While growing up I had always felt safer anywhere but within the confinement of the four walls that was my home. As a young girl I wouldn’t have cared if a stranger had kidnapped and taken me far far away, I was so petrified of the man I knew to be my father. Well all the fear I grew up with actually made a fierce rebel out of my shy, timid, mostly submissive nature. So then I grew up to fear less, and got shameless as per our conservative cultural standards, ‘cuz a girl having a mind of her own is a threat to the common welfare of women in general and the place I come from is very protective of its women. A girl’s safety and honor is everyone’s business and most men and women will go to any length to keep their honor, errr girls safe. Just that I have always had these major safety issues starting right with that attitude. Finding my way through life to a place “I” considered safe enough took me a long time but hey I finally am here secure, protected…at peace!!! Hey I am not lying…I do feel at peace at times okay. And I am not in Norway. Or Sweden. Or on a Himalayan mountain top meditating. Or in an ocean front condominium stretching in some ridiculously expensive n skimpy yoga attire.
The safest, most peaceful I feel, is this place right here in my head where I do all my thinking. The most powerful resource man is yet to tap into. Its where all our fears reside if we let them…right? Well, I’m a rebel and a philosopher.
But this post is not about me. Its about this cool, amazing place other than my head where I feel absolutely safe. It’s in the company of some wonderful people, at Robinson’s Taekwondo Arden-Arcade…in Sacramento, California.
The first time I walked in there, a young man in a white Martial Arts uniform walked up to me and introduced himself as Alex. He had this sense of calm confidence about him and was very soft spoken which is very rarely found in today’s youth. He appeared young enough to be a student but turned out to be the chief instructor of the place. I had been watching his students in class most Saturday mornings right after my dance class next door. Looking through the tall glass windows I would speculate whether to go in or not. My kids had been asking since long to enroll into Martial Arts. But…’It’s so expensive, out of my reach to afford tuition for all three kids… impossible I’m not doing it’ - I told myself and dismissed the thought of walking in and finding out. That particular Saturday morning somehow there was no class, the dojang was empty and quiet. Surprisingly, so was the nagging voice in my head!! Well I don’t recall as to what exactly Alex and I talked about. It was something to the effect of bringing my kids in to meet with him and do an orientation. By the time I reached home, I had forgotten him, his school…and the scheduled orientation. I guess I hadn’t been serious about keeping the appointment. The appointment would lead to commitment, which I wasn’t fully prepared for. But I did mention to my kids about meeting with Alex. They wanted to know if I had remembered noting down the number to reach him at. That’s when I started looking for the card he had given me because the kids wouldn’t leave me alone. Well, its only when my kids are really interested in something that they actually find it…so when I thought I had lost his card and almost gave up looking for it, within less than a minute one of the kids pulled it out from somewhere. That’s when I first looked at the tiny picture on the card….and went WOW!!! That’s the same guy I just talked to…!! He can do THAT!!!! Why, he could well be meditating standing like this…and not lose his balance or move an inch. (Mr. Mota, please put this picture back on your visiting card!!!)
Master Alex Mota, chief instructor at Robinson’s Taekwondo
So, it has been nine months since I entrusted my kids to Alex and his expert teaching skills. He has exceeded my expectations in every way. His classes are fun and challenging and the energy that he brings onto the floor is unmatched. What my kids like the most is he won’t yell or talk disrespectfully to any student no matter how good or bad you are doing. Yet at the same time he is very firm and will let you know what he expects of you. He makes you exceed your own expectations of you, at the least. And he is extremely, immensely, incredibly patient….!!! And always fun to be around.
The best thing about Robinson’s Taekwondo are the Adult…or Family Classes. The magical interaction that parents have with their children along with a productive, healthy goal which an entire family works on together is just beyond measure. No matter what your age, size, social status, race, religion or color…here you are equal. Or not. Well, the only distinction is the color of your belt, and your rank. The higher your rank, the higher your skills, the greater your humility, the bigger your responsibility. No matter what age you are, your rank makes you more responsible! What a great way to learn and to instill discipline and values into young kids. Here, learning with Mr. Mota, parents set a fine example for their kids with their own commitment to Taekwondo. I don’t know if anybody else recognizes or realizes the opportunity one gets from learning in a fun, relaxed, committed environment like this…I think it is incredible. One only gets stronger, skilled, responsible, disciplined, focused, healthier, more confident, more patient. Well, this part is not that magical, you really have to work on it if you’re starting Martial Arts late in life…but if you have the intention and the right attitude, anything is possible. The right thing to do is start somewhere. And start with the right instructor, the right place.
Well, need I say more about how I feel about my decision to walk into this dojang one Saturday morning???
Or I do…because I couldn’t sit for an hour and just watch my kids take class for long. Mr. Mota’s energy was so compelling I wished I could get on the floor with my kids. I still wish I could learn to move like him. He is so swift, graceful, powerful and has so much control over his body. As a dancer, I would give anything to have that. Well, that’s what took me to join class.
There’s not a single bone in my body that doesn’t feel grateful to him for motivating me, encouraging and inspiring me to do my best even when I could not do a single push up…can not repay him for the opportunity he has provided me and my family. I really can’t put my finger on it and say its this one thing but Mr. Mota, you gave the child in me something my father had taken away when he must’ve been your age and I was this little girl, really really young. It’s this safe, healthy, respectful, nurturing environment for growth - something I wish for every child to have at home, their schools and learning centers. And I wish that every child has the opportunity to learn Martial Arts from an awesome instructor like you.
My acknowledgments to Grandmaster Clinton Robinson who has trained Mr. Mota for the past 20 yrs and is the owner of Robinson’s Taekwondo which has many other locations in Northern California.