My husband had gone to his barber that he had been using for the past 20+ years and began talking about wanting to get our youngest into the martial arts.
It just so happened that his barber is part owner of a martial arts school and is one of the trainers (he has a black belt in Taekwondo).
Roy and I talked about taking the kids to the school and letting them watch and or participate. The school allows a kid to take 3 classes for free to try it out to see if they like it. I told him it would be a great idea!
So after school one day, I told them we were going for a car ride and where we ended up would be a surprise - someplace we'd never been before. They kept trying to guess where we were going, but kept guessing places we'd already been.
We got to the strip mall, and I had to admit that I wasn't sure where the place we were going was. I asked the kids to read off the names of the places we were driving by...
I pulled around a curve in the large area that had a drive winding around the parking lots. As I began to pull away from where I thought the place would be Kenzie said, "Hey, there was Lee's Material Arts back there."
I told them I wanted to see that place - might be interesting. I parked in front and got the kids out, and we walked inside. They were fascinated and intimidated all at once.
We sat down on a couch. Kenzie wasn't going to have anything to do with it. I got Richelle to take off her shoes but she wouldn NOT go out on the mat and join anyone. In fact, if the child could have imploded into herself, I think Richelle would have done it. I've never seen her try to look so compact and small in her life.
I then told her to stand up in front of me, and to lift up her leg and hold it in a standing split. I told her to just trust me.
When she did it, all the kids behind her went "WHOA!" They were impressed with her flexibility. That loosened her up. I told her, she may not know the punches or kicks, but the teachers and other students would help her learn. She also had to learn that no one was going to be hitting each other or kicking each other - no one touched or hurt another student. With that, she got on the mat. And as she began learning, she also impressed the teachers with her high and powerful kicking. This kid has so much talent and natural ability. By the end of the class she was begging me to sign her up for 3 months.
Later that evening, I was talking to Kenzie. I asked her if she wanted to try the martial arts as well... and she just shrugged her shoulders. I asked her if she thought she couldn't do it... and again the shoulder shrug. I told her to do a snap kick, and demonstrated it for her. (I know, I'm old and rickety, but I did a fairly decent imitation.)
She did it - perfectly. I made a big deal out of it and told her that she would find that many of the kids would not be able to do splits like Richelle, and many are just learning just like she would be... and that she should at least give it a try to really know if she would be passing up something she might really like.
The next night we went again, and this time Kenzie tried it. And SHE wanted to do it as well...
Roy talked to the kids and told them he'd sign them up for the three months as their Christmas gift - and they wouldn't be getting any more big gifts. They were just fine with that.
My hope is that they will work hard at this... I've seen a big change in both kids - but especially Richelle. She's wanted to do martial arts for so long - for her it's like a dream come true.