Embracing each other after the final task, Drouillard admits it was a special site to see the mother and daughter’s expression following their breaking of the boards.
“The last thing they had to do was break boards and I let daughter break first, then when mom broke they just both turned around and hugged each other tremendously,” he said. “I mean, what an accomplishment—‘mom and me are both together.’”
Lindsey, now 11 years old, began her quest for the black belt in August of 2011—five months later mother Mary Beth, currently 43 years old, joined her daughter in the journey that culminated with both reaching their goal on May 22.
Ahead of her mother, Lindsey actually sat out two testing sessions to let Mary Beth catch up in rank so that the pair could test for their black belt together—sacrificing the glory of achieving her goal before her mother for the chance to experience it with her instead.
“Ms. Atkinson, the daughter, was two belts ahead of her mom, so theoretically she would have got the black belt and mom would have still been a red belt, but she sat out two testings so mom could catch her and they could get their black belt together,” Drouillard said. “I thought that was very nice of her to do that. That was really tremendous of her to do that; because, a lot of people would have wanted the glory of getting it ‘now’ and on time.”
With the full support of husband and father, Larry Atkinson, the pair made history, becoming the first mother-daughter combo at Drouillard’s Karate Studio to begin at while belt and go all the way to black belt at the same time.
“We’ve been here for twenty-five years and I don’t remember a mother-daughter combination going all the way through,” Drouillard said. “This is very unique, especially with a mother and daughter. Most of the time the father is the second member of the family or first member of the family with a son or daughter, but with a mother and daughter it’s highly unusual. It just doesn’t happen all the time. For both of them to be hungry for it is unique and outstanding, truthfully.”