The Karate Kids
IF YOU’D TOLD me a few years ago that I’d end up in a dojo on a Friday night watching martial arts demonstrations, I would have called you crazy—and asked what a dojo was. Yet here I am today, spending three evenings a week in a dojo, the classroom where my sons take karate.
Growing up, I played volleyball and basketball, and after my sons were born, I assumed they would play traditional sports, too. I never gave taekwondo, kung fu or karate much thought other than a brief crush on Ralph Macchio in elementary school. But during an especially rainy and hot summer trapped inside with my then 6- and 4-year-old, I discovered karate. The three of us walked into the dojo for the first time not sure what to expect— the boys just wanted to play ninjas. But it didn’t take me long to realize karate’s values. A quick impulse to get the kids out of the house has become a game-changing experience for our family.
First, karate is good exercise. My firstgrader, Anders, has developmental delays and low-muscle tone. Before we started karate, he’d been seeing an occupational therapist. Karate teaches him coordination, flexibility and balance. He kicks, punches and does jumping jacks and sit-ups without realizing how hard he’s working.
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