As mothers, we know that in the future life may be tough for our children. For my two rather shy, sensitive, and cautious children, my chosen strategy to address this issue – and the one thing that I consider most important about my job – is to build resilience (both physical and emotional) in the most loving way I can.
Karate ticks many boxes in this rather complex goal. There are the obvious physical benefits – core strength, coordination, control, and flexibility, as well as the skills to protect themselves if the need ever arises. However, there are also other, less measurable benefits, such as the mental strength that comes from the focus, discipline, and impulse-control that is demanded of them in every class. I believe the teachings of mutual respect in training will also help them to develop into socially aware and respectful adults.
Their dad hopes more than anything, that karate will eventually boost the confidence they’re thirsty for. Although this is not a given, I can appreciate that the physical benefits, the exposure to competition, and the sense of achievement offered by the gradings (this is the reason they go to every class) can all serve to slowly build confidence. And confidence is another building block for resilience. On the flip side, there are also some hard knocks (as in life) where they are taught to get up and keep training or keep fighting.
It may not always be fun and games (although it often is), and it’s sometimes “too hard”, but for now they accept that karate is as important for them as going to school every day. And although I accept that things don’t always go according to our carefully thought-out plans, I remain hopeful that, while they’re not looking, they will learn to love the potential of their bodies; build meaningful relationships with their Senseis and peers; develop that much-needed resilience; and open their worlds to greater chances of success in the highly competitive and constrained world we live in.
ROBYN FERRAR | Mother of Aeryn (8) and Griffin Ferrar-Park (6)