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Bowley Kenpo Karate » Belt Promotion, Personal Stories » Kenpo – From the eyes of a parent

Kenpo – From the eyes of a parent

Last weekend our school had its quarterly’s karate test. One of our students, Nate, earned his second junior blue stripe. In response to pictures of the test being in our weekly newsletter, we received this email from Nate’s mother.

Nate performing Long Form 1 during his test.

Nate performing Long Form 1 during his test.


Just reading your newsletter and thinking that you should write something about how people (like Nate) with different/varying abilities can be successful in Kenpo. You do an awesome job with Nate and he is so proud of himself. Here are some of my favorite things about watching Nate learn Kenpo…It is somewhat self- pacing and individual, yet there is a family like support system that surrounds him. It is like having many mentors! He watches others meet their goals and it motivates him, but more importantly techniques/forms get modeled for him over and over by those around him. It gives him a sense of belonging and inclusion. Unlike many sports, progress is measurable with belts and stripes. – He can “see” goals that are tangible. Lastly, the sport engages his mind and his body, even more than most sports, the techniques and forms require a high level of concentration and focus. I know these points are helpful for everyone, but I think these things are even more important and valued for kids with special challenges.

I just got off thinking about all this. I hope you don’t mind me sharing my thoughts.


The smile says it all.

The smile says it all.

Through all the drills and technique work, sometimes it’s easy to lose track of the fact not everyone takes martial arts for self-defense training. Some people, like Nate, are here for other reasons. Martial arts training can be so much more than just knowing how to protect yourself in a fight or flight situation.

Nate also serves as a reminder for us all, that each student should not be compared/graded/judged only against their peers but (more importantly) against themselves. Sure, we have a common curriculum which everyone learns, but how each student improves inside the curriculum is the true measure of their progress. The Art is designed to be tailored for each body type, skill set, and individual capability.

Nate, his brother, and his sister have been training in our studio for over a year now. Prior to that they had trained with my instructor in Edmond, Oklahoma. (The Kenpo is strong with their family.) It was a blessing when they moved and joined our school. I hope every karate school has their version of Nate. He serves as a great example of the joy that comes from sharing the Art.

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Sam Bowley
McKinney, TX

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