact fighting. Competitors are matched according to gender, weight, belt rank and age. Clean techniques score 1 point for a punch or kick to the body and 2 points for a kick to the head. A knockout and/or a 7-point spread stops a match. Tied scores are broken in sudden death overtime, where the first person to score wins. – Photo: Malaika Kambon
Because of all of my supporters, I had a chance to compete in the 2012 Amateur Athletic Union Tae Kwon Do National Championships held July 2-7 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. I want to not only give you a report back of some highlights at the competition but to give thanks, because this experience has inspired plans for future competitions and for building a broader base of support for my work as a photojournalist and as a competitive martial artist. As always, my community will play a key role.

Before I go on, though, I want to say many thanks to all who helped me realize my competition goal, for without your support, I would not have made it. Because of the support that I received, in less than a month, my registration, airplane ticket, boarding fees for my service dog and my hotel stay were taken care of, something that to me was phenomenal!

But it wasn’t just the monetary support that was critical. First and foremost was the training and the support I received from my school and my instructor, Grandmaster William Dewart and the Academy of Tae Kwon Do. Next, Krip Hop Nation and its founder, LeRoy F. Moore, agreed to sponsor me when it became clear that I would have to seek assistance and develop a fundraising strategy. Then came the article in the SF Bay View newspaper, which was reprinted on several web sites, and the tremendous and impressive support from individuals, organizations and businesses – some I knew, some I just met. Throughout was the invaluable support from those who have always assisted me through rough times and good times.

Once again, thank you all!

Looking back on the events as they unfolded, I can’t believe that I flew into Ft. Lauderdale on July 4, because I didn’t acquire a plane ticket until about 3 a.m. on the morning of July 3. Plane fares being what they were just prior to a holiday, I was very, very lucky to find an inexpensive ticket – $340 – since the going rates were up into the $800-$1,000 range by then!

I’d planned this to be a combination business trip and competition, as I’ve begun a company, People’s Eye Photography, which specializes in event and athletic photojournalism, and have been fortunate to publish my first article in the International Tae Kwon Do Times, a very well known martial arts magazine. Even though it is very hard to compete, photograph, and write because each thing requires such intense focus and concentration, this was an opportunity of a lifetime for a beginning entrepreneur and one not to be missed.

So because of my supporters, I had an opportunity to become a stronger national competitor and to continue to network with other athletes, coaches and schools from other countries and from coast to coast in the U.S. in the process of developing a stronger business plan which will in turn strengthen my commitment to serve a growing international community and be instrumental in fulfilling many local and national community needs as a photojournalist as well.

Attending this year’s Amateur Athletics Union Tae Kwon Do National Championships also gave me the chance to continue my outreach plans for People’s Eye Photography. Specializing in event and athletic photography, I began my company with an eye to serving the people; those who are marginalized, those whose stories, lives, events, and accomplishments need most to be documented.

Becoming a stronger athlete in Tae Kwon Do and other martial arts has always given me the mental, physical and spiritual base that is so necessary to keep my body, mind and spirit strong and focused on enablement. As a martial artist and owner of People’s Eye Photography, I blend my art, activism, athleticism and ways I live my life not only in my work as a community photojournalist, but in all aspects of my life. Hopefully this shows in the projects that People’s Eye Photography undertakes.

Malaika Kambon took this self-portrait from an elevator mirror, so the name of her trusty camera reads backwards. - Photo: Malaika Kambon
As I and People’s Eye Photography continue to serve the Bay Area community, I invite my supporters to check out my website, People’s Eye Photography. As I continue to do my work, purchase photographs, tell your friends and supporters, offer your suggestions on how I can better serve the community, contact me for those special events, portraitures, and/or head shots; and together we can plan for the coming years.

The campaign for next year’s competitions and other events has already begun, with the vision of holding a community report back and small photo presentation for community and supporters in late summer or early fall of 2013. I’ll keep the donation button on my website for contributions for 2013.

A big shout out and thank you again to the global community, the SF Bay View newspaper, the global martial arts community and journalist/disability sponsor Leroy F. Moore Jr. of Krip-Hop Nation. Without you I wouldn’t have made it.

Malaika H Kambon of People’s Eye Photography can be reached at LeRoy F. Moore Jr. of Krip Hop Nation can be reached at


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