“When can we start taekwondo?” my 7-year-old whined for the bajillionth time.
For the past three years, my kids have watched close friends who train at the Monument U.S. Taekwondo Center advance through their belts. Dillon and his older sister Riley, 9, wanted in on the action.
I didn’t want yet another activity to race to after school, but our friends mentioned a new dojang was opening near us and once again sang the praises of the family-friendly atmosphere. So Dillon and I stopped by the Stetson Hills location to check it out. About 30 seconds after Master Jay Lee started talking to my son, I was reaching for my credit card. It was clear this was a kind, supportive, challenging environment for my temperamental boy – exactly what he needed. I knew my daughter would benefit from the physical activity and the confidence-building approach Master Lee and the rest of the staff take with youngsters.
I was planning to sit in the lobby where I could work on my laptop for the two or three hours a week the kids were in class. But Master Lee suggested I join in. He said this was my chance to progress and practice with my kids. I’m committed to physical fitness. I run, practice Pilates, train with weights, ride horses competitively and more, but with the exception of the horses, I’m on my own.
One more bonus: Grand Master Sang Lee was coming out of retirement to teach at this new location; we could learn from an Olympic coach. I added my name to the list.
I was hooked after the first class. Although the protocols and formality are well outside my comfort zone, I appreciate the beauty of the rituals and the respectful attitude it fosters in my children. The kind, disciplined environment pushes us to work hard and earn our belts. There are so many activities for kids that offer a ribbon just for showing up; I hate that. When we come to class, we know we’re going to sweat, we’re going to push ourselves and we’re going to leave better and stronger for the effort!
At the U.S. Taekwondo Center we’ve found an extended family that shares our commitment to physical and personal excellence. We’ve made friends who encourage us through the challenges and celebrate the victories of this journey. I’m extremely grateful I finally gave in to Dillon’s whining (which has diminished significantly overall) and joined my kids on this taekwondo adventure.