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Local youngsters gain strength, confidence with martial arts

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Posted: Thursday, March 31, 2011 9:30 am

Crisp white uniforms snap as the youngsters move with precise action. Like an army of Ninja warriors, children from four to 12 work through their exercises at Robinson’s Tawkwondo school in Galt.

There are a multitude of different martial arts available for children and teens in the Lodi-Galt area.

Fred Estrada, senior Instructor at the Robinson’s Taekwondo school in Galt, and a fourth degree black-belt, tells interested parents to try a school out for a week. Not every school fits everyone. “Choosing the right school isn’t just about the price. Find the fit for you and your child,” he said.

“Taekwondo gives your child confidence and discipline. They learn when to do things, when not to do them. They carry themselves with more confidence. They walk with their head up, not as a target for bullying.

“Parents like the program too. Discipline carries over from the school to home. If the child is getting out of line, the parents just need to remind them. It helps with the attitude and benefits the parents whether it is getting the kids to eat their vegetables, but also teaches the kids to be accountable,” he said.

His schools, he said, stress courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, indomitable spirit and victory.

“The physical strengths are for the individual. We push the student to get to that next level. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be a world-class athlete. But they are graded by performance of the individual,” he said.

Lyanne Paustenbach, of Lodi, has children involved in taekwondo and feels it has been beneficial.

“We have since learned that TKD (taekwondo) offers much more. Everything from a simple kick, breaking of a board or routine forms, requires skill, precision, patience, focus and honor — the foundation of the Taekwondo training and the essence of the tenets. People who believe Taekwondo is all about fighting are sadly missing a tremendous opportunity.

“Since our children have joined TKD, they are physically fit and learn how to win and lose gracefully,” she said.

Like any other sport, taekwondo requires commitment and sacrifice. Movement through the ranks from a novice or white belt to a skilled black belt student isn’t an instant transformation. It requires patience, knowledge, training and lots of practice required from both the athlete and family.

Since enrolling her children in taekwondo, Paustenbach has witnessed a difference. “It builds confidence and discipline by training both their body and mind. In school, we have already seen this transcend with their ability to focus and memorize key concepts and the confidence to stand tall and present in front of a class.” she said.

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