I joined the system in 1993 with my sons, Sean (age 7) and Eric (age 5). My main purpose of joining martial arts was to get some exercise for myself as well as get my kids away from from being in front of the TV all the time and raise their level of activity. My wife wanted us to have this "Father and Son" time as well as increase our self-assurance and physical power to be able to handle ourselves in the face of physical threat.
For a long time I talked about taking martial arts, but did nothing about it. My brother had taken Tae Kwon Do a number of years before, and I attended a tournament that he had participated in at that time. Having that exposure, I though I would also like to get involved in this type of activity.
Our children were enrolled in the after-school program at the Westchester Park District and I would pass the class four times a week picking up my children. I had many excuses as to why I couldn't take this class. Now I can't afford not to take this class. From the very beginning Sean and I were focused. Eric, on the other hand, came along and did some of the activities some of the time, for a couple of years before he was mature enough to be part of the class.
I have earned my 3rd Degree Brown Belt, Sean and Eric have earned their High Blue and High Green
Belts respectively. We have all worked at our own pace. The belts are given when the student is both mentally and physically ready. There is no "buying of the belts" here -- they are EARNED! If you are able to follow directions, follow the program, and have the desire (no matter what your size) you will excel. If you have your own agenda and don't participate, you'll be stuck. There is reasoning behind the teaching. The learning has extended to all areas of our lives.
The benefits we have derived are many -- respect of others, respect of self, wanting to do your best, being in service to others, honor, caring , helping each other learn -- to name just a few. I have been able to maintain some level of fitness and I have had a regular activity that we do together twice a week. I have developed the confidence that if the time were to come that I would have to defend myself or my family I would know what to do and have the training to back it up. My children have developed discipline and confidence in themselves and I am comfortable with knowing they will use their skills responsibly. We are taught from the first day that "the best fight is no fight", but we will not be pummeled by not defending ourselves.
Come find out for yourselves. Check it out.