YOUR STORY: Katherine A. Foss
Nearly four years ago, I did a trial class at the karate dojo where my daughter was enrolled. As a
mid-30-something mom, I felt a bit out of place. My crisp, oxy-white gi contrasted with the casual clothes of the onlooking parents. I tried not to let their gaze deter me from at least giving the experience a go. Crowded in the tiny corner practice room, the instructor led me through bows, punches, kicks and turning. In this moment, ungraceful me forgot my awkward movements and uniform insecurity as I focused on what I needed to do, how I could succeed.
I kept going to class. After three or four months, I graduated to gold belt and the intermediate class. With my progress and time came new challenges and new friends. My youngest started the kinder-karate class soon after.
We have competed in tournaments together, lining up in our gis to represent the school and then later sharing photo ops of our medals and trophies (some participation). The kids have attended parents’ night out at the karate school, special club events that covered everything from handling bullies to Nerf wars and birthday parties in the dojo with their friends.
At Bill Taylor’s Bushido School of Karate, my daughters and I have found our place and our people. I have watched my girls grow strong in an environment that nurtures and values hard work. They have learned to trust themselves, that they have strength, and are capable and independent. We have competed together in tournaments, practiced katas (routines for each level) and cheered each other on in exams, knowing too well the nervous excitement of a belt exam.
Last spring, I proudly witnessed my 10-year-old earn her black belt after four-and-a-half years of hard work. She completed the four-part exam of service hours, a thoughtful essay, the fitness test and finally, the federation exam.
Karate brings us together and gives us shared experiences. As I am about to test for my black belt, I owe so much to the instructors and that initial experience along with the years since. Karate has given me community, focus, discipline and an opportunity to connect with people across age and occupation, including my children.