By Holly Spencer Fuqua
I was immediately struck by the respect, focus and strength the children from this martial arts school displayed.
I remember thinking that if I ever had a daughter, I would enroll her in martial arts.
Years later, God blessed me with Kennedy. Now 8, she was 4 when I drove past the brand new Tiger Kim’s Taekwondo School in the Palomar area of Lexington and checked it out.
Kennedy became one of the first students to enroll.
Kennedy not only learned martial arts, she picked up some Korean from Grandmaster Kim and grew more confident.
Soon after she joined the academy, I saw a sign in the lobby inviting parents to join the children for class with a special rate.
I joined because it would help my daughter if I learned the forms so we could practice at home together, and it would give me the opportunity to share in this evening activity with her.
Little did I know that starting Taekwondo classes would change my life in such positive ways.
I discovered so much more about myself and Taekwondo on this journey.
I am grateful for the techniques I have learned to protect myself and my family.
With new-found physical confidence, I walk with my head high and my shoulders back as I portray myself to others as a strong, confident and powerful woman.
And that I am!
And now, believe it or not, my daughter and I both have our black belts.
Taekwondo has changed Kennedy, too.
She has become more confident and focused, and gained lots of special friends at Taekwondo.
It has been incredible to meet so many wonderful families that have become a part of my family. These relationships can last a lifetime.
I love that we learn from each other, no matter our age, gender or ethnicity.
We all have something to teach each other and that is how life should be.
Taekwondo competitions also have taught me the importance of humility. One time, I did not even place in the competition.
This experience reminded me that sometimes we face challenges that are more difficult than we imagined.
I want my children to remember that we cannot always win at everything in life, but we can do our best and never give up.
This lesson is invaluable and one that I will continue to remind my children of every day. We will experience disappointment and loss. It is not always about winning.
Each and every kid who competes is a winner in my book.
Now Kennedy is working on her Black Belt test and says her goal is to be a Black Belt instructor.
She wants to take Taekwondo for the rest of her life and help other kids learn to believe in themselves, too.
I am also not the same person I was three years ago. I am stronger, more confident, more aware of my surroundings and in better shape.
Not only has Taekwondo changed me personally, it has changed my family as a whole.