By Beth Wolfe, orange belt, daughter and mother of 4 green belts and one orange belt!
There are undeniable benefits to working out. Benefits that span age groups and are recognizable to anyone; benefits that are even recommended for better health. Within the spectrum of martial arts, there are additional benefits that we experience - character building, respect, coordination and balance...the list goes on. These things engage us, encourage us, and enhance our lives, but something else very special is possible at Colorado Taekwondo Institute - family participation.
So often our schedules are filled with activities divided by age groups. We run from one thing to the next, everyone doing their own activity, filling endless hours with our busyness. These activities have merit - we all need to have our own things that shape us. We all know that celebrating individuality is an important part of being human, and finding out who we are as people. But what happens when there’s an activity the whole family can participate in? What changes when everyone is doing something together?
I have seen tremendous benefit from working out with my family. It’s more than just working out; it is building bonds over common ground when it feels like common ground doesn’t exist (i.e. when teenagers have taken over your life…). Bridging gaps between generations (we have three generation in CTI!) with something that doesn’t require language, technology, or Common Core Math to understand is a priceless reward. Working out together, experiencing the health benefits, cheering each other on, practicing together; these are all wonderful things we use to draw each other closer. Building character together and finding the ways that martial arts eases our stress while spending quality time together doing something the whole family loves is an incredible bonus. Helping each other improve, and learning that doing your best is the most important part has been beyond therapeutic for us. It’s amazing to see my children encouraging each other, especially when they didn’t win first place or do as well as they’d hoped. Seeing their integrity emerge, watching them begin to come forward as leaders, and feeling their respect for one another increase is an irreplaceable gift that CTI has given me as a mother. And the look on my children’s faces when they see that their mom can break a board or win a gold medal at a tournament...now that’s priceless.