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Winter Motivation: Gemma’s family story

Published On: 29th November 2016

Our Family Martial Arts classes are so welcoming and motivating, we’re addicted... We can’t imagine not going along!

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Our family time together is so precious and we didn’t want to split up and be shuttling the kids in different directions to do different extra-curricular activities.

Was there anything out there we could do as a family that could keep us motivated, boost my daughter’s confidence and give us all a good giggle in the process? Well as it turns out, yes there is!

Our search started when my five-year-old daughter came home from her first school party in tears because she was ‘scared of the big children’.

I desperately wanted to do something to improve her confidence – I was fed up of seeing her run away from children in the park and appear too scared to join in with the fun when we were on holiday.

But the last thing I wanted to do was throw her into a class on her own with the ‘dreaded big children’ and make her even more anxious, so I started looking for something we could do together as a family.

My husband and I work full time in very demanding jobs, we both work 50+ hours a week and we also have a three-year-old son. When I stumbled across Family Martial Arts Classes I thought it sounded perfect – it promised to increase confidence, enhance behaviour and reinforce moral values such as honesty, perseverance and discipline whilst developing physical skills such as balance, general fitness and co-ordination.

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But the main selling point was the class’ focus on ‘bully defence’ and ‘stranger danger’ which I think is every parent’s worst fear – with that, my daughter and I signed up!

Eleven months down the line, my once shy and nervous little girl just counted to 10 in Korean in front of a full Martial Arts class, she gave a Martial Arts demonstration at Prestwich Carnival in front of hundreds of people and she has attended several graduations which involve performing in front of large groups.

She has a Do Bok (our Martial Arts uniform!) covered in award badges, our kitchen wall is covered in Martial Arts certificates and ultimately, she received a glowing school report which commended her on her outstanding academic achievements, her brilliant behaviour and significantly, her blossoming confidence. This has made it all worthwhile and I could not be happier with her progress!

But it’s not just been about my daughter and her amazing development – this is a family thing and we look forward to our classes twice a week and we adore our instructors who are a dedicated and inspirational family of Blackbelts (mum, dad, teenage son and teenage daughter) who have supported us throughout our journey.

Our instructors are motivational and supportive, encouraging and experienced, and they help us identify and work towards our personal goals. Despite joining for my daughter, I have completely fallen in love with our Martial Art which is called Tang So Do.

I am immensely busy and I have tried pretty much every kind of fitness class but I have always lost interest very quickly. But Tang So Do is different – yes, there’s the element of fitness (I usually burn 700 calories in a single class!) but learning how to defend myself has left me feeling stronger and more confident.

I find classes are excellent for relieving stress and even though I have lost nearly two stone in weight since starting the classes, the true benefit I feel is emotional as well as physical. There is a real sense of community at the class which is great for building self-esteem – I feel I am truly motivated and supported by my friends in class and of course, by the wonderful instructors.

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After seeing the progress of my daughter and I, my husband now comes along to classes and my son also attends the Tiger Tots class which is a class for younger children (age 3-5). My daughter helps out in this class and again, this has done wonders for her self-esteem.

We now have a common interest to talk and laugh about together as a family. Joining Family Martial Arts has been truly transformative for us; we are fitter, happier and more skilful and in the process we have made some wonderful friends. After listening to us enthuse over our Martial Arts adventure, some of our adult friends (who don’t have kids) now come along too!

Our classes are full of friendly people of all ages and backgrounds and the welcoming and motivating nature of the sessions is truly addictive. Family Martial Arts has brought us closer together as a family and has made us feel part of something important.

I am a true believer that family and friends who kick together, stick together!