“It was interesting! From a certain point of view, I think my sister could be great at kicking,” said my son after watching his sister have the first martial arts lesson of her life.
My husband and I strive to teach our kids to speak up and stand up for themselves in respectful ways. At home, we practice what to say and how to say it when others touch us or treat us in ways that make us feel uncomfortable and/or are hurtful. I thought we were doing a good job of it until my daughter went to school this year.
Like most children, my daughter’s first year of school was filled with new experiences and people. Some of these were positive, others not so much. She’s dealt with her own strong feelings and those of her classmates. And, as her parents, we’ve noticed that our young one has had her fair share of opportunities to speak up for herself, yet chosen not to.
For those of you who know me, I’m a peace lovin’ momma living in a gun-lovin’ culture. It’s important to distinguish that being a peaceful person doesn’t mean that you are to be others’ door mat either. When it comes down to it, I want my children to be peaceful yet strong, confident people. It’s my job to teach them how. Sometimes I have the tools, sometimes I don’t, but I do know how to do my research.
And that’s how we found our way to Master Kenji Saykosy, pictured here.
Using her hands and feet to hurt someone doesn’t come naturally to our daughter and she was visibly nervous about using her body to punch and kick. She was trying hard, giving her full attention to what was asked of her. It took some time for her body to adjust to the moves and momentum. She started to look nervous. And that’s when she did it: She turned to him and said, “I don’t like this!”
Master Saykosy heard her. He immediately stopped, got down on her level and asked why. With some help, we learned that what she was feeling strong feelings about what she was doing and was feeling scared. Master Saykosy explained that martial arts isn’t just about punching and kicking. It’s about being confident to handle anything that happens in your life. Knowing how to react lends to a feeling of preparedness and readiness. It leads to confidence.
Standing up for yourself takes many forms. It can be in words, thoughts or actionable skills. Careful listening to each other’s feelings and needs lends to increased confidence and the ability to stand up for what you feel. Sometimes, that strength comes from the strength of your body. Other times, your courage comes from inside your soul. Wherever it comes from, that confidence gives you the foundation on which you will stand tall and dream big.
So to my children, I say: I’ve got your back. We’ll keep practicing and growing that inner confidence. Go get ‘em, kiddos because you can handle this.
A special thank you to Master Saykosy of Royal Tiger Martial Arts Academy from NC for taking the time to meet with our family this week. Master Saykosy is our guest Monday, July 1st web TV’s The Breaking Free Show! At 8 pm/EST watch the live show by tuning into: http://www.nissancommunications.com/breakingfree.php Meet this remarkable man Monday, July 1, 2013 @ 8 pm/EST. Don’t miss his story of personal freedom and independence.