Posted: March 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

My two daughters are currently in Tae Kwon Do. It’s an amazing thing to watch; both of them are so small and so young, and they are both junior black belts. The test for black belt is this weekend.

My younger daughter is testing this weekend–her instructors are impressed by the level of of focus and intensity she brings when she gets out on the floor. As I watched class this evening, another parent recognized her as belonging to me and told me about last Saturday. I don’t go to the Saturday classes; that is something the kids do with their mother. But Saturdays are the black belt classes, and that’s when the girls go to prepare themselves for the upcoming test. This last Saturday, my younger daughter was asked to perform her form while the rest of the black belts sat and watched. The parent that told me this described her performance as beautiful and amazing.

And my younger daughter is that. She is beautiful, and amazing. Not quite seven yet, she is precocious and displays a sense of poise and self assuredness that is rare and captivating in someone her age.

My older daughter is also talented, and beautiful, but will not be testing this weekend. Her instructors reference her lack of focus and intensity as the reason, and the girls’ mother asked me to work with her last weekend.

I took Tae Kwon Do, but only briefly. It’s… not for me. I have an accumulated ten years of martial arts experience, and I just don’t fit well with the school or the style. But there are still principles in martial arts that are universal. There are philosophies and attitudes that are not unique to any one dojo or discipline. So while I could only provide limited assistance in many areas my daughters have to work in, there were a few things I could do.

So we talked. This weekend we learned meditiation, and we learned focus. We learned about the passion of martial arts. There is a thrill that fills the soul when executing a technique properly, a kind of fire that burns. Oh, yes, fire. We talked a lot about fire. We talked about how it roars within you, and how you want that fire burning in you all the time. This weekend, I taught her how to show me fire.

This week, my older daughter put everything she had into her work in Tae Kwon Do. She put her soul into proving to the instructors that she was ready, and she showed them the fire. Ultimately, it was not meant to be. At the end of class, I was pulled into the instructors office and we discussed why my older daughter wasn’t testing this time around. It felt almost like a lecture, and I could see the sadness start to seep into my daughter’s face.

But when that lecture was over, I pulled her aside. I didn’t care if they didn’t let her test this time around. I didn’t care about the lecture. What I cared about was that this week, my daughter became a martial artist. She found the fire within her, and she found the courage to fight against impossible odds. She showed the world that she was ready, even if the world wasn’t quite ready to hear it yet. For this, there is no limit to the pride I have for my daughter.

For both of them.


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