Why I am happy my kids are in Karate


I remember about 2 or 3 years ago I conducted a job interview with a young adult who was just out of college. Typically interviews with recent grads are awkward, nervous affairs. I believe most recent grads would rather face a firing squad then their first rounds of job interviews. However, this candidate was different. He was confident, made great eye contact, and simply exuded confidence.

We hired him even though the position that was open was for a more intermmediate developer.

Through later discussions it became clear that his confidence came from his training as a brown belt in Karate. I was somewhat skeptical until today. Afterall, how can a full contact sport make you more confident in an interview room?

Today we had our local tournament for our Karate School called a Shiai. It is a great opportunity for people who do not normally compete on the tournament teams to have some fun and test their skills in a non threatening manner. The judges, observers, etc are all friends and parents from the school. 

However, it is still a fairly intense experience. I competed this year as an adult as well. We started our day early, and were ready to compete. Adults started first, and then Cole's division started shortly thereafter. 



The first competition I competed in was forms, or kata. I placed first in my division, which earned me a sword. Now, to be fair there were only 3 of us in the division but I wasn't complaining about the sword prize! The sword is a ninja sword, complete with cloth sheath. 

It did not take long for somebody to clue in that I needed the rest of the ninja outfit.  Noel and I went into the men's room to perfect the T-Shirt Ninja look. 

Second event for adults was sparring..... let's move on. 

Third event for adults was the Iron Man Challenge. You had to break 1, 2 or 3 boards, then drag a heavy bag, and finally do an agility drill (if you're familiar with windsprints, picture that). The first adult up was Noel, and he chose 3 boards and quite quickly dispatched them. Of course after that I had to go for 3 as well. I surprised myself just a little bit. I do feel a bit sorry for the poor pencils that were innocent bystanders. 

I was very impressed that a few parents from the audience came and participated - everyone that tried was able to break the 3 boards cleanly after a little bit of instruction. Next up? Ice perhaps a-la-karate kid part 2?

I placed 2nd overall with 2nd place in both the heavy bag-drag and agility test. I can see several prospective readers thinking AGILITY TEST? Yes, that's right. 

I missed most of Cole's competition because I was competing at the same time, but he did very well with his forms and sparring. Cole has been to 3 other Shiai's and new the drill - his competition pool was also very full, the older the kids go the less competition there is for them. 

Next up was Thomas and the little guy blew me away. Thomas is a kid who was diagnosed with gross motor delay and has struggled to keep up with his peers in physical learning. I have watched him in class or practice at home and he does pretty good. However, you put him out there in front of judges and an audience and he performs!

The same was true with Arthur and Haley. Haley is always good, but they both put on a little extra ritz for the judges and it paid off for them. The total tally of 6 firsts and 7 seconds across 17 events shows how hard our family came to compete. 

Now let me take you back to my job interview story.

Picture a 7 - 12 year old, standing up in front of a panel of 5 judges, 20-30 people looking cheering you on. The judges will then give you a score out of 10 - and they will be looking very closely at how you do your routine. Now picture that same child 10-15 years later on a job interview with one, maybe two people interviewing and asking questions.

I can picture the child in that scenario thinking "this is easy there's only two of them this time!"

Our Karate school's motto is "Life skills through karate" - at first it sounded a bit like marketing fluff - really? Life skills? Now I don't doubt it.

If you don't believe me, watch this, and tell me if you think this child is going to have confidence issues in the future:

"Life Skills" indeed. 


Posted via email from David Billson's Posterous