My ten-year-old daughter began martial arts training three years ago. She was shy, small and not the type of kid one might expect to be in a karate program. But she enjoyed the classes and was naturally good at the discipline of the forms and weapons. The hand-to-hand fighting was never her favorite, but she realized that sparring was part of the program, and thus has stuck with learning to punch, kick, hit, grapple and defend herself.
This has not always been easy for her, or for me. It is not fun to watch your sweet kid taking a hard kick to the face from a twelve year old boy who should have pulled back. When something like this happens she has to struggle to fight back the tears while I have to sit on the sidelines and not run to comfort her.
I admire her focus. I did not have this at her age. She has had it all along.
I have no idea what her future will hold, but if she can maintain her high level determination and love of learning, she can do anything.