When I was 18, I was followed out of a Tim Horton’s by a strange man who looked like he wanted to do me no good. Frightened, I went back into the Tim’s and sat for a while until he left, and I was certain that he wasn’t just waiting around the corner for me. (Well, I couldn’t be certain of anything, but had to take a chance on it.) I always thought that one day, I would like to take a martial arts self-defense course, but circumstances of health prevented me from doing so. Well then, one day if I have children, especially a daughter, I will make sure that they have a chance to do so, I thought.
When our daughter was four, we enrolled her in a kids’ introductory tae-kwon do course. She was always a very timid child (and wouldn’t get her sense of self-c0nfidence and boldness until after the age of five). She was not keen on sports, especially ones that involved screaming and physical aggression. She cried on her first day. She tolerated her tae-kwon do class for the next two years, but we never felt that her heart was in it, and so we took her out for a break.
Fast-forward to an eight-year-old, confident girl. Now taking karate, she’s in a large class with about 60 other kids of various ages. The auditorium is huge, and their little cries echo throughout the building as they slash the air with their hands and feet. Watching from the track above, I’m amazed by the change in my Girl. Her movements are steady and assured. And then, I notice something that makes me smile.
She delivers a swift, solid kick, just as demonstrated by the teacher. It’s not just any kick—it’s a great kick. There’s no doubt or fear in her movement now. It might not be strong enough to fell a weirdo following her out of a Tim’s—yet. But I know that she’ll get there soon enough.
That day, she comes home and asks us if we’d like to see what she did in class. She proceeds to demonstrate her movements, all the while mumbling to herself in concentration. She’s being assertive and strong, and she’s enjoying it.
She’ll be all right in this world.