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"My Mom Can Beat up Your Dad" And Other Unexpected Benefits for Moms Training in the Martial Arts

By Kevin Schmad

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One of our fellow USSD Female Instructors wanted to share her story of being a mom in the Martial Arts. Stephanie Alberts is an inspiration to mom's everywhere, and I'm proud to share her journey....

"I started training in the Martial Arts when I turned 31. Twenty years ago, before Martial Arts became even more ‘main-stream’ than it is today, I can recall standing in the back of the class feeling like ‘the old lady in the white belt’. After all, everyone knows that players in football, hockey, baseball, basketball, etc. to name a few, ‘age out’ in their 30’s. The next ‘oldest’ student at the time was 20.


Yet, here I was, a beginner, not to mention a mom of three one-year olds. Three as in TRIPLETS. WHO JUST TURNED ONE. The typical benefits of improving health, focus, discipline etc. through the martial arts are commonly known. However, I soon discovered the many ‘not so common’ benefits that convinced me that all Moms NEED to train in the Martial Arts:


Regaining Control
For me, there has been no other experience in my life that made me feel that I had ‘no control’ as when I became a mother. When you are pregnant, you have zero power over what is happening to the inside and the outside of your body. And, once that incredibly beautiful child is borne and the feeling of miraculous elation of “I cannot believe we CREATED a HUMAN being” passes, the next levels of control are lost. Eating? When do we eat? There is no time. Sleep? What is that? Finances? Oh boy, better buckle down. Date night? No way; that will interfere with valuable sleep time.
All women’s bodies are never exactly the same after giving birth and for the majority of us mortals who do not have access to personal trainers and nannies, getting back in shape can be a nightmare. I tried walking but all I did was think about how much time I had, how fast I had to finish and will my husband remember all the instructions I left him. This was also true for biking, going to the gym and running.


That changed when I started training in the martial arts. There was no time to focus on anything other than what my body and mind needed to do; the forms, the katas, the defensive maneuvers. All required 100% of my attention and the hour flew by.


Since the time was scheduled and budgeted for class; I had to make the effort to get there. There were no excuses. In honoring my commitment, I took control of three hours a week.


In that time, I started feeling STRONGER. My body was learning to do new and amazing things. Things others, even men, could not do. My mind was refreshed, my body even more so. I started feeling ‘whole’ again.


Relieves Mom ‘Guilt’
Moms can be a ‘self-induced guilty’ bunch. Every minute we feel we take for ourselves is a minute we feel we are taking away from our children, especially for those of us that work. It plagues us on a level only other moms can relate to.
Taking an exercise class made me feel guilty; who was I to be Latin dancing while my children were home without me? I also had work to do, a house to clean, food to buy and cook; the list, as you know, goes on.


By training in the martial arts, however, I realized that what I was doing, though benefiting me in more ways than I could imagine, was truly a gift to my children. I was learning to defend myself which meant I gained knowledge on how to protect what I valued most in life; my family. I became more aware of my surroundings; why I should put my children in the car before the groceries, how far they could walk in front of me and never behind, and even what to do if I went to the mall and found myself holding bags in one hand, purse on shoulder, a child on hip, while holding onto the other child with the only hand left when it got darker out than expected and I couldn’t find my car. I was not just training for me, I was training for them. No one messes with this Momma Bear.


You Become the Cool Mom
There comes a time in every parent’s life when, regardless of what you may think of yourself, your kids think you are no longer ‘cool’ enough to hang out with. You become an Uber driver that is not privileged to participate in the discussion behind you. You are told to drop your children and their friends off at the front of the movies, catch up to them, inside, and sit a row behind them. Same with the mall. Your opinion will never seem to count as much as their friends and ultimately, they suddenly know more than you anyway.


With a Martial Arts Mom, THAT NEVER HAPPENS. I watched my friends go through similar situations listed above, but I have never experienced such personally. In fact, my children’s friends were so amazed by my abilities and accomplishments, they could not wait to come to our house to hang out. Driving became a consistent “What do you think Mrs. Alberts” and “Are you going to stay with us?” opportunity.


Discipline made Easy
I did not realize how my training in the martial arts would affect this area of my children’s life. In such a system, one learns the importance of self-control. Not just the body, but the mind. Action, not reaction is taught so consistently, that what you learn is no longer an ‘activity’ but a way of life. My stress reduced and my patience improved. When you are learning to take on another adult twice your size, a kindergartner will not rattle you.


Things, of course, got a bit more complicated as we entered the ‘tween’ years. That is, until I took them to a tournament I was competing in. They not only watched me compete and win in the forms division but place in a sparring match against an opponent who was 25 years old when I was 42. And, in case you are wondering, ‘sparring’ is when you put on headgear, boxing gloves, shin guards, pop in a mouth guard and ‘go at it’. I can recall holding my trophy, walking towards my children and seeing the sheer awe they had in their eyes.


From that moment on, if they were misbehaving in any way, I gave them ‘the look’ that all moms know. The trouble stopped instantly. It was an amazing phenomenon. I can recall thinking at first “Are my children frightened of me?”, until I realized that training and gaining such a skill and accomplishing the rank of black belt at 40 in an art form that only 1% of the population reaches, did not cause fear; it caused respect.


Listen, I am not ‘a natural’; I was not born with the mental or physical acumen to become a black belt. I was simply a mom who needed to feel better, get over any self-consciousness I had, find a program that worked with my individual needs, and start. I learned the importance of training, not only for myself but for my family. It has helped me in areas of my life I never thought imaginable; but who am I? I am just a Mom of three who became a three time tournament Champion after 40 and is working towards her third degree Black belt at 50; if I can do it, any mom can!"--Stephanie Alberts


If Stephanie's story inspired you, there has never been a better time to get involved in the Martial Arts. If you want to find out how to gain control of your body, feel empowered at any age, learn how to defend your family and generally become a Bad A** Mom, contact me at hmbussd@gmail.com and I will be happy to steer you to the right program!


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