Growing with your family through martial arts

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I began my journey toward black belt when I was twelve years old. At this age, as most pre-teens are, I was exceedingly shy and considerably awkward. Looking back on the obstacles I overcame to be where I am today, I realize that this was possible solely through the consistent love and support of my parents. (It also doesn’t hurt that they paid my entire tuition!) There have been times that I wanted to quit, because I felt uncomfortable or shy in class. Each of these times my parents were there to push me to continue. Though at times I am still shy and awkward, I now have the confidence to lead classes. I owe it all to my parents.

Inspired by this idea, I spoke to some KOMA families and asked them what they think about taking classes as parent and child. Through these conversations, I learned many things about how children observe their parent’s every move and echo every action. I learned how martial arts provides an excellent way for families to not only stay fit together, but also grow closer in the process.

Quality Bonding Time.

Health professionals say that parents who are active with their children not only improve their health, but strengthen the family’s bond in the process. When a family shares a similar hobby or passion, the children feel a closeness to their parents and begin to identify with them as more than just an authority figure. Dave Goerz, a second degree black belt at KOMA, explained to me how doing class with his daughter has influenced their bond. He said that the best thing about doing class together is being able to motivate each other, whether it be through good-natured competition or leading by example. When you think of “family time,” the first thing you might think of is watching a movie or eating at a restaurant. These are great activities for relaxing, and they definitely have their time and place. However, doing a martial arts class with your family is unique in that it provides the opportunity to concentrate on your interactions and the goals you are reaching together.

Building Discipline.

In order to become successful, it is imperative that kids realize the importance of discipline and grit from a young age. When a child sees their parent set a fitness goal such as consistently attending class, it helps them grasp the importance of hard work and dedication. Moreover, it helps them understand the joint effort made in order to accomplish the goals they’ve set. Mrs. Lauritsen, mother of two students at KOMA, takes classes with her children. When asked the benefits of taking classes as a family, she responded:

“I like that it teaches commitment. I want my kids to see me in times of success, but also failure. For example, if I don’t break a board on the first try, they see me keep trying and eventually succeed.” - Mrs. Lauritsen

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To a parent, seeing a child succeed in their goals while enjoying themselves in class is rewarding in and of itself; but what’s especially gratifying is when the parent can share the experience of reaching that next level and overcoming the same challenges as their child.

It’s Fun!

Playing on your iPad, watching TV, browsing the web-- sure, these activities all have their perks, but doing any of these for too long can start to make you feel stagnant. In my opinion, doing a sport you love with the people you love is a much better alternative. Mrs. Simona Demeter is an instructor at KOMA that everyone knows and loves. Her favorite part of doing taekwondo with her sons is making memories.

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"I always learn things from my kids, and in turn they feel confident because they can teach their parents something. It is hands down the best thing I did with, and for my kids.” - Mrs. Simona

Supporters, guardians, mentors, educators, etc.; these are all synonyms for our parents, to whom we owe every success. If my parents never pushed me to get over being timid, I would not be an instructor. So, thank you parents for all you do for us. And remember, families that kick together stay together!