My 12 year old son, Logan, is in a summer camp run by his karate dojo, Authentic Martial Arts in Largo, FL. Towards the end of the day, they put on their gear and have a 45 minute karate class. This is a great way to help the kids focus and wind down after a day at the park or swimming or whatever outing they had that day. We have had Logan enrolled for 4 years now and it has transformed his life. He now has his Junior Black Belt and it has taken lots of practice and time to achieve this goal. In addition to the physical requirements, the kids also have “Character Booklets” that they must read and do activities in as part of the requirements for their belt promotions. Our dojo has always promoted the character development as a part of the karate program.
Last week, I picked Logan up early so he was going to miss out on the afternoon karate lesson. One of the Senseis, Shawn, asked us to wait and he ran and got a board for Logan to break. He knew Logan would not want to miss out on the board breaking session they were going to have that afternoon. Logan dropped his backpack and lunch box and immediately went into his karate stance and punched the board in half. Shawn gave him his board to take home and Logan left grinning with his board pieces in hand. That thoughtful gesture by Shawn really showed Logan he was important and a part of the group. Sensei Shawn grew up in our dojo and is a fine example of the character being nurtured at Authentic Martial Arts.
As we drove home, I asked Logan if I could have his board. Since this was not his first broken board, he freely offered it to me. I used it as a canvas for my painting “Breaking Boards, Building Character”. I am so proud of Logan and the fine young man he is growing up to be. They say it takes a village to raise a child. In our case, it’s a village that includes a dojo.