Stafford Middle School Eighth Grader Aaron Pham has become so dedicated to Martial Arts that he will likely earn a Black Belt before he receives his driver’s license.
“He wants to do well, and he wants to win,” Stafford MSD Kickstart Kids Instructor Rommel “Master G” Gargoles said. “He takes his training very seriously.”
Of the 10,000 students who competed in Kickstart, Pham was one of four to earn Overall Grand Champion status at the State Championships in Pflugerville, near Austin.He was also the Overall Grand Champion at “The Battle at The Bay” competition in League City.
Kickstart Kids is a martial arts character development program that Norris founded in 1990. The program operates in more than 50 schools across Texas and is free to all of the students. Stafford Middle School and Stafford Intermediate School students participate in the program and compete in Martial Arts.
Pham is a Stafford resident who has attended Stafford MSD since Pre-K. He said his younger brother, who is currently enrolled at Stafford Elementary, would like to follow in his footsteps and join the Kickstart Kids program.
Pham, who is 14 years old, joined Kickstart Kids in the fall of 2016. He didn’t have much Martial Arts experience at the time, but he made great strides in a short period of time, according to Gargoles.
“I was always a quiet kid, and this program has given me self-confidence,” said Pham, who will compete at Nationals in Houston as well as the Kickstart Kids Open on June 1 in Stafford. “The program taught me how to respect others and be more self-disciplined. It also helped me academically.”
Pham received his Red Belt last week at the SMSD Kickstart Kids Belt Ceremony, which was attended by Kickstart Kids co-founders Chuck and Gena Norris. He said they were “nice, kind and supportive” and called it a “once in a lifetime experience.”
However, Pham may have a chance to meet Norris again in 2020. Gargoles said he expects that Pham will earn a Red-Black Belt in the fall and a Black Belt next spring.
Gargoles said Pham’s Black Belt test would take place at Norris’ ranch, in front of the legendary 10th Degree Black Belt himself.
Pham, who will graduate from Stafford High in 2023, said he would like to join the United States Marine Corps after he graduates from SHS.