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Mom, You Are My Champion!

May 15, 20242 min read

Many years ago, back in the 1970’s and 1980’s when my brothers and I were just starting in Karate, my mom and dad would take us to Karate tournaments and would cheer us on, win or lose. Always from the sidelines, they did their best to support our passion for the martial arts, but oddly enough, never showed an interest in doing it themselves.

Fast forward twenty five years when I opened my own Karate school in Brighton, to see my mom, in her mid fifties, for the first time putting on a Karate uniform.  She said to me after she started training, “It is so different… I’ve watched you boys for years and years, and I thought it would be easy… it’s not easy!” But that didn’t stop her, and now, for over two decades, she’s been setting an example for everyone who ever made excuses like “I’m too old to start”, or “I’ve never done anything like this before”, or “this is too hard…”

Today, at the ripe age of 76 years, she still trains consistently, making the 45 minute drive each way to our Dojo twice per week. So for me, it is a great honor to be able to recognize her hard work and dedication whenever I get a chance. This weekend will be very special, when she’ll be receiving her Third Degree Black Belt; and I couldn’t be more proud to be the one who gives it to her. She’s earned that and more.

On the other hand though, it is a funny thing, to be my very own mom’s Sensei, but I think for both of us, it is, and has been, a wonderful experience. Every night after classes we sit in my office and chat about anything - sometimes for hours -, not as a Sensei and student, but now as mother and son. I love to be able to share this with her. I’m her instructor in class, but as soon as it’s over, I’m just her son again. It’s a unique relationship of mutual love and respect which I cherish so very much.

I hope that, as we approach mother’s day this year, aside from the cards and the gifts, everyone who is still fortunate to have their moms with them will make the time to spend it with her. To me, everything seems so insufficient to show her that I care, except for the time we spend together.

To all the moms out there, have a wonderful mother’s day, and to my own mother, Janet Martens, just wanted to say that you are my champion. ¡Feliz Dia de la Madre mami!

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