“As a kid, I would look into the window of a karate school where I lived. I knew I had no chance to do it when I was young.”
So dreams do come true, and that life long dream for Jesus Dominguez has produced a black belt for himself, and his two children, Jesus Jr. and Lesly, are about to receive their black belts as well.
Jesus Jr. was only 5 and Lesly was 6 when they started with dad almost two years ago. “I have always liked martial arts and karate movies and I wanted the children to start early in life and learn to defend themselves at a young age.”
And the “family atmosphere” at Babin’s Karate for Kids made a big difference in the academy Jesus Sr. chose for his family. “I was treated good when I came here so I joined.”
BASIC #1: Parents make decisions for their children and often insist they do things they might not want to do.
The Dominguez family, like all others, have experienced struggle and disappointment on the road to black belt. Jesus explained: “My son was afraid of sparring at first. But I told him, ‘you need to go so you can learn what to do if you need to.’ I pushed him.”
And now here’s what Jesus Jr. has to say about sparring: “I like sparring the best because I’m really good at it now.” If he would have gotten his way, he would have been allowed to quit just when the most learning and personal growth was about to happen for him. Thank goodness his Dad was in charge and not Jesus Jr.
And Lesly has had disappointments at rank promotions; not breaking her boards has kept her from advancing in rank. “I ask Lesly to focus hard on breaking because I know she has the power. She just needs some confidence. It would be easy just to quit but that’s not the right way to go. I ask her to stay positive because I know she can do it. This discipline will help her all throughout her life” Dad says. With supportive parents and instructors, Lesly has learned the value of persistence and commitment. With those life skills in place, she will achieve her black belt and numerous other important milestones in life.
It’s not uncommon for children to be afraid of sparring. But it is a necessary and important part of martial arts training. Now, Lesly, too, loves sparring: “When I kick someone in the head at a tournament, I get two points. And I have learned how to block.”
BASIC #2: Listen to your instructors.
Jesus Sr. talks about his personal experiences in Taekwondo: “I like trying to do my form perfect, with power in every move. The instructors remind us to do it strong, and I remember at rank promotion that one student did not earn his new belt because his form looked weak. So I am always working on power.”
And as for Lesly, she continues to come to class with a positive attitude and she always trains hard. She’ll be ready for the September rank promotion. It will be a proud day when her black belt is tied around her.
I asked Jesus Sr. if there was anything unexpected that happened over the last two years. I was not surprised to hear him mention competition. “I love competition. Tournaments are fun. I feel so excited when I win. In the regional tournament in January 2010, I took 1st in sparring and 1st in forms. That was fun.” His enthusiasm for winning actually understates the value of tournament participation. For all students, we recommend our “in school” and regional events, and for those interested in the “total ATA experience, we encourage going to national events as well.
As instructors, we encourage tournament participation to develop the focus and confidence you need to perform in all situations, and the Dominguez family is following that advise. (also see Leslee Eamiguel-August success story)
BASIC #3: Use our life skill lessons at home to develop respect and courtesy.
I asked Jesus to talk about his children and what they have learned in Karate for Kids. He said things similar to other success stories, like “Lesly is more confident and disciplined. She is focused at school too.” And, “Jesus, Jr. is always a good helper. He used to avoid homework because he loves to play soccer, but now he does his homework first and he is even reading on his own.” And big sister, Lesly jumped in with this comment, “Yah, and he respects my stuff, too!” Do your children talk that way about each other?
But the most important comment Jesus Sr. made is one that echoes through every SUCCESS STORY in our newsletters: “When something goes wrong at home, we discuss the life skill we talk about in class and how it will apply to us at home.” The Dominguez family is proving that Karate for Kids life skill lessons are truly LIFE lessons.
Jesus Sr. himself credits Taekwondo with helping him grow mentally and physically, too: “I like it and feel more confident. I love the Saturday morning class (“High Intensity Training”). I have not missed one! I love to work hard and doing the WARRIOR XFIT moves.” (www.warriorxfit.com)
The Dominquez family uses a simple three-part formula for success at home and at the academy and that is why they were chosen Family of the Month for September 2010.