Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Karate Kid...

Before retiring, my dad was a karate instructor for over 20 years.  I remember spending time at the dojo, doing push-ups, kicking at imaginary opponents and punching large bags that swung back and hit you if you didn't move out of the way.  Ahhhhh.  Good times.  I remember being called 'grass-hopper' and referring to my dad as 'sir' and 'Mr. Watson' when other students were around. It was a sign of respect for those who were a higher rank than you.

I also remember when parents flocked to sign up their kids for classes at the height of the 'Karate Kid' trilogy.  It was the 80's, and all they wanted to know was how to properly 'wax-on, wax-off' like Daniel-son and balance on a splintery stump to perfect 'the crane.'  It was sort of a rude awakening, when they were told that those things didn't really exist in martial arts and that their child's instructor would not be a gray-haired Mr. Miyagi look-a-like.  Could a white guy effectively teach martial arts?

And even though I found other interests when I entered junior high, and spent less and less time in my dad's dojo as I got older, karate never fully left me.  I still remember all the moves.  I can still hear the clanking of the chains supporting the bags as they swung back and forth.  And, I still remember how the gi's smelled salty after a good, hard workout.  

I remember rising early on Saturday mornings to go to my brother and dad's tournaments.  We'd sit all day long until all of the competitions were over and trophy's had been handed out, then we'd go out to dinner to celebrate.

Karate has a special place in my heart.  And, while I never wanted to push my children into a certain interest, I knew it would be fun to introduce them to karate when they got older...just to see if they would love it as much as I did.

So, yesterday was the little Mr.'s first Taekwondo class.  It was hilarious watching him running around, trying to line up and do all the moves the other kids were doing.  

Getting a little help from a friend...

I was, of course, the only mom wildly snapping pictures of the little kid who didn't know what the heck he was doing.  I wanted to have pictures ready for when he got older and reached Jean-Claude Van Damme or Stephen Seagal status and was interviewed about his beginnings in martial arts (nah...just kidding...just seeing if you were still reading.  I'm just another photo crazy mom).

He ran, and kicked, and air-punched his little heart out...and loved every minute of it.  Watching him run around, having a great time was worth it.

After an hour-long workout, he ran over to me and breathlessly asked, "Can we do this again?!"  Of course you can sweetie.  Anything that burns that extra energy and gains an afternoon nap is okay in my book.  

So, we'll be back at it next Wednesday:  me, watching and snapping pictures, and the little guy swinging at anything and everything that moves.  While swim lessons didn't quite work out, I think he may have found his niche.  

Is there an activity you loved when you were a kid?  Is it something you'd like to see your own children get involved in?


Iowa Sunshine said...

great childhood story of growing up and within one of your parents' passions. keep snapping those pictures at the reality of learning his first moves -- and thoroughly enjoying every step and swing! i took classes at the DSM Art Center, and i'd like to get my son to take some ... it's fun for kids to be in the art center off-hours and to get crazy with creating :)

Heather said...

I didn't know that about you. I might have been more careful about what I said and did back in our roommate days if I had known about your secret black-belt identity. ;)

Sounds like a great way for Ethan to burn some energy. What fun! :)

Brent said...

I remember those days well. Your dad, as I am sure you know, was a huge influential mentor in my life. I also remember you and Matt being quite ornery at times. Looking back now I wonder if all that time I spent with younger kids (such as you) helped influence my decision to work with youth later in life. I still enjoy the company of kids more than most adults! I still remember the time I was about 16 years old and you and Matt were teasing me and called me pizza face. I think you must have been 10 or 11? I still laugh when I think about that because I knew you were just messing with “the older kids” because after all your dad was the karate instructor. Yes, you were a bit ornery!
Oh and by the way, I hope you are prepared for the razzing you are sure to get from grandpa. “Take Ones Dough!” You didn’t enroll him in a traditional Japanese karate class. LOL!

Nikki said...

Oh Brent...we were more than ornery! we were brats! Thank goodness we out grew that phase!

Oh, and 'Take Ones Dough' is just a trial phase to see if he loves it:) It's a class for homeschool kids, and the gal teaching donates all the profits to the hands and feet foundation

Nikki said...

I.S...Art classes would be awesome! We live very close to the art center, and I have a good friend who's children are currently taking classes! Maybe your kids will have the same passion!

Heather...You were completely safe in my company, I never made it past a yellow belt because it wasn't my thing. I couldn't hurt a fly Ha!!! Plus I'm uncoordinated as all get out...I swing and miss :)