WE HAVE A BLUE BELT

7 minutes and 14 seconds: I felt like I held my breath while my 4-year-old took her test to move onto her little champion blue belt. I was nervous for her, but she was full of smooth confident moves. Her Master was standing 6’6” inches tall over her little 3’8’’ self with a smile on his face as he asked her to do different stances and kicks and she was nailing each one. After she was honored with a blue belt, he sat her down and explained to her, “With this Blue Belt comes great responsibility. Blue Belt is considered advanced in little champions. I ask that you are a leader, so I need you to always be a leader. As a Blue Belt, you come to class focused and are ready to go. The other kids will now follow you. You now have more responsibilities in class and at home. You have to help your mom out more and do better with your schoolwork.” Then, she jumped up and hugged him and said, “Deal!”

This is the perfect example of it takes a village. Her Master is a huge part of her village! He truly cares and takes extra time out to show her daily.

My daughter is determined she will get her little champion black belt by the time she is 6 years old. (I pray she does.) She started TaeKwonDo at 3 years old. Her master told her that only 2 other children in his 26 years of teaching have ever received their little champion blackbelts. The children happen to be her Jr. Instructors, whom she adores. That day he gave her a goal. She doesn’t want to miss a class for any reason. My family was planning a trip to Disney World and she wanted to make sure it wasn’t going to be during the days she has class. She cried, expressing how important it was for her not to miss class. So, we made sure she wouldn’t miss a day. Disney World and the child was worried about TaeKwonDo. What a wonderful lesson in making a commitment and sticking to it, I couldn’t have planned a lesson like this.

I knew nothing about martial arts before fostering my daughter’s interest but I am truly thankful I trusted her to make a choice for herself so young.

Blue Belt

SHE GOT HER 1ST TROPHY AND IT’S 1ST PLACE

2 months ago, my daughter went to her instructor and asked could she be in the tournament. She overheard the older kids talking about it. He looked up at me not knowing how to respond. I smiled at him. He had a long talk with her about how she would have to learn a form and perform it in front of judges. He asked her if she was committed to doing it. That day I signed her up by her request and she was then taught a form. She practiced every day for 2 months. Her Master, the other instructors and her two favorite junior teachers also were big helps to her these 2 months prior to the tournament making sure she knew exactly what she needed to do and prepare.

The day came and we woke up early in the morning to head to some rec center downtown. When we arrived 2 of her instructors were outside greeting people and giving them directions to the registration desk. She walked up like a big girl and handed them her slip. After being signed in, we walked inside and got a front row seat on the bleachers right behind the ring she was going to be in. This was my first tournament I had ever been to, but it reminded me very much of the original Karate Kid. (I haven’t seen the remake but it’s on my to do list with my children).

We put on her uniform and she began to rehearse her form in the ring she would be preforming in, with her Jr. Instructors right there assisting her. Her whole school was there, and she was the baby. I didn’t realize so many adults took class and would be competing. Not in her division but still…I was overwhelmed. She was the most focused I had ever seen her and in her zone. She was comfortable and in her element. She wasn’t looking back at the bleachers looking for me, she was concentrating on her goal.

Tae Kwon Do is an individual sport but her whole school was there to support and encourage her and they really made sure she was ready. When they called all competitors to the floor to go over the rules she was right there listening. I was majorly impressed and thankful how her fellow schoolmates all kept an eye on her and with the group, so she didn’t get lost in between all the people there. I was proud, I knew she was exactly where she was supposed to be.

When it was time for the competition to start, 15 kids lined up in her ring. I started to feel panicked because they were all bigger than her and only one other boy was her size. It was supposed to be 5 years old and younger but NO WAY IN HELL WERE THESE KIDS 5. One boy was damn near 5 feet tall.  No, she wasn’t sparring but I was still nervous as can be. I was thankful they were white belts. I was trying my best to be calm. There was a whole conversation going on between the judges and some coaches. It took them 15 minutes to start. It felt like an hour and a half for me. My mom leaned over and said, “They are taking too long, she’s not going to be focused anymore.”  I looked at her sitting in first position perfectly posed and smiled. She was meditating. Her father and I had a conversation with her about envisioning her performance of her form in her head. We both told her if she could picture herself doing it perfectly, she would. I knew that’s what she was doing.

Finally, they started. One after one, I was starting to relax. These children were going up 2 at a time so they could copy each other. They may have been 9 years old, but they had no idea what they were doing. She was called up second to last. She marched front and center introduced herself, her style, her school name and then asked for permission to start. The judge smiled at her because none of the other competitors had done this. I was so thankful to her coaches. I knew right then she had it in the bag. She got in her zone and did her thang. The 3 judges all gave her a 9.9. score. Her Master was beaming and her whole school and parents erupted with cheers. I was so thankful and proud I couldn’t even feel myself breathing. I looked over and saw tears flowing down my mother’s face. She sat back down with such grace. She did not gloat as the other child went. I don’t even know if she understood what happened. When they called her back up with 2 other children, she stood there at attention. I couldn’t see her face just the back of her, but she was holding so still. The other children were handed their trophy’s and she was given hers last. That’s when we saw excitement as she jumped up and down. Her coach picked her up and gave her a big hug and brought her over to us so we could all take pictures. 1st PLACE! MY LITTLE BABY TOOK 1st PLACE! She held onto her trophy all the way home. I am shocked she didn’t sleep with it! I love the fact she knows her family is proud of her, but I am elated she is proud of herself.

I don’t know if I have ever been so excited in my life. April 20, 2019 will always be special day in my house. It’s the day my little ninja won her first trophy!

JUST LIKE THAT I HAVE A LIL CHAMPIONS GREEN BELT

I’m amazed and proud my daughter is so committed at the tender age of 4 years old. Just a month shy of her 1-year anniversary of taking Tae Kwon Do, she took her green belt test. I was really worried because we moved after her first 2 months of taking class and she had to start at a new dojo with new masters. She earned 2 white belts with numerous stripes, but I was afraid she was going to be discouraged. My fears were not projected onto her because she felt none of the pressure that I did for her. (Again, my anxiety is not hers. Thank God.) Her Tia Jacelyn bought her a belt rack for her birthday and she loves it. She looks at it daily and it’s helping her count down the time to her black belt! When she is in her room playing, it is a reminder of her goals.

4 days a week my daughter is at Tae Kwon Do on time, dressed, on the mat in first position, focused and ready to start class. Often, she is the only kid who shows up for her class and she has learned to take advantage of the one on one time with her master. To my surprise she said to him, “I’m ready. I know I can pass my green belt test”. He allowed her to do it. It took 7 LONG minutes. She was focused and determined though the whole test. I don’t know if I have ever been so nervous and proud at the same time. The look on her face when he said, “Good job,” was everything! She turned around and looked at me with the biggest smile when he walked away to get the green belt. Then she turned back around and tried to look focused, but she was smiling so hard her Master couldn’t help but to smile back.

I always tell her, “Mommy is proud of you baby but it’s more important for you to be proud of yourself.” At that moment, I could see it. She was super proud of herself! After he put the green belt on her he handed her the yellow belt and said, “Take this to your mom.” I got a chance to hug and kiss her and say, “Good job.”  It was only a second before she was running back on the mat to continue class. It was only a few seconds but those seconds, I will remember forever. She teaches me so much about life.

This test was a big deal! It wasn’t scheduled but she took control in the direction of her goals. Her Master also believed in her enough to follow her direction. That’s trust and the fact that he believes in her is everything. It was more confirmation for me that our move was right. Prior, she was in a class with 30 other children, so she wasn’t getting the 1 on 1 time with a master I was paying $150 a month for. We lucked up and found the right school this time.

I truly believe this world would be a marvelous place if everyone knew how powerful they really are. For my child, Tae Kwon Do helps her connect with her power. I hope you all help your children find an interest that helps them connect with their power.

MOMMY IS PROUD OF YOU SCOOTCHA. KEEP LIVING YOUR DREAMS!

BALLERINA YESTERDAY ~ NINJA WARRIOR TODAY!

My daughter told me right before her 3rd birthday that she wanted to be a ballerina. I explained to her to be a ballerina, you will have to train for many years and put in a lot of hard work. She was convinced she was ready. SO, I did exactly what many new moms do. I researched and found the most distinguished dance company in our neighborhood. It had to be a Royal Dance Academy because if nothing else came from her dance experience, and if she stuck with it, she would then be able to teach. (Yes, I watched Fame one too many times) By all means, everything should be about setting up her future and giving her life skills to survive. LOL. I went out and bought every dance uniform approved by her school. She also took tap and there is nothing cuter than a 3-year-old in shiny tap shoes with big bows!

Long story short, 3 months into the first semester of ballet and tap, she looked at me one Saturday on the way to class and said “Mom, I want to take Tae Kwon Do!” “Oh really,” I said. “Okay, I will look into it.” She said, “No, now. I don’t want to do ballet anymore.” My heart sank! All the money I spent on her ballet future and she doesn’t wanna follow through. I looked back at her in the car seat and busted out laughing. I explained to her calmly that we made a commitment for the semester, so she would finish what she started. She agreed. That was that, it was that simple. Every Saturday morning, I woke her up, got her dressed and she did her best in class until the semester was over. Ballet and tap were short lived, but she learned the lesson that we don’t quit or give up.

BabyJohnson2It also taught me a lesson. Watching her in ballet, she was bored. She picked up the steps quickly and they did the same thing over and over to get the kids ready for a recital. Curriculum which is one size fits all is never gonna work for her. I wonder where she got that from (in my sarcastic voice). She needs to stay challenged with things that are faster paced and if I can’t get her lessons that move with her pace, we must move on. ALSO, SAVE MY MONEY FOR MORE IMPORTANT THINGS!! Best part is, I have lots of pictures and videos for memories. Life is about moments, right?  And when it’s over, make sure you have great memories.

Coming Up:

She loves Tae Kwon Do and the fact that it’s challenging. The kids are taught new moves every week and she is rewarded, not just with belts but stripes on her belt when she has mastered what has been taught. Yes, colored electrical tape on her belt is her motivation. She is now a yellow belt and today she tells the story that she will become a Master one day. Let’s see how long this last. Tae Kwon Do stories coming soon.