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The girl who didn’t want to do karate And the mom who did

Updated: Feb 12, 2021

By Rochelle Brenner

Amaris didn’t want to do karate.

Even after she got her white belt, the 10-year-old wasn’t all that enthusiastic.

She had a vision in her head of Action Karate being more “Action-y.”

“I wasn’t really that interested,” she admitted. “The workout, the fitness, is really hard for me. I always sweat doing it though. I do not enjoy the sweat.”

It was three months into a pandemic and Amaris’ parents wanted her and her little brother Ezra, 6, to get some exercise and develop a routine.

Their first three months of training were completely on Zoom and Amaris realized more Action-y was more challenging.

“About the 2nd or 3rd day of karate ... it was complicated. It’s hard figuring out the combinations. It was way harder and I was a white belt,” Amaris said. She stayed on Zoom for extra help after class to go through the combination: jab cross turn roundhouse, a tricky move that requires the student to look away from the camera during the kick.

But Mr. Tim saw the potential in her willingness to stay on and learn the move.

“Something you thought was too hard to do, you were able to overcome the challenge,” he told her.

That early lesson stuck and after finally meeting her instructors in-person at an outdoor class, Amaris’ attitude changed.

“At first there was a lot of resistance. After we were able to have classes in person … we got a lot less resistance and a lot more persistence. They’ll ask me or their dad and we will come and help them and they’re not afraid of things that are challenging for them,” Jamiella said.

All that helping her kids on Zoom ignited more interest for Jamiella to take the step to become a martial arts family. Their dad doesn’t actively train, but he has martial arts chops from prior years of training.

“There was a little bit of Mama guilt going on. I was helping them figure out everything on Zoom and they were looking at me: ‘We’re doing this. Why aren’t you?’ I thought it would be a good thing for us to be able to talk about and share around the dinner table, talk about the new move we learned or kata we’re learning so we can feel we’re in this together.”

For the California native, training during the winter months has given her a boost of energy.

“The lack of sunlight, cold winter is really the time I get why animals hibernate. Karate helps me get out of that mode and feel active and engaged and warm. It’s always the case where I’m like I’ve got to get on my gi, in the middle of class, I’m like I’m so glad to be here.”

She was also confident in how the instructors used technology to teach. Working in education, she saw teachers struggle in workshops on technology but was inspired by the way Action instructors managed the challenge.

Both mom and daughter have good advice for anyone who is considering training whether on Zoom or in-person.

“I would tell them hard work is important and helps you stay healthy and it’s really good for your body. Nothing goes wrong,” Amaris said.

“Anyone who has done this and endured has been grateful for what it taught them about themselves and how to value hard work and persistence,” Jamiella said.

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