• Jackie Bradbury

Musings of a Martial Arts Mom

If you've read the blog for a while, you know that the martial arts is a family affair in my house.


The family that kicks ass together, stays together. This was back in Texas.

Elder Daughter was the first one to start training, way back in the day, as a little kid in taekwondo. Mr. Chick and I soon followed, and then eventually, Younger Daughter was born (my kids are 9 years apart in age) and she, too, followed our path into the martial arts in taekwondo with a little bit of Arnis, too.


Back in the day, my Older Daughter sat on the black belt board for my Younger Daughter's very first belt test, and lemme tell you, Mr. Chick and I totally didn't lose it with pride and tears on that day.


Older Daughter is on a training break while she's in college, but she's said she plans to return to the mats soon, maybe to try a new style. We're thrilled she still has interest in training.


Since we moved to Kansas City, we've tried a couple of schools here for Younger Daughter. Due to scheduling conflicts and whatnot, it was hard to find a fit, but I think we've finally found a local TKD school to settle into.


So you see, before I was this badass Presas Arnis and Kobudo blogging BADASS you all know and love, I was (and still am) one of those parents sitting on the sidelines watching the kids do their basics and one-steps and forms practice night after night after night, dragging the kid to tournaments and consoling them when they didn't win, and searching for that damn mouth guard that fell out of her bag again.


I was a martial arts mom first.


During taekwondo class, I look like just another parent on the sidelines, fiddling with my phone and watching the kids do their thing. I like to think I'm better than most parents because I do not interrupt or coach from the sidelines, ever - I leave dealing with Younger Daughter to the instructors and I keep my mouth shut while they're training.


You might wonder why I put her in a stereotypical taekwondo class versus, say, grappling or having her train in Arnis or whatever.


Younger Daughter does a lot better under other teachers than training in a class under her parents, and we learned that by hard personal experience. So her joining my Arnis class (which is really geared towards teens and adults anyway) was out.


As for the style and the school, I made this choice for all the same reasons other martial arts parents do.


First was location, schedule, and cost - the MOST important part of deciding where to train kids. There was another school I really like a lot in another part of the city that we tried to attend for a while but getting to classes was far too difficult schedule-wise (always conflicts popping up so we missed too many classes).


This new school Younger Daughter has joined meets at a time I can get her to consistently and it's very near my home. And the cost is quite reasonable, especially compared to some other schools in the area.


This school offers the core things I personally look for in a school for kids. I look for:

  • Martial arts fundamentals - learning to move like a martial artist, developing a martial arts brain.

  • Calisthenics and exercise

  • Discipline and focus

  • Learning how to follow and learning how to lead


It's a smaller school, so she's going to be well-known by the instructors and she'll get a lot more attention versus a large school. Which she needs, as her skills degraded in the time we've been away from taekwondo.


Younger Daughter is happy, and that's the most important part of all. That's important too, y'all.


Yep, I'm back in "did you practice your forms today?" mode, like I was for all those years with Older Daughter. All those Korean forms (Chung ji! Do San! Hwa Rang!) I've sat and watched for years and years are all back in my life. Asking her if she needs one of us to feed her for one-steps practice. Yelling at her to HANG UP THAT UNIFORM!


Ahh, it's nice to be a martial arts mom again.


Are you a martial arts parent as well as a martial artist yourself? What are the pros and cons? How successful are you at keeping your mouth shut on the sidelines? Did you choose a different art for your kid than what you do, or do you all train the same thing? Let us know in the comments!

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