Building Confidence and Defending the Future

May 6, 2015


You’ve seen it in such movies as:

Wendy Wu – Homecoming Warrior

3 Ninjas

Kung Fu Panda

The Karate Kid I to Infinity

Kick It!

This is not for parents that are faint at heart. Nor, if you’re not ready to be poked, slashed, kicked, or chopped. Before, we have someone call the Department of Family and Children Services, let me clear the air…I’m speaking of the awesome experience of Martial Arts. My then 4 year-old came to us over 6 months ago and said this was what he was meant to do. Imagine after trying soccer, basketball, and a few other sports without much interest, I was willing to give this the old college try. But what I discovered was something amazing – something that has influenced our entire family; including our 3 year-old. And I may as well admit that I’ve become interested in starting a course or two. We consider our boys to be mild-mannered and even a little shy. But attending a local ATA (American Taekwondo Association) program in our small town has given root to confidence and motivation in our son. Recently, I had a chance to speak one-on-one with the Lead Instructor Master Garret Shipman of EXCEL Family Martial Arts. His school has several locations in the Missouri area. He provided some great insight on the program and its effects on a child’s development. Keep in mind this is just one of many programs that your little one can become involved in and it’s great to take advantage of free introductory class offers to determine if the chosen martial arts program in right for your child. At EXCEL, Master Shipman and other instructors seek to develop in each child physical and mental balance, self-control, and focus. Notice there is nothing in there about becoming a “lean, mean, fighting machine”. I have seen children come in on day one scared to death of moving and within two weeks develop a flow of motion that easily compares to those of children who have had months of experience. Yet, the most intriguing part of joining the local studio is the comradery he experiences with other children and other military kids in general. My quiet little boy has become a little guy with a booming voice calling out “Yes, Sir”, “Songam [numbers]”, and naming his “moves”. He has developed a confidence in demeanor. At his first karate tournament this weekend, I fully expected him to be shy and stick to my leg like glue. But he did no such thing, he ran onto the floor with a zeal and readiness to show the 30 or so parents, judges, and other students what he was made of! I asked Master Shipman what are the benefits of joining similar programs for military kids and he listed the following:

  • There are 15,000 ATA centers around the US and 9 countries
  • Instant ATA bond during tournaments
  • Built in network of friends
  • Continued confidence building
  • Ability to earn Physical Education credit for homeschoolers

As a parent of a young child getting ready for school, the most important aspect and the most compelling reason to sign-up is the self-defense portion. I feel safe knowing that he can physically defend himself and he is confident enough to tell others “No!” The added benefit is that my three-year-old isn’t old enough to join class, yet; but he is watching, learning, and preparing himself based on his brother’s experiences. And that folks is a solid piece of mind. Hi-Ya!