John ChristieWhen asked if I would like to write a blog for the newsletter, I decided to use the opportunity as a shout out to all the parents who drive their kids to training every week and watch from the back of the class. I was one of you.

My name is John Christie and I am the branch instructor at Balmoral. These days I am very fortunate and proud to have as part of my instructor team, my son Jack and daughter Emma. As a family we enjoy training together and pushing one another to do better. We are bonded by our genuine love of Taekwondo and can appreciate the journey that each of us has taken to successfully become 1st dan black belts. Now in our role as instructors we feel very privileged and honoured for the opportunity to give back to the organisation that we have gained so much from.

Our involvement with Pacific International Taekwondo (PITKD) started about twelve years ago when my son Jack joined the Dutton Park branch. Emma joined Jack a few years later and I was still sitting and the back of the class just watching. Often I would find myself thinking about my own fitness and well-being and wished I had more time to do something for myself. I was working 6 days a week but always made sure I was free to take the kids to training and watch. The solution was staring at me in the face but I continued to make up excuses which would keep me a spectator for a little while longer. Trust me there is nothing you have come up with that I hadn’t already thought about. I’m too old to start. I’m not fit enough or flexible enough. There aren’t any other adults my age, I would look stupid. What’s with all that yelling they do, I couldn’t do that. I would embarrass my kids and they wouldn’t want to keep going, etc. etc. My list was extensive, I had taken years to perfect it.

Finally one night at the end of training I discussed the possibility of trying it out with then instructor Mark, now senior instructor. He was very encouraging and the following week I turned up with the kids for my first try out. At this stage I was still looking at PITKD as sort of a fitness session that I could do while I waited for my kids to learn taekwondo. Once I got over my initial self-conscious and accepted that I was in fact a part of the class, my attitude changed. I enjoyed learning the stances, patterns and drills that I had seen my children do over the years. I realised that I was learning Taekwondo while getting fitter and healthier at the same time. I loved the challenges of learning new techniques and seeing improvements in my performance as a martial artist. I loved the self-discipline, self-control and continuous self-correction it forces you to do to make to improve. Not long after I joined, some other parents also joined. It seems I wasn’t the only one holding back, not wanting to be the first one. Soon we had several families all training together and the atmosphere was great.  Nearly all of those families are still training today, compared to the large number of kids who start and give up for whatever reason.

So what about my children, were they embarrassed and want to quit?

Well yes and no. They were a little embarrassed at first but loved having me in the class. This was something we truly shared. Imagine if you could go and play in your kid’s soccer team and share in the glory. We could train together and practice at home together. They would help me learn my patterns and loved the fact I was a lower belt level than them. The other positive thing was that from the day I joined they knew they would be going to training twice a week. Kid’s enthusiasm sometimes runs hot and cold and sometimes we let them give in way too easy. When I started training the option of quitting was taken off the table and both Jack and Emma have often thanked me since. If you had of told me that one day I would go on to become a black belt and then instructor I would have laughed at you. I hope to be still training with Jack and Emma for many more years to come.

Things to think about while you’re sitting down:                                                                             Time flies, get up now and join in. Don’t waste years like I did thinking about it.Don’t worry about looking silly. You look sillier sitting down.

Everyone starts as a beginner, we have all been there.

You are not too old, unfit, overweight or inflexible, but tomorrow you might be.

Your children will love you being part of the class.

Do something for yourself and feel better in body and mind.