Sometimes a great way to do a Family Fun Time activity is to find an activity that your family loves to do, and allow them to do it. That’s kind of how our family got started in karate. When I was a child, I think I remember one, (perhaps two??) karate classes. I remember thinking there wasn’t much I enjoyed about it, and so I didn’t continue it. However, now, many of the young folks at our church in other families are in karate and are being very successful at it and are having a great time – so it makes sense that my children would eventually want to do it also. I knew it was coming… So, recently, permission was given and they began! (Actually, I guess that was several months ago as they have already had a couple belt promotions) The part that really surprised me, and kind of got my attention, was that my wife told me she wanted to take lessons with them! I thought maybe she has had about all she can take and is about to come after me! (So far, it seems to be going OK, but let’s just say I try not to be too late with my blog posts these days…)
The students in our church that do karate are all in one of two karate schools in town – both are great schools. We chose one of them that has a really neat model. There is no charge for the lessons, but when a student is promoted to an advanced belt (brown or black belt), they perform duty as instructors for the newer students. The result is that they have great instructors who went up through the ranks in the school, who care greatly about the school and their fellow students, and they take their leadership role very seriously. My children just did their second belt promotion test, but they are already talking about how they will do things when they are an instructor.
Everyone starts out as a white belt. After a few months they have opportunity to test for Gold belt. To move from one belt to the next requires learning all the material for that belt, and demonstrating the material in front of a panel of black belts who judge your performance. After Gold belt is Orange. White, gold, and orange are the beginner belts. The next couple belts are green and then blue. These are the intermediate belts. Then the advanced belts are brown and black. I am learning that there is never an end… you never get to stop learning and take it easy because there are degrees of black belt that keep you always learning and always improving.
Our children are orange belts, and are having a great time with it. The older ones are doing their first tournament this weekend. Maybe I will let you know how it turns out… Regardless of what comes out of the tournament, we appreciate the discipline and respect they are learning.
It also does turn out they have learned some moves that have tended to shorten some of the wrestling matches I used to have with them back in the pre-karate days… 🙂