Sara and Karate

First things first…as you’ll see, this photo is not of me in a karate suit as requested (sorry, Editors). This is because, as a 44 year-old woman dipping my toe into the waters of karate alongside my eleven year old son, some teenage boys and one dad, this photo represents what was on my mind in those first few sessions. Clothing. Well, underwear, because…you see that sports bra and the vest above it? Only when I had sourced those, which assured me coverage in all eventualities, could I allow my Sensei to go ahead and get me a suit.

Let’s rewind a little. I am a working mum who has sat watching my lovely sons do JFK Goju-Kai Karate for the last four years. We initially joined the classes to help my medically complex youngest boy strengthen his core and co-ordination and to provide a physical outlet for him and his brother. Every week I would watch them learn to punch and kick, laughing and learning to control their bodies and safely sparring with their peers. Over time I got to know and trust Sensei Mehmet and his son, due to their patience and care with my very different sons. They have since become great male role models for the boys and the classes a permanent part of our week.

I began to take my own fitness more seriously two years ago, moving from sporadic Pilates and a failed gym membership to embarking on a weekly PT session in the park with local trainer Sarah. Alongside my busy life and job, this precious hour come rain or shine has built my confidence and fitness, allowing me to tool up against impending middle age and all that it may bring.

Sara (outside of her Karate suit!)

As my eldest son grew, so did my desire to add something into my fitness routine, something more than walking up stairs and escalators, which is why I decided to follow him into the adult class. In the six weeks or so that I have been going, my fitness across PT sessions and Karate lessons have begun to feed off one another. I have felt more confident in the warm-up, able to hold my own with press-ups, sit-ups, sprinting and burpees. The real surprise is that I feel less nervous with the sparring and partner work and in turn, as I relax, have become more confident in my moves, braver and quicker.

I am determined to hold my own with the men and boys and have unearthed the stubborn young girl who was once fearless in all sports. I feel stronger and more patient with my body and the best thing of all is that during class I don’t think about anything, except where my arm, leg or body should be.

Now I have the suit (and what lies beneath), I am trying/hoping/aiming to commit to Karate and see where it takes me. I also hope that one of my fellow mums will come and join me in class, and that I will feel confident enough to sit and watch my youngest while wearing my suit, rather than sneaking off to the loos to change just before the adult class begins.

As I carry on with my journey, I’m hoping to come back and share it with you on This Girl Can. I promise to include a proper photo next time.

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