8:42:00 PM Tkd kwan 3 Comments

Mother and Daughter

I am among the many who are late starters in life with Tae Kwon Do.  My five-year-old daughter and I started attending Tae Kwon Do classes last fall.  She and I are not small people, and I wanted to find something with more activity for her.  My daughter is the size of an eight or nine-year-old.  She takes ballet and tap dance classes, and one of the former dance moms suggested Tae Kwon Do because her daughter loved it.  Therefore, I started her in September in the white belt kids’ class, and she loved it as much if not more than dance. 

During one of the classes, the teacher asked for any parent volunteers to perform part of the white belt pattern (Chon-Ji) with the children.  Since I had watched my daughter every class, I volunteered and performed half the pattern correctly, much to the surprise of her classmates.  One young girl said, “I didn’t think you could do it.”  I laughed and thanked her for the vote of confidence.  I have been an athlete all of my life.  In my most recent years, I took up weightlifting to help lose body fat to better combat my medical issues with multiple sclerosis.  When I saw on the school’s Facebook page that there was an adult class, I asked the instructor if I could attend.  He encouraged me to come the next night.  I took my daughter to her class, and I then dropped her off at my mom’s house.  While I waited on the adult class to begin, I saw a bunch of teenagers go into the classroom.  The instructor approached me with a welcoming smile as I sat on the back row and asked if I was ready for class.  I told him that those weren’t adults.  He told me not to worry and that I would be fine.  All of the students were black belts except a brother and sister in their teens and one other teen boy—who thoroughly enjoyed telling me where to line up and what to do. Looking back now, it’s funny how I’ve come to be mother hen to the younger ones.

During our first class or two, we worked on self-defense techniques.  My master was surprised to see that I already knew most of the pressure points.  I was a little too zealous at first and almost hurt his shoulder that has endured surgery.  He asked me if I studied anywhere previously, and I told him nothing formal but that I had attended some self-defense training and karate taught by an instructor at the local university.  He knew immediately the professor who taught the free classes.  I would say from there, I was hooked.  Not only can I better help my daughter, but Tae Kwon Do is something we can share and do the rest of our lives.  I can already see the improvements in my daughter’s coordination and balance, not to mention my own balance and mobility. 

All of the students in my class have become family to me.  We laugh and cry together.  We share our victories and losses.  I’m still mother hen.  I tutored one teenager in Algebra and bought another one snow cones.  They all teach me so much every time I go.  I learn just as much sparring a black belt who can earn points in seconds as I do with the green belts in the class.  The black belts could take me out in seconds, but that is not what they do.  They, along with my master practice certain things with me while also teaching me and encouraging me to try new things. 

Recently, my daughter and I attended our first tournament.  I am beyond proud of her.  We both performed Dan-Gun, and I’m amazed that my daughter learned the pattern in two and a half weeks.  She placed second in her division, and when she saw the big, first place trophy, she said she wanted that big one.  I made her turn around and ask the judges what she could do better (even though I already knew the answer).  When it was my turn to perform my pattern, she cheered me on the whole way.  I didn’t hear her, but my mother told me she was jumping up and down and yelling for me.  I believe that on that day that was the best pattern I’ve performed.  All the noise faded to murmurs, and I didn’t see anything else but the movements I was doing.  I placed first—although I competed with only one person in my division.  I mainly performed so that my daughter would become more encouraged and confident.  I took her my trophies and told her that they were hers too.  I said, “We’re a team, always.  When I win—you win too.”  And she said immediately, “And when I win, you win.”  Since the tournament, my daughter’s technique and movements are cleaner and much more precise.  She is the youngest in her class but well on her way to becoming an awesome leader.