With the start of school approaching faster than a speeding bullet, it’s time for parents to do some homework to choose after-school programs and classes for their kids. With an eye-popping number of options to choose from, here are some qualities I look for:
- Enriching. I am looking for a program which offers something different than my child gets during the normal school day.
- Active. Although there are exceptions, I tend to favor activities which give my child a physical outlet.
- Challenging. I want to give my child opportunities to learn and grow in a supportive environment.
Time and time again, I hear other parents rave about Life Ki-do, which is a program for children ages three through adults which blends martial arts with personal development. As much as my 9-year-old enjoys his once-every-three-days P.E. classes, Life Ki-do certainly provides something unique. The classes, which were voted Best Afterschool Activity in The Austin Chronicle‘s Best of Austin list, mix the Russian art of systema, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, karate, tai chi, Qigong and self-defense training. There is an obvious physical element, as well as a different way to challenge himself to perform.
The Life Ki-do philosophy rests upon the idea that children look inward for validation and self-worth rather than looking outward to others. Founders Jonathan and Lana Hewitt have written a book, Life Ki-do Parenting: Tools to Raise Happy, Confident Kids from the Inside Out, which describes the Tools for Life system, which is the foundation of the Life Ki-do classes. Students learn to connect their body, breath and brain to:
Be their own best friend
Feel confident about who they are and learn to flow with life’s joys and challenges by using them as opportunities to grow.
Be a good friend to others
Cultivate empathy and kindness for great friendships and connection to the world around you.
Be both strong and calm
Develop a strong, healthy, and safe body while learning relaxation skills for a focused and calm mind.
As a former coach, the idea that kids benefit from being internally motivated really resonates with me, as well as combining social and emotional learning with an activity which isn’t typically seen as nurturing.
Life Ki-do has been teaching martial arts for over two decades in Westlake. Just recently, a new location has opened in Lakeway. Both locations offer classes, karate camps and birthday parties. Here are what a few parents have to say about Life Ki-do:
“As a mom (and also a pediatrician), I highly recommend this phenomenal program. There is really nothing like it. The teachers are outstanding and do a remarkable job of blending the physical skills of martial arts with the social/emotional values of self-awareness, self-control and empathy. The experience is joyful, physically challenging, and enlightening. My son and his friends look forward to their classes each week, and wish only that they could attend each and every day.”– Melissa B.
“As a teacher I can vouch that the instructors and staff at Life Kido are top notch. They provide their students with a fun and challenging format to build life skills and the tools necessary to navigate situations in life. My daughter loves going to Life Kido and she talks about her instructors all the time. We drive an hour to attend class each week and it is well worth the effort to have this high quality experience in our lives. I would highly recommend Life Kido to kids of all ages!” – Amy O.
“I truly can’t rate Life Ki-do highly enough. Their program goes far beyond physical martial arts and incorporates mind, body, and personal achievement at every level. Focus, team effort, respect and self awareness (with a healthy dose of martial arts) are only some of the themes that the talented instructors are able to instill with kids at every age. I’ve seen the growth and influence that Life Ki-do instruction has provided my son. Whether it’s a stressful situation at school, an important test, etc…what he has learned from participating in Life Ki-do has translated beyond the dojo and has helped in everyday situations. Life Ki-do has been an invaluable resource…highly recommended.” – Matt R.
Enter to win one month of Life Ki-do classes, a uniform and a copy of Life Ki-do Parenting: Tools to Raise Happy, Confident Kids from the Inside Out! The classes are for ages three to adult and can be redeemed at the headquarters in Westlake (3636 Bee Caves Rd., #212) or the new Lakeway location (1200 Lakeway Dr., #5). To enter, simply fill out the form below. One winner will be selected at random on Wednesday, August 19, 2015 and contacted by email. Sweepstakes Official Rules. If you cannot see the entry form, please visit the original post to enter.
Special Deal for Free Fun in Austin Readers!
Even if you don’t win the giveaway, Life Ki-do is offering a special deal, just for Free Fun in Austin readers. Mention Free Fun in Austin when you register for classes and receive 20% off registration!