When I first told my girls that we were going to be taking a Martial Arts class together, they immediately began busting out their finest Kung Fu Panda moves across the living room floor. After a near miss to the eye by a rogue preschooler foot, my oldest daughter, Averi, asked if she would become the Dragon Warrior while, in the same breath, excitedly told me that she was so happy that we were taking it together.
That’s the greatest thing about taking a class at World Martial Arts. While a lot of the classes are filled with kids, parents and family members are welcomed and encouraged to join. Adam Osetek, owner and one of the instructors, can’t express enough how great Martial Arts is for the entire family. “It’s a sport where parents can join their kids, rather than watch from the sidelines, and the more they do, the more their children stick with it,” Adam says.
When my two oldest daughters and I arrived at the beginner Martial Arts class, we took off our shoes and found our places on the mat. One of the young girls next to me smiled big and said, in only the way that a six-year-old possibly could, “This class is hard, so I hope you’re ready.” Moments later, Instructor Adam began class by placing us on our assigned squares and initiating salutations to our flag and esteemed martial art masters. Then, the fun stuff began.
The energetic class consisted of a mix of martial arts skills and exercise. Not only did we practice bag kicks, punches, proper forms and techniques, but bursts of fitness were interjected into the class to reinforce the notion that in order to maintain a healthy life, you must exercise. Two of my favorite fitness parts were having to do as many push-ups as you could in a minute (I did 40, y’all) and the floor ab exercise of having to bring your straightened legs up over your head to reach the punching bag behind you.
Another favorite moment of the class was with my sweet partner – my four-year-old, Lily – who practiced taking hits at my head with pool noodles, while I used blocking techniques. While this was the only acceptable time for her to whack her mom in the head, I gotta admit that she was pretty good at it, and I missed the block more than once. There’s something to be said about the speed and agility of a child. We definitely need to harness and embrace it while we can. (But I can still do more push-ups than her.)
At the end of class, each student is presented with their accolades. I am happy to report that Averi, Lily and I earned our white belts that day and those belts were worn by them for a full 24 hours, with begs and pleads to be brought to school the next day.
The martial arts classes at World Martial Arts are the perfect combination of fun, skill, respect, discipline, confidence and exercise. I am all for any sport that builds a happy, confident child and any fitness activity that you can perform with your family.
At World Martial Arts, they have a saying: “The family that kicks together, sticks together.” I think we’ll be kicking together for a while.