/** Increase PHP memory limit */ define( 'WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '256M' ); Ireland Fleck Sept 2011 - Mesa Karate, Mesa Martial Arts, Gilbert Karate, Gilbert Martial Arts for Kids and Adults - Mesa Karate, Mesa Martial Arts, Gilbert Karate, Gilbert Martial Arts for Kids and Adults

Ireland Fleck Sept 2011

For the last four years, Ireland Fleck has been involved in only one activity—our KARATE FOR KIDS program.

“We had been hearing from her doctors and teachers that her coordination was behind,” Carla Fleck, Ireland’s mother said. “Ireland had expressed an interest in karate and it seemed like it would help with coordination.  So we thought we’d try it.”

I don’t make any uneducated decisions when it comes to my children,” Carla explained. “So we went to two other karate schools besides here.  Some of them had nicer, newer facilities but we felt the most comfortable here, because of the way Mr. Babin treated us.  At the other schools, the treatment was too social.   Mr. Babin was not about sales.  He was about finding out what we wanted for Ireland.  The other karate schools gave me the feeling of ‘gymboree,’ like it was just some fun activity.  We were looking for something more serious.”

Ireland started in the Tiny Program at age 4 and quickly developed a drive to achieve.  She even became a little more competitive than her parents expected.  Although she has seen many kids advance quicker than herself, she has never wavered in her effort.  And she takes full responsibility for her own progress, according to her Dad.  K4K comment:    Ireland was lacking in physical coordination, but she never lacked in her understanding about working hard, always doing her best, and learning her safety and life skill lessons.  This is because her parents supported every aspect of her training.  They are not focused on the other students, just their daughter and what she needs to do to succeed.

Ireland’s good discipline is connected to the Tiny Tiger homework sheet.   Her mom says, “Ireland would pick the specific goal she was working on and she would remind us what it was.   Sometimes she would take 2-3 weeks to get it done, and we were really impressed with her sense of responsibility.”   K4K comment:     Using the homework sheets properly will build confidence and a sense of pride in the children.  Giving them small, specific goals to accomplish each week creates the ability to accomplish bigger, more life-changing goals in the future, such as academic goals.


“In leadership, most of the kids were older and of higher rank.  She was so proud, and in her very first class, she was raising her hand to answer questions.  And she was very good with the hand shake drill and introducing herself and speaking loudly.” Her mother said.  Dad adds: “Leadership creates confidence in her, and I see that.”

Mom mentions another important part of the LEADERSHIP PROGRAM:  “In leadership, the pace of instruction is quicker than in regular class.  It was a barrage of info and she really had to focus because she knew she was not going to get the instructions 2-3 times.   It was a higher expectation.”  K4K comment:    Students need to recognize that you don’t always succeed the first time.  That’s OK, it’s important to learn to keep trying and not give up if something doesn’t fall into place right away.

Dad says, “As a parent you want your child always to succeed.  It’s actually more difficult on the parent to see a failure, and parents are always quick to be more critical of other children.”

And mom explains probably one of the biggest and most important truths of parenting:  “We tell her if you did not get your form perfect this time, that’s ok.  You can’t worry about other kids; this is not a team sport.  It’s about you making yourself better.  We (ourselves) need to be careful that we don’t point out the faults of other kids or make comments about other children because she hears everything we say.    It is not up to us to question what other kids are doing or why someone else got a belt and Ireland did not.  That makes no sense when we are telling her to focus on herself and make herself better.  We understand that Mrs. Babin has chosen a path for Ireland, just like she has done so for the other students in the class.”  K4K comment:   Each student has his own challenges and gifts.  It’s the responsibility of the instructor to recognize this and create a plan for each child to succeed.  What is right and appropriate for one child many not be the same for another.  So when parents are observing “inconsistencies”, it’s actually the instructor doing her job!


Mom and Dad agree here emphatically: “Getting her recommended black belt after receiving a no change two months earlier has been her biggest accomplishment.  She wanted it and worked hard outside of class as well to get it.  It’s a big stepping stone to a future milestone.”  K4K comment:  The students are encouraged to do strength-developing drills at home for better kicking ability (takes about 10 minutes) and Ireland did just that.  It is probably the one thing that gave her the confidence to face the challenge of board breaking.

Dad says:  “A No Change is a disappointment that nobody wants a kid to go through, but it’s also what life is about.   The No Change caused her more pain than she has ever been through, but it is reality.  And because of her heart condition, she has been poked and prodded through many medical procedures.  We thought that was tough, but the No Change was tougher.”

Carla added:  “Despite this stress and disappointment of not breaking or of watching someone else get a belt when she did not, she has never once said she wanted to quit.”

K4K comment:  Ireland’s success in Karate for Kids is directly related to her parents support.  She has not had an easy time moving through the ranks, but her parents never gave up on her, instilled a strong work ethic in her, and have trusted her instructors.  They have relied on her instructors’ experience and foresight to guide Ireland to be her best possible self: and of course, earn her black belt.


 Shannon:   “You have to feel comfortable with what you’re getting for your kids.   Karate for Kids is not just an activity.  It is a life-changing event.    It is something that the kids live every day because there is a lot of great things that you learn here.  And I advise “karate parents” to listen to the instructors.  Be open, have a conversation.  Every kid has to have his own path.”

 Carla:  “Once she gets her black belt, she has that forever!  But going to dance, when she gets older, doesn’t mean she is a dancer.   And being a girl, I tell her that bad people sometimes think girls are a good target.  But I want her to feel safe.   I don’t think this is an activity where you drop your kid off and leave.  You need to reinforce what they are learning here.   It is not about the moves.  It is about what they are learning—values—and you need to reinforce that at home.”


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