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  • Writer's pictureJackie Bradbury

So Effin' Fun

It was the first nice day after a long, cold, snowy winter.

I took my older daughter, who at the time was about 4 years old, to an iconic Kansas City playground I lived near at the time - Penguin Park.

There weren't a lot of kids there that day, even with some perfect spring weather. My kid was the youngest there, and the older kids were doing a great job in helping her play on the various elements and rides in the park.

As she was waiting in line to go up to the top of the elephant slide (see more pictures here), she called me over. She was beaming, a smile as big as it was on Christmas morning, with her blond hair and green eyes and her entire body quivering with barely-contained joy.

"Hey mom!"

"Yes, sweetie?"


Yes, the F-word, as loud as a 4-year-old can yell it, on the playground of one of the most popular playgrounds in town.


I tell that story, nearly 20 years on, and I can picture her face as clearly as the day she yelled the F-Word at the top of her lungs in a public park.

That incident happened way before I first started training in the martial arts. In fact, it was that same daughter that got us introduced to training in the first place after we moved to Mississippi.

Literally, after my first martial arts class, in a style I no longer practice, mind you, my reaction was much like that 4 year old on the elephant slide:


If you think I say the actual F-word in my mind... you'd be right.


It's been that way ever since, especially after I was handed a rattan stick.

Today, as an instructor, I want all the people who train with us to feel the same way.

Look, what we do and study is very, very serious most of the time. We study violence, y'all, no two ways about it. That is important and needs to be kept in mind always, obviously.

There's a lot of content relating to being safe while training, and avoiding injury to yourself and others. Also super-serious.

When we teach kids, we are usually trying to teach values as well as physical movements. Respect, loyalty, kindness, courage, tenacity, etc. Even more totally serious things.


There is no reason why each class can't also be FUN.

If it isn't FUN, no matter how good and useful and important what we teach is, eventually, most students will wander away to do other things that ARE fun.

Yes, that applies to adults as well as kids. It might be even MORE important for adults.

Most people in martial arts training are not doing so to become soldiers, or to be professional fighters, or to be cops. Most people are doing it for fitness, for community, for personal development and growth...

And for FUN.

Never, ever forget this, even if your material is absolutely the most serious deadly thing ever to be taught.

At the end of every class, I ask students as we dismiss:

"Did you have fun?"

Most of the time, they did. When they can't say they did, I need to do my job better.

I will always keep the fun - the passion and joy of what we do - front and center.


Is "fun" in training important to you, or not? Either way, comment and let us know why or why not!

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