Like the Karate Kid?

Okay, I will concede the statement “Like the karate kid…” would be a little more accurate if any one of the Karate Kid movies, sequels and remakes featured a younger version of a married, thirty-something, out-of-work, out of shape, overweight, mostly uncoordinated, sometimes stressed, mother of two kids. I may not remember or be fully knowledgable on all the plot twists of all the movies of the franchise (they lost me somewhere in the middle of the Karate Kid, Part III), but I am pretty sure the previous statement is not how I would describe the characters played by Ralph Macchio, Hilary Swank or more recently, Jaden Smith.

However, here is the one thing that makes me like the Karate Kid – my path to black belt excellence is not quite the norm. 5280 Karate Academy in Lakewood, CO is going to sponsor my training and in return, I will blog about my son’s and my journey to black belt. I never anticipated I could negotiate services without some sort of lewd act involved. I guess you really do learn something new every day.

Karate came into our lives this past June when my son’s class went on a field trip to 5280 Karate Academy and he came home spouting off the seven magic words. This from a child who, often times, cannot remember what he ate for lunch that day. He also came home gushing about how much fun he had at karate and how he desperately wanted to start karate, and he wanted to start immediately. Having heard this demand before regarding other activities, which were then never mentioned again, I did not rush right out and sign him up. I figured it was another proverbial ‘flash in the pan.’ I was wrong. After many weeks of pestering, we took advantage of 5280 Karate Academy’s introductory deal and after our introductory sessions, we proudly watched our son achieve his white belt. Quickly, we were introduced to and inducted into the 5280 Karate Academy family.

After a few karate classes, I realized that I wanted to learn karate too. Which was a surprise to me because my most recent attempt at something that requires coordination was an epic failure. Come to find out, when you attempt a kickboxing class, do not focus on the moves and just try to keep up with the music, you look like a broken and out-of-control windmill. But this was different. As I watched my son, I became more and more curious if I could do that punch or kick, too. And if I could, wouldn’t it be a great way to get myself back in motion and (maybe!) healthy again?

A few days later, I came to the realization that learning karate was something I really wanted to, and for good reason. I was telling a friend about my son’s achievements in karate, and I mentioned that I was thinking about learning karate myself. He laughed and asked me, “Why would you want to do that? Who’s butt can’t you already kick?” I absolutely appreciated his question, and it made me realize the answer to his questions was, “My own.” For years I have known I was overweight and desperately needed to get back into a shape other than round. And for years, I have been making excuses as to why I couldn’t (too busy, too stressed, no money to spend on a gym membership, too tired to get up in the mornings). I knew this was the time and place to set a goal, work hard, achieve it, all the while creating an opportunity to keep a strong connection with my ‘daddy’s boy’ six-year-old son.

I went to Master Lewis (the owner of 5280 Karate Academy) and proposed this blog. If you are reading this, then he said yes! This blog will detail through narrative and pictures the journey of achieving our black belts at 5280 Karate Academy. I will approach my journey with dedication and self-discipline, however when you place a mostly uncoordinated person in a situation that requires coordination and flexibility, it is only logical hilarity will ensue. Also, I will be talking about my weight loss, parenting challenges, books relating to karate and how I apply them in my life, and the benefits of having a shared goal with my son. I hope you take the ride, and you get the opportunity to laugh and smile through it with us.

One last thing, every blog will end with a quality of a black belt. So here is the first quality: Indomitable Spirit. I will not allow myself to be beaten by my fear of failure (or falling on my butt). In all honesty, fear of falling on my butt probably ranks first. I am already dreading a running kick, but here I go anyway!

13 thoughts on “Like the Karate Kid?

  1. Jess-You can do it. I took Karate years ago, pre Rob, Kids and Colorado. My stomach never looked better but than again, I was in my mid twenties!! You will see how well coordination comes when you practice something over and over. Good Luck on this endeavor, I will be rooting for you all the way. By the way, I was one belt shy of my black. Alyssa

  2. I can totally relate. We started our oldest son in Tae Kwon Do when he was five because I loved the values that martial arts teaches. I wanted to get involved myself, and, because I am a glutton for punishment and I love kicking, joint locks, and throwing people around (it gets out my frustrations), I started Hapkido a year later. I too, am a total uncoordinated clutz. I told my instructor about a year ago, when I was really struggling with all the concepts I had to learn that every time I am on the dojo floor I flash back to the geek I was in high school, always the last one to be picked for any sports team. Every time I advanced a belt or accomplished something that I never would have imagined doing, it was as if I was doing for that nerdy girl and proving to all those kids who didn’t want me on their team that I really am cool. After three years of Hapkido, I have finally reached a place where I feel I actually know what I am doing and don’t look like a total dork every time I am on the floor. I will be testing for my temporary black belt this fall and should get my black belt in the spring. I am actually allowed to teach the lower belts things now, which I totally enjoy. Good luck with your training and your journey. I look forward to hearing about it.

    • Thank you for stopping by and your comment! It makes me feel immensely better to know there is another “butt kicking mama” that has gone through the frustration, embarrassment and nerd flashbacks in martial arts and yet continued on! It is so much fun working towards a new goal – and that is what keeps me going! Oh, and the knowledge that I will eventually get certified to teach too! I am looking forward to keeping up with your adventures on your blog as well!

  3. I so admire you for taking this on!! My daughter and i watch everybody and wonder “how the heck” do the adults do it?! I do admit, the kickboxing looks like fun!

    • Thank you Shawna! I must admit that there are some days that are harder than others, but overall, I am having so much fun learning – learning about taekwondo and learning that I can do more than I thought I could!

      You should come try a kickboxing class with us – Grandmaster Hart is an amazing instructor and everyone can go at their own pace! My first attempt at kickboxing (not with Grandmaster Hart) was an epic fail but Grandmaster Hart’s class is AWESOME. Very supportive and no one judges… you are applauded for just coming out and trying it!

      If you ever want to go, let me know! I would be happy to go to the class with you!

  4. I would LOVE to! But i am currently on crutches due to a hip injury, on a direct path to surgery. So, maybe after i have the surgery i will give it a shot!

    And Im sure ANY class with Grandmaster Hart couldnt be bad!

    • Thank you so much for stopping by and giving some encouragement! We are having a great time – but I must admit, I have had many, many moments just like the ones you have had… complete stress over my son’s success or failures, and he has no stress whatsoever. And I too, was taught, I really shouldn’t stress… he’ll be just fine.

      Less stress, however, is something I may never accomplish! Oh, well, I guess I am still a work in progress!

      I truly hope you son continues to enjoy the martial arts! Cheers, good luck, and have fun!

  5. Loved the video. You are very impressive–your bravery and resolve. And it’s terrific that the whole family is now participating. (BTW, you are also gaw-juss. Great shot of you and your son : )

    I, too, thought in my thirties to join a karate (not Tae Kwon Do) class. I signed up and wound up with 18-year-olds on campus. Each class began with a series of rapid-fire boot-camp exercises. I, quite frankly, could not begin to keep up–and I was thin, and in what I thought was remarkable shape. But good shape in your late 30s is not good shape in your late teens. My body could handle the pounding. My ego could not. By the end of week four, the pitying glances thrown my way became too much to bear, and I quietly slithered out the door, never to be seen again.

    Thank you so much for the Follow on The Last Half!

    • Thank you so much, and I am so sorry it took SO long to reply! I have been traveling for the past few weeks, and I am just now getting caught up!

      I must admit, as much as I love my decision to begin and continue on with tae kwon do, there have been moments where my ego has taken a pounding. And the word “quit” has crossed my mind, every time. Honestly, the only reason why I haven’t is only because I had little eyes looking up at me seeing what I would do. So, when I get my black belt, the credit will lay on the shoulders of my son.

      Also, a huge THANK YOU for the compliment! I recently read an article about women being self-depricating when receiving a compliment – and as I read, I realized I always do that. So, I have made a resolution to accept every compliment with gratitude and grace… so, again, THANK YOU!🙂

      I have loved reading your blog, and I look forward to reading more!

  6. No apology due, love the little eyes looking up image, but YOU deserve the credit, of course, for wanting to be the best mom and role model you could be for your son : )

    And thank YOU back for the compliment : ) : )

    There. Now we are both just wonderful, wonderful! (I too, am learning…)

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