For three and a half years, my kids diligently were learning Taekwondo while I sat quietly in the waiting area reading, knitting, or talking to fellow parents. Despite the frequent school offers for parents to train free for a month, I resisted. At one point after witnessing one adult student get carried out of the school after an injury, I decided I definitely would never do Taekwondo. But then at the beginning of this year, even before the stress of the pandemic, the moment came when my desire for a diversion from the intense pressures of life coincided with the offer to parents. Feeling like a marshmallow in the white uniform, I nervously stepped inside the karate school, not as a parent but finally as a student.
My prior exercise “routine” consisted of an occasional walk around my neighborhood. Pushups, sit-ups, burpees, and mountain climbers were not welcomed by my out of shape body. Though I felt I was going to die during that first class, I survived. Then at the third class, I broke my first board and earned my white belt. At some point during the past seven months, I switched from simply surviving one class at a time to gradually believing that maybe just maybe one day I too could be a Black Belt.
Did I mention my husband started as well? I love our “date nights” to karate class. Our thirteen year old son, Mr. Neal (Black Belts are not called by their first names), sometimes is our instructor. To all young parents out there, keep on keeping on. You never know how that out of control toddler or preschooler of yours is going to turn out. He may just teach you a thing or two one day!
When I signed up in January, I never could have predicted the events that unfolded in the spring. One of the best things through the roller-coaster year of 2020 has been my predictable involvement with Taekwondo. Even though we were solely on Zoom for all of April, the consistency and familiar faces on the screen helped maintain a level of normalcy and connection while in isolation.
God has used a martial arts school around the corner to greatly bless our family and help us persevere in very trying times. And only because of my very energetic oldest child who has been kicking for as long as I can remember did I ever venture into this unfamiliar territory. I never dreamed of being a martial artist, but children change your life in some of the most unexpected ways!