Ainsley graded on the weekend again. Now she is a fifth level junior black belt. She started martial arts at the age of four. Two years ago she became a junior black belt. I am always impressed at how athletic this kid is. Martial arts gives her such a great outlet for her energy. She excels at sports and martial arts and swimming and everything sporty that she has ever tried, with a small exception of soccer league play which never worked because, hello wide open field and she has always just wanted to run. Some of you know both of my girls do martial arts. They also mentor at martial arts on occasion. I am a champion of martial arts for girls because I see how much this sport gives my two girls and it is pretty spectacular.
I took this shot of her when she was practicing right before she did her grading. It was an oddball day because we showed up an hour and a half early for the grading and frankly we were wiped by the time it was her turn to grade. Not sure what exactly happened there. Anyways, Ainsley took a few moments to warm up in the back room and I played with my new Sony camera.
Another parent asked me recently whether martial arts helped with self esteem and bullying. I rambled on for far too long about how Payton started because she was extremely anxious over the murder of a local little girl. Payton was about 9 and she started to get really stressed about the potential for violence in the world. She also wanted to get started because her sister had already been at martial arts for several years at this point. It should come as no great surprise to parents here that siblings fight and when your younger sibling is training for junior black belt and you know nothing about martial arts you are at a distinct disadvantage when you have one of those routine sibling spats.
Ainsley started on a day when she, at four, had been playing with my eye shadow. She walked in and was asked do you want to come in and give it a try? She played two warm up games with the kids and was hooked. How does martial arts help this girl? Well, it helped her to set a goal and to work hard to achieve it and when she does that it gives her confidence and self esteem knowing she is good at this and strong.
When we moved into our new neighbourhood last year the kids made friends with several other children in the neighbourhood. Several of those friends are also boys. They all hung out and went for walks and built forts and had a great first spring getting to know each other. One night we were having a meal with the neighbours when one parent said her son had told them he was okay with hiking with our girls because he knew Payton would protect them. That nearly made me spit my wine across the room that night.
My girls fight and swim and sing and dance and ride horses and spar and run. They are also pretty fierce. Even so they are not immune to bad teachers, crappy school cliques, bullies and violence. I believe wholeheartedly in Martial arts for girls because I have seen how it can build them up instead of tearing them down.
This is a not so wordless Wednesday post.