Just before Christmas, Emma's best friend L asked her if she'd be interested in joining an evening class that L had recently joined. After some confusion on meeting nights and times, we all traipsed out to a local synagogue at 8 p.m. on a Thursday evening. The instructor wasn't expecting us, which means we just sat and watched that evening, since he needed a liability form signed before allowing Emma to participate. The class is Children's Quanfa-Kempo. It was developed by the instructor, and is drawn from Quanfa Gongfu, Kempo Karate, Modern Arnis, and the Worden Defense System. That last one was what got Emma excited --the spy in her was thrilled that she was going to be taught elements of the same system used to train the U.S. Special Forces.
Rob and I were really impressed with the instructor, and Emma was just itching to join in. The following Monday she got her chance, and it is now the one thing in her week that she looks forward to more than anything else. Who knew?
I'm particularly happy about this because as a tween, I know that her natural "play" exercise will decrease --while climbing trees will probably still interest her for many years yet, running around the yard and "pretending" is going to wear off in a few years. I really wanted her to find a form of exercise that she would love, and therefore want to incorporate into her life, hopefully for a long, long, time.
Over the years, we've signed her up for dance classes, tumbling classes, gymnastic classes --all of them a total fail. She's about as unflexible as a kid can be (taking after her dad in this way --until my little hip problem I was the person who could drop into the splits without any stretching), and she's not terribly naturally elegant. She swims in the summer, but she hates team sports. But this class works for her --from the stretching in the beginning, the series of leg-numbing wall kicks in the middle, the stances and choreography, and all the way to the falls that roll back to a standing position. She has found something she really seems to love, and I'm so happy about that. Even though it does mean driving a half hour back into town twice a week, and finding something to do during her 1 & 1/2 hour class.
Still, the possibility of making exercise fun, and a life-long pursuit for her? Totally worth it.