Hello Friends! This week marked a very proud moment in my family. My oldest daughter Sadie has been taking karate since she was 6. From her first class, she loved it. When Sades was 7, she started at a new dojo. Her first one just was not a good fit for her and someone highly recommended I take her to London Shido-Kan Karate Dojo and Larry Bowlby. I have watched Sadie blossom under his teaching into a confident, talented and determined student. Watching her focus amazes me. Here she is with her trophy from the yearly tournament in February.
While Sades was in class, often Ciara would come and watch. Since she was always interested in dance, I never thought she would want to join in. One day she said, “Mama I want to try karate with Sades”. I spoke to Sensei and he agreed to give her a trial run. She was only 6 at the time and after a month or two, she said it wasn’t for her. Never being one to force my children into anything, I agreed to let her stop. When I talked to Sensei about it, he said to give her the break and she might come back to it. I have some rules for the girls about anything they participate in. They are to make sure they are serious about it and they have to try it out for at least a month (you can’t make a decision after just one class). Finally, I tell my girls that if they are not going to focus and work in class, they need to sit out. I feel with any sport/activity, the instructor is dedicating their time and expertise to teaching the children and they deserve the child’s full attention.
Because of my views on how to behave in class, Ciara sat on the sidelines for quite awhile. She watched kids who started after she did advance past her level. Late last fall, Ciara wanted to rejoin the class. Sensei was not only willing to let her back in class but very supportive. In February, Ciara competed in her first tournament and she did very well for her level. We were proud and I told her afterwards that that is what happens when you apply yourself.
This June, Ciara again took a break but it was relatively short, only a month. Sensei never gave up. If she came with us to class, he would ask if she wanted to participate. He always reminded her and me that she was welcome back any time.
In July, Ciara returned to classes. This month, she attended every class she could and she worked HARD. Sensei discovered she enjoyed teaching the newer kids things she already knew so he used her to demonstrate and help the newer students. Her confidence grew, as did her happiness. Sensei has a system so students can see when they are eligible for a belt upgrade. They have attendance cards that get stamped each class if the student remembers to pull it out. Once a card is full, the student is eligible for a belt test. This does not guarantee them an upgrade, they need to show technique and meet the requirements but without the time committed, you cannot be graded. This was a great tool for Ciara. As she saw she was getting close to a full card, she attended every class, she focussed harder and showed determination to reach her goal.
Wednesday, that goal was achieved! Ciara earned her yellow belt and her dad, step dad, Sensei and I are all so proud of her!
When she watched the video her dad made of her receiving her yellow belt, Ciara got teary. She said “Mama, I am so proud of myself”. Ciara told me she will continue to work hard in class while proudly wearing her yellow belt!
Thank you Sensei Larry and Will for never giving up on her. Thank you for using positive reinforcement to teach your students. You are giving them confidence in themselves and teaching them the importance of commitment and determination!
Ciara learned a valuable lesson and I feel I re-learned it with her. When you are determined, you can accomplish anything!