Guest Blogger – Mara Ouimette – AMA student and mom
We are all gathered around the dinner table sharing details of our day. Ghislain asks me how Tai Chi and Karate class were. I offer up what we did in class and how I learned a new block but I am feeling a little uncoordinated and am having trouble getting it. Before I know it, Owen is on his feet demonstrating and Megan jumps up to join Owen in showing me the application. Well of course Ghislain gets up to offer his input as well and now I am up because I have to try to see if I can get it with all this new information. Success! Their pointers have helped but somehow Owen and Megan are on the ground grappling. Really? I rally the troops back to the table to finish dinner and thank everyone for their help. After dinner, as everyone does their part to clean up, it seems that the mood is still focused on karate. I can see where the kids’ banter is headed. Yup, once again they are on my kitchen floor grappling. I try in my sternest, motherly voice for them to stop horsing around and clean up but even I don’t think I am credible. So, I wait them out…….well, at least they remembered to take off their glasses!
Ghislain and I sometimes talk about what we might be doing if the kids hadn’t started karate. Sure they tried all the staples like soccer, swimming, skating etc. but nothing stuck like Karate did.
Almost four years ago I got pulled into a Tai Chi class and haven’t looked back. Two years ago I handed Ghislain a Gi and two months ago I put on a Gi for the first time. Where would we be without Martial Arts? Maybe we would have found something else to occupy our time or maybe not. I just have to see our kids hanging out with their Dojo friends and I know we made the right decision for them and for our family. Between what we have tried to instill in them combined with their Martial Arts training, they have become strong, disciplined, self-assured individuals. They never cease to impress me with some of the great choices they make in their everyday lives. I believe that because we share Martial Art with our kids, it has allowed us to connect with them on another level. They are much more apt to share information with us, making us closer. While many parents are worried about where their kids are, what they are doing and who they are doing it with, we are not.
Ghislain looks forward to the time spent in our basement Dojo training with the kids and I. The regular exercise has allowed him to better manage his Diabetes and lead by example.
As an adult, I thought I had a pretty good idea about who I was four years ago. Yet, Martial Arts has calmed me, allowed me to find my inner strength and challenged me in ways that I never would have envisioned. What we have gained as individuals, compliments us as we come together as a family.
In a broader sense, family is more than just about the four of us. When I think about the dojo, it is also about the other families who train and all together we make up a formidable family. And within that entity, it has been proven to me that family sticks together. I know that if we ever needed anything, there are a dozen families that would step up and vice versa.
So what does training as a family mean to us? It means that we are strong, confident, introspective and aware. But while we are four individuals, together we are ONE!
Mara Ouimette – AMA student and mom
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