If you’re a parent, you have undoubtedly been chopped, punched, kicked or tackled by your child. I think it’s just a rite of passage.
In our house, however, I think it happened even sooner because my son was raised watching two parents who try to love fitness. Included in our workouts are snap kicks, high blocks and punches, in addition to weight lifting.
It wasn’t long (two years old to be exact) before our son started claiming that he was a ninja and trying to jump off the stairs and sofa or anything else for that matter. My husband and I, out of a growing concern for his safety, wanted to look into places or experiences where he could exercise, grow to fitness and have fun, in a safe environment.
First, we looked into a gymnastic type environment. He loved it! He was hooked on the rope climbing and balance/coordination drills that the patient and helpful instructor coached the group of toddlers through, but to our horror the place closed shortly after we found them.
Now things were worse than before, because he had gotten a taste of loving fitness and having fun, but was now left high and dry. It wasn’t the same when mommy tried to build pillow balance beams and use our indoor trampoline at home.
Determined to find something to fill the gap, we tried wee ball, or as my husband called it wrangling cats. Ok, fine, I admit it, some days there was more kids chasing than actual ball hitting or base running, but it was very cute and we got to see and make some friends. As cute as it was, I knew it still wasn’t the right fit.
Inspiration came one day as we were watching an episode of Blaze and the Monster Machines, when Blaze had become a ninja. My son was enthralled and couldn’t tear his gaze away. For weeks afterwards, he tried to mimic the moves he had seen and the fitness exercises they had done. It was then that I decided to look into local karate studios.
I reached out on Facebook and sadly realized most places wouldn’t take him until he was 3 and we were several months from that milestone. It was disappointing, but the week he turned 3, I called and set up a 6 week trial for my son, Kingston, with Okinawan Karate School or OKS Macon, as it is fondly called.
There doesn't seem to be any absolute knowledge about the origins of karate, but it is assumed it appeared over a thousand years ago in Okinawa. Karate is an unarmed martial art form that includes blocking, kicking and defending.
I wanted the experience for my son because I had been doing research and I was intrigued by the way karate taught concepts of discipline and fitness in a fun way. I have several students who practiced karate and they, as well as their parents, always spoke highly of the practice and benefits.
My entire family had high expectations walking in and we were not and still have not been disappointed. On Kingston’s first night of the Mighty Mites class, we walked in to see a sign that had his name and was welcoming him to the dojo. His karate uniform and white belt, with his name written on it, were perfectly ironed and folded.
I quickly took him to their spacious and clean restroom area and got him changed. Well, somewhat. We left the bathroom with his pants and an undershirt on because I had never put on a shirt like that before (it had some strings that needed to be secured). Luckily for me, one of the instructors offered to help before I even asked.
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Now dressed, he was instructed on how to sit and address his instructors (there were 3). Each was firm, but kind and quickly started to build a good rapport and exude a spirit of fun that my son enjoyed. That day my son got to experience karate fitness drills and begin learning his first kata. He also was guided to start memorizing his first student creed.
If you’re new to karate like I was. A kata is an individual training exercise for karate. It can include kicks, punches and verbal exclamations, which of course small children love. To me it looks like a carefully coordinated dance.
The student creed is a collection of mottos that teach students how to behave, live productively and use karate correctly in their life. I was floored.
Here was my 3 year old breaking a board to earn his belt, running while carrying a 5 lb medicine ball, doing push ups and happily saying a creed about being respectful to his parents and teachers.
Now, we are into month 3 of our karate journey and my family has fallen in love with the Okinawan Karate School even more. Instructors Skeeter, Jordan and Sensei Brewster feel like our extended family. They expect excellence from Kingston and push him toward that goal, even when he’s trying to roll like a tumbleweed instead of sitting on his knees with his hand firmly in place.
We’ve enjoyed pool workouts and character dress up days. We haven’t taken advantage of as yet, but look forward to, Nerf war days and Parents Night Out. Parents Night Out is where you are able to pay to have your child perform various activities at the dojo and be fed for less than you would probably pay to find a sitter, while you enjoy a date or some alone time.
You can also choose to have your child’s birthday party at the dojo and there are opportunities to have an instructor or Sensei Brewster come to your child’s school and do a presentation in his/her class.
Toward the end of summer we also participated in a back to school supply drive where each class (arranged by age group) competed to bring in the most supplies and earn an ice cream party. In the end every child, regardless of their class was able to attend, as long as they donated something to the drive.
Currently, Kingston is in the midst of bringing in homework, doing chores and performing other specially assigned challenges, with our support, to earn tickets that give him the opportunity to win some phenomenal prizes such as a drone, Amazon gift card or cash.
He is also working hard to learn his current kata and creed so that he is a candidate for the next graduation ceremony where he can earn a new belt.
If it isn’t readily apparent from what you’ve read so far, the Okinawan Karate School is phenomenal at what they do. They advocate karate that promotes a love of fitness and fun that is tightly wrapped up in the development of discipline, ethics and values.
If my son is misbehaving at home and I even mention one of his instructors or his sensei, he snaps to attention. He is getting stronger and is working on doing ten pushups, not five. More importantly, he is learning how to actually live the creeds that he has memorized and actively tries to be respectful and avoid all things which are not good for him.
They offer classes for children starting at 3 and go all the way up to adults.There are discounts for family packages and they have two dojos, one in Macon and another in Forsyth.
There are frequent events where you can visit and "try out" the program for 6 weeks at a heavily discounted rate. If you’re interested, we go to the Mighty Mites class on Tuesdays and Thursday on Zebulon road, which is for 3 to 5 year olds. If you have an older child, please check out their schedule and information on Facebook or call to see about the best day or time to check them out. If you do, tell them Kingston sent you!
See the contact information listed below.
6255 Zebulon Rd,Ste 196, Macon, Ga 31210
(478) 405 1528