Ava's Summer Camp Adventure
Ava (age 12) took a leap of faith last summer. Her friend, Fiona, was a blue belt in the Bodies in Motion martial arts program, and registered to attend the martial arts summer camp. When we extended the invitation to friends of students, Fiona leapt into action, inviting Ava to attend with her. What 12-year-old has the guts to jump right into the middle of a program she knows nothing about? This one, apparently.
Ava’s mother, Eva, has a sister who is a black belt in Taekwondo, so she had some foundation upon which to build her expectations for the camp. “I thought they would learn some basic moves; maybe practice them some, and probably some of the history of Taekwondo. Just gently being eased into it.”
That’s not quite how it worked.
Since the camp was designed primarily for existing students, they jumped into things right away. Warm-ups of varying types practicing every technique under the sun, learning complete poomse, along with a daunting list of self-defense maneuvers, not to mention character building homework, team-building exercises, and some pretty intense agility practice were all on the daily schedule. There was no “gently easing” about this camp.
Luckily though, “Ava is very energetic” (according to her mom), and impressively athletic. She definitely got thrown into the figurative deep end, but she didn’t have any trouble swimming. She jumped in with both feet and got to work learning the techniques, and even managed to memorize her whole poomse within five days. She was able to complete all the requirements that had been set for the existing students, and within a week, advanced to the rank of yellow stripe. The instructors for the camp were absolutely blown away by her quick learning and determination to succeed.
“Kids are bored in the summertime, and this gave her direction and a great outlet for expression during the summer which was really something she needed.” Eva says that the coolest thing for her about the martial arts summer camp was that, “Ava was SO EXCITED to find something she was passionate about!” Eva explained that when Ava got in the car to go home, she’d just go on and on about all the things she’d learned that day. Her younger sister had done martial arts when she was a toddler, but she didn’t seem too interested and Ava never seemed interested, so they never really thought about trying it out. Eva goes on to explain that everyone wants to find the thing they are passionate about, and to find that passion right away like Ava did is really amazing.
So what did Ava do with this new-found passion after the camp ended? Spend the rest of the summer loafing about?
Not a chance!
Ava decided to continue on with martial arts at Bodies in Motion. She is now a green stripe, and often helps her younger sister (who joined a few months after Ava) with poomse and a variety of techniques. Her mother explains, “Ava is very goal-driven, and this is such a good opportunity for her.” Our program has four clear requirements for advancing through the ranks; memorizing a detailed poomse, learning the segment curriculum, and two character-bulding homework assignments. It’s a perfect fit for Ava’s goal-driven nature.
Eva says the best part about watching Ava participate in martial arts is, quite simply, “Watching her love it so much. It’s great to see her work with and help her sister learn the poomse, and it’s great to see how driven she is to get to class. Even on days when schedules are crazy and it really doesn’t fit in, she’s the one to say, ‘No, I gotta get to class! I have to be there!’” The drive and discipline she is developing now will serve Ava well throughout the rest of her life.
When asked why they chose to continue on with Ava’s martial arts journey, Eva said, “It’s healthy, it’s a good way for her to move her body, she loves it, she can defend herself if she ever needs to, it builds discipline and focus, and helps her grow mentally, physically, and emotionally. As a parent, how can you say ‘no’ to something like that for your kid?”
Ava’s experience with the martial arts camp at Bodies in Motion didn’t just get her moving for a week; it helped her find a passion and a drive that will keep her moving for the rest of her life. And at Bodies in Motion, we believe that what igniting activity is all about.