I’ve been training with my daughter for seven months now. Because I’d trained for about 3-4 years when I was a little younger than her, I was able to promote at a fairly rapid rate after I started training again. I caught up to her pretty quickly and now outrank her by one belt (the picture is a little out of date). My daughter is working hard to catch up to me. It would be fun to promote together some day. However, if we never promote together, we’ll at least know there’s someone cheering us on!
I love it that there’s someone I can geek out with. At dinnertime, we probably bore my other daughter and my husband with our karate talk. But then again, they do get to listen to some funny stories from time to time. It’s nice to have someone who was there when the funny thing happened – that way if the others don’t think it was all that funny, at least my daughter will laugh. We spar some of the same people, then later we pick apart their preferences and go over strategies. It’s great to have a buddy!
Our practice times together are fantastic. Sometimes we’re in the garage, other times if there’s a studio empty at the YMCA we’ll be there. My daughter coaches me in kumite, I coach her kata. We want to learn partner stretches. It’s not always easy to get practice time together because of her school schedule, but it’s worth it.
There are challenges to training with my daughter. I have to fight my own urges to control her life. There is an ogre in me that wants to really be on her about this, that, and the other. She’s a teenager, so that would backfire rapidly. I don’t like fighting the ogre, but it must be done. I know I’ll be a better mother if I do. That said, I have intervened once or twice outside the dojo to steer her back on course.
We’ve had little tiffs outside the dojo about things that relate to and affect Karate (like nutrition). It’s rough, but we eventually work through those things. Inside the dojo it really, really, really helps that the Senseis are in charge. I’m supposed to be loosening the leash anyway. If Sensei is in charge, I can let my daughter make her own choices and mistakes and allow her also to learn the consequences. The good part of me backing away like this and acknowledging Sensei’s authority is my daughter’s accomplishments are really and truly her own.
I think we’re becoming more than just mother and daughter – we’re developing the friendship that comes when the relationship is good between mother and adult daughter. At this stage in my daughter’s life, it’s great to have something we can do together. Karate is giving us skills that are serving us well through this time of transition as my daughter matures into a young adult.