Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wax On, Wax Off

When Karate Kid came out in 1984, the thing that grabbed my attention more than the karate was the bonsai collection that Mr. Miyagi lovingly tended in his little apartment. I believe I must have been a little ahead of my time, because I was unable to find bonsai plants anywhere for sale at that time. I considered creating my own bonsai plant, but never did get around to it. Of course, now you can buy them everywhere, but I've moved on . . .

Besides a very short foray into Tae Kwan Do (by Joel) a few years back, none of us Taylors have ever had the slightest interest or involvement in martial arts. This summer when Greg and I did the Loveland Amazing Race, Patten's Martial Arts (Patten family pictured above) sponsored one of the stations. One activity we had to do was 7 side kicks in a row, and I REALLY enjoyed that. I went away from the LAR having had a great time, and having found the motivation to look into karate at Patten's.

What a treasure I have found! Mr. Patten is very family-oriented, as you can see in the pictures of his family, all of whom are black belts, except for the littlest one, and I'm sure she'll get there one of these days. He's an excellent teacher, with a great sense of humor, and a fun sense of playfulness, which one wouldn't necessarily expect from a martial arts instructor. Since the adult classes incorporate everyone age 14 and up, Anna-Jessie is still in the children's classes. Therefore, I have the privilege of hearing how Mr. Patten instructs these kids to be the best they can be, at home, at school and at play. I love seeing how much Anna-Jessie loves karate.

In the adult classes, he encourages us to be the best we can be as well, but he leaves out things like "Clean your room" although that wouldn't be a bad idea for some of the adults to hear!! He's a fierce defender of his family, deeply grateful for his wife, and genuinely appreciative to the students who grace his life.

In the sense that I appreciate being reminded that I have physical strength, karate reminds me of weightlifting, but that's where the similarities end. There is a sense of camaraderie among the karate students, and that social piece was definitely missing from any weightlifting I ever did. Higher-level students are patient and helpful with newbies, and positively complement what Mr. Patten teaches.

I also see it as an amazing privilege to stand side-by-side with my husband and older three kids as we learn and develop ourselves together. That sure never happened with soccer, basketball, or skateboarding. As great as those other sports are, and as positive experiences as they were for the players and the watchers, I believe the Taylors have found their niche. I'm looking forward to having Kepler start classes sometime in the next year. He will be amazingly cute in his little outfit.

When I was 8 years old, my ballet classes were just a few blocks away, and I rode my little blue bike with the "Susan" license plate attached to the seat stem. One day, as I rode to ballet, some bigger boys stopped me on the sidewalk. I. Was. Terrified. Of course, that probably was pretty exciting for them, but they finally let me go after telling me they had stolen my license plate (liars in addition to being bullies). If I knew then what I know now, I would have been brave and confident and looked them in the eye and said "Can I help you?" And they would have known I was a tough little cookie, which I was, but hadn't learned yet how to show it! I'm glad Patten's is around to teach other children how to defend themselves against bullies and meanies!

We recite this student creed at the beginning and end of every class:

"I am developing myself in a positive manner, and I avoid anything that would reduce my mental growth or my physical health. I am developing self-discipline to bring out the best in myself and others. I am using what I learn in class, constructively and defensively, to help myself and my fellow man, and never to be abusive or offensive"

Sure can't go wrong with that philosophy.

2 comments:

The Mom Chef said...

Kudos to you for doing this! It's been wonderful to read about your progress in the belt system. (I did get a bonsai plant after the Karate Kid). :)

SiouxsieQ said...

I never knew that, Christiane! Since we were in the same place in 1984, I guess I didn't look very hard!