I may receive a commission if you purchase something mentioned in this post. See more details here.
I’m going to be honest. I am not athletic. I did soccer most summers and gymnastics during the school year until I was 12. I quit because I was really not good. I stopped enjoying them and I was embarrassed by how behind I was. But my mom wanted me to still do something active. So, shortly after my 13th birthday, my mom and I started taking Tae-Kwon-Do together.
My brother was also at this school, but in a different class. As a result, we spent a lot of time in the karate studio until, 4 years later, my mom and I got our black belts and were finally in the same class as my brother. We got to know the instructor and the people in our classes very well. Both my mom and I developed close friendships with those near our age, for the adult classes held people of all ages from 13 and up. On Saturdays we took a kickboxing class with all belt ranks, which allowed me to make friends with black belts even when I was still a lower rank.
It was hard. I’m not kidding when I say I’m not athletic. There were days in those kickboxing classes when I had to sit against a wall with my head between my knees because my lips had turned gray. I was never able to hold a kick above waist level.
But karate gave me so much confidence and kept me in as good of shape as I needed to be. I made friends that, 3 years after I left for college, I enjoy hugging and catching up with when I return. You see, while karate is an individual sport, it is a strong community that builds lasting relationships. Everyone roots for and supports each other. Every child and teenager should be in a sport that offers that kind of environment.
Even more, though, is that I built a friendship with my mom. I have no memory of the fights she says we had all the time when I was 12. However, I remember never being an angsty teenager that hated her mom. I respected her. And if one of us was ever upset with the other, we just went to karate class and partnered with each other for pad strikes. And then we would laugh at ourselves and each other for falling over during a spin kick. To this day we maintain a close bond over karate and life.
It’s not every mother and 17-year-old daughter who go get their first tattoos together on the day they both receive their black belts.
I chose not to spar and I did not take competing very seriously. Karate was fun and social for me. It remains the only form of exercise that I enjoy, and that is even before all of relationships I built. But karate is so much more than just a sport. It teaches respect and discipline. It teaches a child to be confident in themselves. It teaches good sportsmanship. Most importantly, it gives a mother and daughter the opportunity for happy and peaceful teenage years (I was going to say angst-free, but let’s be honest. I had angst, it just wasn’t directed at my mom).
Every child and teenager, but most importantly every pre-teen and teenage girl deserves the opportunity to feel this way about themselves. To not be pressured to look a certain way or be a certain person. It takes a special place to teach respect, confidence, and discipline, while still encouraging lasting friendships and fun. Karate has been the one place that I have found that, and I would recommend it to anyone.
Like what you see? Please support this blog and help me keep it running by signing up for my newsletter, purchasing products, or donating through the links below:
DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. The information contained in this post is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information. For more information, click here.