All in the Family

Pharmacist Lee Pinnell is no newcomer to fitness: he was considered for an appearance on American Ninja Warrior and is a triathlete. But the martial arts are brand new to him and his son, Shaw. Together, they have embarked on a journey into the art and so far, as colors of their belts indicate, they’re doing just fine.

I asked Lee what motivated him to choose martial arts. “I’ve always encouraged Sam and Shaw to be physically active. Shaw did not show a lot of interest in ball sports and I didn’t want to make him do something he wasn’t enthusiastic about. Karate really peaked his interest, so we decided to give it a try. We both fell in love with it. It’s something fun we can do together. I love the discipline of it and fact that it teaches Shaw to set a tough goal and go after it.”

I’ll bet they don’t limit their practice to the studio, either. Can’t you just picture these two in the back yard, or heck, the living room (much to Mom’s dismay) trying out what they’ve learned? Of course, practicing any martial art at home is possible, but should be done carefully. A designated space in the house where you can install some martial arts mats for support and cushioning is a great place to extend your studio practice without worrying about safety. Because martial arts mats are connected like puzzle pieces, you can take them apart and reassemble them in any location you like. Nice day outside? Take the mats to the back porch and practice! Too hot to practice outside? Take them back indoors. They’re very easy to maintain and should last longer than the lifetime of your practice.

Families who spend time on martial arts mats together do more than learn new skills simultaneously. They develop a common language about their activity, they learn how to challenge and support each other, and kids especially can see that even adults are capable of learning new things! And how cool would it be to outpace your parent in something?! Good luck, Shaw! You can do it!