Martial Arts. Ten years ago if you’d have told me my sons would be involved in Tae Kwon Do in any capacity, I’d have told you to take a hike! I’m a lover, not a fighter! But, alas, here we are. We eat, sleep, and bleed martial arts. Twice a week (minimum) classes, a heavy bag in the garage for practicing, pads and mouth pieces and head gear and [cringe] sweaty athletic cups! Tae Kwon Do is our LIFE and we love it.
Like many others, I had the misconception that involving my boys in martial arts would make them more prone to violence. And let’s face it, boy moms, our kids fight enough the way it is! Am I right?! Plus I wanted to be a baseball mom, not the mom of ninja turtles! Last winter, though, I had a momentary lapse of insanity (turned brightest idea ever) and signed the boys up for a week of free martial arts classes. We went to that week of classes, and have been attending classes at
our second home the academy semi-religiously ever since.
In case you’re cringing at the thought of karate kicking ninja amphibians or Power Rangers like I was, or you’re one of my kids’ family members who refuses to see them in action because martial arts is “too violent” or “not a sport”–allow me to change your mind.
Reasons Why Love Being a Martial Arts Family
#1: Discipline & Respect
My boys have gained a heap of self discipline and respect since enrolling in martial arts classes. A display of respect occurs the second you enter the door at the academy. Students bow to the floor, bow to partners, shake hands, and refer to their black belt leaders as sir and ma’am, as well as many other practices you don’t typically see everyday.
It’s seriously magical, you guys! The small people in my house are a sweet mix of energy and attitude combined with a dash of defiance and a sprinkle of laziness. They’re not bad boys. They’re just, well, kids! Master Himelick, our fearless leader, has this super cool weapon to combat undesirable behaviors:
If behavior is subpar at home or in class and Master finds out, you WILL be doing these dreaded exercises. Repeatedly. In addition, the kids all have a list of home rules to memorize and practice daily. Parents receive a handy dandy little sheet to initial each day if the kids had a stellar behavior performance. Currently the behaviors being monitored in the Pennington house are “truth telling” and “waking up on time”. Good behavior for a certain number of days is rewarded with a star patch for their uniform. Little star patches go a long way, people.
#2: Dedication & Gratification
Tae Kwon Do is not an instant gratification sport. In fact, it might even give a lesson in how to properly handle frustration levels! There is a LOT to learn! From simple tasks, like remembering what terms like “junbi” (this Korean term is the name for the “ready” stance) to remembering a series of 20+ moves (along with the names of those moves) that make up each form.
In Tae Kwon Do, beginners start with a white belt and earn different levels/colors as they progress. Each color requires a new skill set that is more difficult than the last. Mastering each set of skills requires serious dedication as new moves are learned. Giving up truly is not an option! Once all requirements are met, a belt promotion test and ceremony is held where students are tested on their forms, home rules, self defense, physical endurance skills, as well as various techniques that go with each color belt (such as weapon usage, board breaking, etc.).
Testing for a promotion is not easy, but receiving that next belt color is immensely gratifying and is quite honorable! Plus there’s always a new belt to look forward to and work towards!
I’m not sure I even need to say more here. Martial Arts is pretty much a giant lesson in being coordinated! The forms the kids have to learn require a TON of coordination! They make it look easy, but there is so much to master. I, for one, lack any coordination whatsoever when it comes to gross motor skills. So balancing on one foot, punching with one hand while turning the other hand into a fist with your fingers pointing upward, and thinking about the next move would land me in a body cast! Not sure how they do this like it’s nothing (especially those who are multi-tasking with their limbs AND swinging weapons around), but I’m equal parts impressed and jealous!
Numbers 1-3 are crazy important to me. But this last one? It’s truly what keeps us sane. Our tae kwon do family is the BEST! All Star isn’t the biggest academy, not the most competitive (in fact we only go to one tournament all year!), but we have the BEST people! Hands down.
My socially awkward oldest child has made friends that he can joke with, practice self defense on, spar with, and celebrate victories with. My youngest son came into this world with a bang and has been a high energy little ball of ADHD since. He has found friends his own age, but has also found mentors in the teen and adult black belt leaders.
Master loves all her students with all her heart and I have no doubts about that, nor do the kids. Only she can love them like their own moms–ordering cookie dough for a school fundraiser one second, and literally kicking their butt the next. She even organizes a summer camp, holiday parties, and Nerf wars to promote team building and takes on the whole crew with much less help than I’d require!
And let’s be honest here. The kids have made friends there, but equally as important, I have too! I truly look forward to going to class to see the other parents, grandparents, and little siblings! It’s great to have people who understand your quirky kids and enjoy cheering them on just as much as you do!
Check it Out!
As you can tell, I’m a huge advocate for martial arts! So naturally, I highly recommend finding a facility near you and giving it a try! There’s never been a day that we’ve looked back or regretted signing up! If you’re semi-local to me or in the Fort Wayne area, check out All Star Martial Arts and tell Master we sent you! I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Are you a martial arts family? I’d love to hear what you LOVE in the comments!
1 Like this post and show us s'more love!