My oldest son has been in Karate for over six years. He has ADHD, SPD, OCD which also includes battles with depression and high anxiety disorders. I was looking for something that would help him in all these areas and also something he would enjoy! I decided to give Karate a try. We signed him up at Bobby Lawrence Karate in Centerville. I liked what kind, good, role models/ instructors they had.
The journey has not been easy for my son over the past six years. They really expect you to do your best and they hold the students accountable. The 1st rule of karate is to obey your parents, 2nd rule is keep your room clean. When they test for belt promotion a form is sent home with each student that has to be signed by both the parent and the teacher at school. If they do not have good marks on their forms the instructor will meet with them and discuss why. At times the student will have to wait to promote until they can improve their marks. My son has had this happen to him a time or two. I felt stressed and worried for him because of all his special needs it wasn't fair to hold him up to that standard. What I learned was that my son could do it and he worked harder so that he could promote the next time.
Last week I had one of the best learning experiences of all. My son was invited to belt promote for a Bambu Belt which is 2 belts away from a Black Belt. He has been waiting for this opportunity for over a year. Many of his peers and friends who have trained with him all these years have passed him and gone forward to receive their Bambu Belts and some even their Black Belts. I was worried and concerned that it would be too much for him with all his needs and his muscle weakness. The instructors had to encourage me that he is ready. So I went ahead and signed him up.
The test cost quite a bit of money and he was also required to attend Bambu Boot Camp where they would train for the test. There are 4 parts to the test. They had to write an essay, take a written test, endurance test (which was very hard), and know his Katas. On test day I was a wreck! I felt that there was no way he could pass the endurance test with all the muscle weakness and health issues he has been facing. He wanted to try and he wasn't going to give up. As he was doing the endurance part of the test tears filled my eyes as I watched him do 75 squats and his whole body was trembling. He didn't stop or give up! I saw other parents eyes fill with tears as they too watched my son continue on, pushing his body to its max as he completed 25 pushups, 50 bridges, and 50 V ups! Everyone in that room could see how much harder it was for my son than the rest of the kids. He was shaking and trembling and pushing on. His instructors started calling out to him with words of encouragement and so did the other students as they finished and then respectfully watched him struggle to finish last.
One of my proudest moments as a mom was watching him being awarded his Bambu Belt! Watch all his peers and instructors come up and tell him how amazing he is! I learned that he CAN do hard things! I need to realize that he does struggle more than some children but when he wants it bad enough he can do it. I can't keep dictating his limitations I need to let him guide me to his strengths.
I am grateful for karate and for what it has taught all 3 of my boys and especially my oldest son who has had to work harder than the rest. When I asked him what motivated him the most? He replied Ethan did. Ethan is a Down syndrome boy who just got his Black Belt last year and Ashton has trained with him. Here is a clip of Ethan on the news talking about his black belt. It makes me cry every time I watch it. It fills me with so much hope for the future and knowing that my son too can do hard things and will get his Black Belt.
Ethan who has Down Syndrome loves Bobby Lawrence Karate he got his Black Belt! Watch this clip and see what an amazing kid he is!http://www.abc4.com/mediacenter/local.aspx?videoid=3502682