On August 29th Lennon had his first Martial Arts class at Victory Martial Arts.
About a year ago at the Las Vegas Baby Expo I spoke with someone at the Victory Martial Arts booth. We talked about Lennon and how their program could benefit him. While it sounded great, I decided he was just a little too young at the time.
Fast forward to two weeks ago and I start seeing all these ads on facebook for a free trial class. What did we have to lose?
I called and made an appointment. Lennon met with his future teacher Mr. Hopkins and I chatted with the Manager, Miss Carter, about what options there were for Lennon – knowing full well that one-on-one sessions were really the only option.
The investment was not a small one, but after doing some research on the impact of karate on children with special needs, I decided it was something I really wanted for Lennon.
My general rule of thumb for Lennon’s activities is to go all in. Since Lennon can’t really tell me if he wants to do an activity outside of the home I have to guess. We sign up for activities for at least 3-months at a time. I figure that way we will be able to truly tell if Lennon enjoys it and wants to continue.
With Victory Martial Arts, however, they had a special offer – pay nine months up front and get the other three free. Kenny loves a deal and decided that if we were doing it, that this was the route we were taking.
They were incredibly accommodating and together we decided that what would be best for Lennon would be Saturday morning classes and they would have him start at 9 a.m. – when they normally don’t open until 10 a.m. They understood that other children/foot traffic would distract Lennon and cause him to lose what little focus he has.
It didn’t go well.
At least not in regards to any type of Martial Arts training, but I will say that Lennon had an absolute blast.
Lennon saw a wall covered in mirrors and a big open room to run around in. So he spent most of his time doing just that – looking at himself in mirrors and running.
We did get a few kicks and hits in, but most of this mama’s energy was used trying to corral the kid. Mr. Hopkins even had to lock the front door to keep Lennon from bolting into the parking lot.
A drastic improvement.
Upon arrival Lennon ran to the mirrors – they are seriously the best mirrors for silly faces.
Mr. Hopkins laid out an agility ladder on the floor. And once he finally caught Lennon’s attention, he kept it. We did some drills running up and down the ladder. Then we added in some kicks. Then punches.
Truth be told, Lennon’s punches, not so impressive. He basically high fives the pad. We’ll get there though.
I was by Lennon’s side throughout the 30-minute session. Sometimes he required hand-holding to keep him running straight down the ladder and sometimes he did it solo. Sometimes he required guidance as to if a kick or a punch was being requested by me tapping a leg or an arm and sometimes he figured it out on his own. Sometimes he only wanted to use his right arm when Mr. Hopkins was asking for them left and sometimes he obliged.
I posted on social media after class just how proud I was of Lennon.
People don’t always realize that accomplishing seemingly simple things like walking along an agility ladder or touching a pad when asked are challenging for kiddos like Lennon. I can tell he gets confused. I can tell he gets stressed. I can tell when he is completely over it.
But today was different – while there was certainly some missteps and some avoidance, Lennon WANTED to take part. He easily could have ran back to the mirror, he could have sat on the floor and pouted, heck – he could have had a full on melt down.
He didn’t though.
He had a complete blast today. And with every run down that ladder, every kick and every punch Mr. Hopkins and I cheered him on.
I often talk about how proud I am of Lennon, but honestly – I think he was proud of himself today.