Taekwondo is a great deal of work. The energy required to master forms and routines is amazing. So why do people, especially young people continue?
Because it’s fun!
There is the camaraderie of friends, the expertise of instructors and the support of the school. And while the learning is sometimes disguised as games and fun, it still ends up with increased knowledge of the art and a sense of security. As a side light to the fun is getting to hang out with friends and others who love the sport.
Events are planned to acknowledge achievements. After each Black Belt Testing there is a celebration with food and fellowship to welcome the new members of the Black Belt community as well as those who have increased a belt ranking. Gifts are presented, speeches are spoken and a tribute video of the event is presented. The bottom line is, this event is a fun reward for the hard work represented by the new belt!
Each summer color belt testing is taken outside to a local park. This testing in the sun is accompanied by food trucks, a bouncy house, a dunk tank and whatever other fun the staff can imagine. It often involves water. They may end up a bit damp, but the students and parents sure have fun. CAMA in the Park is an much anticipated happening each summer.
Some of those celebrations are planned by school staff to benefit others. CAMA has a 501c3 charity arm called Friends of PAMA. This group raises funds to contribute to charities on the local, national and international level. It is also used to benefit CAMA students who may be in need.
This fundraising is often paired with an event. There has been a carnival with all you would imagine connected plus mini Taekwondo seminars. This event was held in the UMAC parking lot and raised nearly $9,000 for Family Tree Child Abuse Services in 2021.
One of the students favorite events is a Halloween party with costume contests, a haunted house, Trunk & Treat in the parking lot, games in the do jang, face painting – it seems to grow each year. We’re looking forward to renewing this event post Covid 19. The creativity of our students is amazing. The costumes are elaborate. One year Master Nick came as Elsa from Frozen. Not a sight to ignore.
There have been Kick-a-thons, fun runs for Down Syndrome, clothing drives and food drives. They have benefited Children’s Hospital, food pantries, homeless shelters and one year support for victims of the Tsunami in Japan. Many of these events have been tied to the candidacy of Black Belts. They get to help plan the events as well as participate in them.
Other events are scheduled – booths at local community events manned by students, instructors and staff. They include board breaks, a wheel of fortune type spinner to win gifts, and explanations of what Taekwondo is all about. There is usually a gift of candy as a bonus. We especially enjoy having a booth at Parker Days and that will be fun once it resumes. Littleton’s Western Welcome Days are also high on the list of fun events. A float in the parade at both Parker Days and Western Welcome allows the students to strut their stuff for the crowd.
Parent’s Night Out happens quite regularly. Parents drop their children off to have a fun time with games, a movie and pizza supervised by Black Belts, while the parents get to have some adult time. These events are not limited to students, so the children get to introduce their friends to Taekwondo in a relaxed, fun way. Birthday party events are also popular – everyone gets to break a board and the cake is cut with a real sword (by an instructor, of course). There are other party games and gifts for the birthday person as there are at any other birthday celebration.
Service is taught to even the youngest children who are encouraged to help around the house, to pay attention to their parents and to obey. This is encouraged at the very youngest levels and continues through every class. Stripes required to advance belt levels are awarded for successful implementation of this goal. Parents say ‘Thank you.’
Every so often one of the schools needs a spruce up. Even that hard work becomes fun when many hands get involved to spread the paint around and remodel changing rooms. It seems whatever expertise is needed, someone in the school is able to help out. We have a talented group of people both on and off the do jang floor.
So, fun with service – to each other, one’s family, school, community and the world. Taekwondo offers the opportunity to serve while having fun with friends and learn an ancient sport.