Parent, Taekwondo, Adult, Martial ArtsHi! I’m Lisa Lauffer, an instructor at Shields ATA Family Martial Arts. I’m a second-degree black belt. Last weekend I won District Championships in Combat Weapons Sparring, and next month along with Mr. Shields and my son, Mitch, I’ll compete at World Championships in the Tournament of Champions.

And until just five years ago, I had my butt in the seat.

I began my martial arts journey as the mother of a student. My daughter, AJ, began Taekwondo six years ago at the suggestion of an occupational therapist. I drove her to and from classes, sitting and observing while she learned. She seemed to have fun, and Taekwondo looked like a physical challenge I’d enjoy too. In fact, everyone else in our family–my husband, Karl, and son, Mitch–wanted to do it. Karl and I chose to allow AJ a year-long head start. Because she is the youngest in the family, we felt we’d give her the opportunity to lead the way for a change.

When the year passed and Karl, Mitch, and I decided to start our training, I felt ambivalent about it. While I had looked forward to trying this sport in which my daughter thrived, I didn’t know whether I could do it physically, mentally, or emotionally. Stepping onto the floor would mean opening myself up to potential failure and the need for corrective feedback from others. I felt vulnerable, because despite having watched my daughter for a year and helping her practice, I hadn’t experienced forming the moves with my body or fielding a strike coming at me. I remember a drill in which I held a blocker pad for someone who kicked me halfway across the room. I felt shaken and had to walk away. After a few minutes of (almost completely) collecting myself, I returned to the floor, a little more in tune with my limits.

So, I understand the resistance some of you parents may feel about taking classes yourself. It becomes easy to throw the kids’ needs, your schedule, and any other number of reasons out there to avoid walking onto the floor and engaging in martial arts. Those reasons can be valid at times. But other times–and I know this is harsh to say–they are simply excuses.

Don’t you, when you’re watching your children, have the slightest voice inside your head telling you to give Taekwondo a try? Don’t they look like they’re exercising, learning discipline, and challenging themselves? I can tell you for certain that they are! And let me tell you one more benefit they’re gaining:

They’re having a blast!

Why not have a blast with them? This month as our Father’s Day gift to our community, Dads train for free. And, Moms, we have a variety of packages that make trying Taekwondo financially feasible for you too.

Parents, here’s my invitation to you: get your butt out of the seat, and join me on the floor! I hope to see you there soon!

Lisa Lauffer, 2nd degree black belt, Taekwondo instructor, Nia instructor, blogger, and mom. I can be contacted by email at or click here to visit my Nia site.

Stan Shields

Stan N. Shields is a 6th Degree Black Belt, three-time world champion, and has been teaching martial arts to kids and adults for over 23 years. You can contact him directly at

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  1. Great article Lisa. Thank you for opening up as you did. I meet so many people who are not willing to put themselves out there and be vulnerable. Getting feedback is difficult for many adults and consequently, it gets transferred to kids as well. Most of the time kids are more open to it, however. I have also found that a huge percentage of our population suffers from the “lack of worthiness” syndrome. I just made that term up, I think. We have to be willing to open up, be transparent and know that it is OK to not know everything, or be able to do everything perfectly the first time. It’s how we learn and grow. Hope to see more of our adults in class with us learning and growing. Again, thanks for the article.

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