Valeria Tapia-One Great Surprise After Another! 6-2011 - 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

Valeria Tapia-One Great Surprise After Another! 6-2011

Valeria Tapia

Valeria Tapia’s story begins like so many others.  By age six, she had tried dance and other activities.  Nothing seemed to spark her interest until she learned that one of her school friends, Leah Millman, was coming to KARATE FOR KIDS.   Mom, Maria, and dad, Albert, brought her in and, from that day on it’s been one great surprise after another!

SURPRISE #1:  “She just wants to be here all the time!!”
Like many children, Valeria just wasn’t interested in other “traditional” kids activities.  “It was a pleasant surprise that she got so excited about KARATE FOR KIDS so fast”, Maria says, “She wants to be here all the time!”

SURPRISE #2:  “It’s so much more than an ‘activity.”
Albert and Maria quickly learned that KARATE FOR KIDS is so much more than just punching and kicking, so much more than other ‘activities.’    They said Valeria is more outspoken and outgoing now. Albert said, “For example, it’s a whole bunch of little things, like when we talk now, she really looks at us.   At a restaurant, she has the confidence to order her own food!” K4K comment: These things may seem small but actually they are really big!! If Valeria is too shy and afraid to address an adult in a friendly situation, such as ordering a meal, how can we expect her to say “NO” to an adult that may want to take advantage of her in a true self defense situation?

And what about Valeria’s behavior at home?   Maria said, “She is more confident at home and very helpful.  Recently, we remodeled the kitchen.  I was really impressed with how she wanted to help put down the floor, or paint the wall, or texture the ceiling.   She expressed a real desire to learn how to do it.   She is willing to try things she has never done before with no fear.” K4K comment: It’s exciting that Valeria is now willing to experience new things.  It would be very sad if she missed some great opportunities to do new things and make new friends if she was too shy to even try something.

SURPISE #3:  “Her little sister wants to be like her.”
Another really big surprise for mom and dad is that Valeria’s little sister, Breanna  emulates her big sisters cooperativeness, courtesy, and discipline.    Wow, and Breanna is not yet in KARATE FOR KIDS!!!  But she is still learning the lessons.  K4K comment: It’s no surprise that a younger sibling wants to be like the older child, what’s important here is that Valeria is a good roll model for Breanna instead of a bad one.

SURPRISE #4:  “Her focus at school is great.”
Maria says,   “Her teachers say Valeria is “very focused and helpful.” She gets her own work done and then she can be helpful to the teacher.    Recently her teacher joked with me, “I told the principal I don’t need a substitute when I’m sick.   Just send in an aide and put Valeria in charge.   I know I can give her a task, she’ll stay focused, get it done, and come back to her classroom when done.” K4K comment:  A valuable skill like focus developed early will help any child be successful with academics.

SURPRISE #5:  “Applying her Leadership lessons everywhere.”
And it’s clear from her behavior at school that Valeria takes her leadership classes seriously.   Maria says:  “Valeria is a regular helper with the special needs kids in her class.  Her teacher tells me how she gets her work done so she can be available to help others.  And she is very patient with them.” K4K comment: This is a perfect example of a student learning something in our leadership program and applying it to other areas of her life. It’s great for the special needs children to have a peer be so considerate, helpful and kind.  This is a great testimony of leading by example.

Albert said to me:  “Recently, the girls stayed overnight with some friends.  And when we went to pick them up, the dad said to me, “What do you do to them.   They are so polite.”

SURPRISE #6:  “An entirely different atmosphere.”
Albert told me that he has friends whose children are deeply involved in other more “traditional” activities.   “We often go to watch the kids play their games.   But the entire atmosphere is very different.  There is a huge difference.” Maria added, “Often those children doing other sports just end up playing the games.   There’s no real lessons attached.   And sometimes there can be a bad influence too.  We’ve seen people get mad and ot of control when their kids don’t do well and they argue with the referees, too.” And Albert added: “At KARATE FOR KIDS, there’s lots of encouragement and a more controlled atmosphere at tournaments.”

SURPRISE #7:  “More self control.”
Mom and dad proudly acknowledge that self control is Valeria’s greatest accomplishment in KARATE FOR KIDS.   Maria was really clear.  “There was a girl at school who just kept picking on her.  And I know that Valeria stood up for herself.   I know she had the self control eventually to  ignore this bully and to focus on something else.” K4K comment: We do not encourage confrontation but help the students develop strategies to deal with these exact situations.

“And I know from her tournament experience that when she says, ‘you win some, you lose some,” she really means it.    She uses to lose control.”

SURPRISE #8:  “Tournament competition”
She went to her first tournament “just to watch,” but after she learned it was more like her classes and not at all like a “cage fight,” she was ready to go.

Valeria has competed in six different events, earning two second places in forms, two first places in sparring, and two third places in weapons.    K4K comment: We always say, tournaments are a great place to apply the lessons we teach about self control, effort, respect, and focus and personal victory.   Tournament competition helps kids perform under pressure, think clearly in new situations, and develop confidence.

I asked Albert and Maria what they would to say to other families about getting started.

“I think there is so much more in the KARATE FOR KIDS program.    We started just to do an activity but that is such a small part of it. There are the social skills, leadership skills, and decision making.   And there is a lot that we learn as parents and we’re not even in class.  KARATE FOR KIDS influences all of us.”

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