The Gymnastics Substitute

I love a bargain, particularly when it is FREE. The kids are doing a free month trial at a nearby karate studio. Their uniforms were free too. The studio is pricey even though they charge one rate per kid for unlimited classes. This multiplied by three has got my husband and I thinking if we can afford it.

He doesn’t think we can.

I completely agree.

Our kids have been pretty mellow compared to other families, a fact I sometimes forget. Still, I always told my husband, my family, my friends, anyone who is kind enough to bring something to our kids: If you don’t bring three or if you can’t cut it into thirds, don’t bring it in the house! This includes finding a penny on the ground. You’d better find two more quick. Otherwise, just ignore it!

I cannot justify putting the youngest in karate. She is in a preschool class and even when she gets promoted to the next class, they would not technically start her training for a yellow belt until then.


But the older two? That’s a gray area.

Watching those two in the same class is priceless. Their personalities and mannerisms are about as different as night and day.

The boy M is 10 1/2, a tweener, someone who needs and craves adult mentors and their advice. Their encouragement. Yesterday he was reserved. Didn’t make eye contact with me.


Today he couldn’t suppress his smile. Today he yelled the black belt speech that students are expected to say at the end of class. After every time he punched or kicked the crap out of those dummies, he looked at me. “That’s right. I’m letting my testosterone out.”

The girl A is 7 and jumps into everything with all of her might and all of her heart. When she played soccer for the first time last year, she scored the first goal of the season. After the game, she received many accolades, all of which she accepted but shrugged as if awesomeness just oozed out of her.


She was focused. Intent to blend in. A chameleon in a karate suit.

I see their faces during practice and I know that karate is filling their specific needs. His are a feeling of belonging, a positive and fun environment, surrounded by kids and adults who believe in him despite knowing him for a couple of days. Hers are for focus, for channeling that intensity and competition that came naturally in gymnastics, and the permission to yell at the top of her lungs while trying to destroy property.

I will talk to R more about this. We can find ways to save money. I can work more. If I have to postpone our gym membership (we are under contract but use it a lot; I especially need it for daycare), I can. I will. I would do that for them.

Here is L after her first class:

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