Thursday, April 29, 2010
Family time, karate style
PHOTO: Acelynn, Amanda, and Reece Thomson find practicing karate together makes fun family time.
“White, yellow, orange, green blue, purple, red!”
Acelynn Thomson confidently rattles off the order of ranking belts for her Hill Country Karate classes. Acelynn is all of 4 years old.
Yet she is learning skills that will serve her a lifetime. Acelynn is a student in the Hill Country Karate program, along with her brother Reece, age 5, her mother Amanda, and sometimes her daddy. A family that plays together, stays together, according to mom.
“As far as all the family activities we do, this is the one that really gets us together,” Amanda said. “We are all involved and part of it, not just spectators.”
Mother Amanda had no plans to study martial arts at first. She sat on the sideline as her son took classes last summer. Soon she was helping out, holding up pads, helping adjust belts. It was an easy step to sign up for the adult class and start learning.
“We started for self discipline for our son,” Amanda said. “Then I started because I thought it seemed a great way to learn self defense and get exercise. But to be involved and part of what our children are doing is a huge family activity. We can practice together and go to tournaments together.”
Amanda appreciates how the class encompasses more than just the physical part of the form. The instructor - Mr. Mitchell - teaches the history of karate, and a bit about the weapons. Similarly, the benefits ripple beyond the gymnasium walls.
“We are taught to have a good attitude. The parents and teachers have to sign off before a child tries to rank up to the next belt.”
“Yeah,” said Reece proudly. “You have to make your bed and clean your room.”
“If you don’t make your bed,” Acelynn added, “you have to do some pushups.”
That’s what Nick Smith, Director of Hill Country Karate, likes to hear. He manages dozens of classes throughout the area, working with schools and recreation departments. “Our program is about offering affordable martial arts training to as wide a base as we can,” he said. “Working with children once a week allow them to also participate in baseball, swim, and band, while giving them the confidence, self-esteem, and exposure to positive role models that helps them succeed in other parts of their lives.”
To the Thomsons, the whole attraction of karate is “doing” instead of “watching.” Amanda makes the effort to get other adults off their chairs and into a “gi,” or karate uniform.
“When you sit on the side and watch the class, you wonder how come the students are having difficulty with a certain technique,” she said. “But when you do it yourself, you see how hard it is. You can really appreciate the challenge when you are in the class.”
Right now, son Reece outranks his mother. She is a yellow belt, and Reece is a green belt. But that is not an issue for mom.
“I recommend this, absolutely. We really like that we are a part of this whole organization.”
The next session of Hill Country Karate begins June 7. Club Ed offers summer camps and classes for kids and adults. To sign up, visit www.clubed.net or call 830-895-4386.
Club Ed is the Community Education program of the Kerrville Independent School District. Each year, we offer more than 400 classes with 3000 enrollments. The fall session begins in September. To sign up, ask a question, suggest a class, or apply to teach, call 830-895-4386, or visit www.clubed.net. Comment online at clubedcomments.blogspot.com, or follow us on Twitter @clubedtx.