Day 9: Lila (or Being a Beginner Part 2) / by Jeff Tacklind

Tonight, Lila and I have martial arts.  We’ve been training under Master Mark in the discipline of Hapkido.  It is seriously the best thing ever.

Both of us are white belts, which means we’ve paid for the class.  You don’t earn a white belt.  It is given to you.  But we’ve progressed since then.  We are about to test for our yellow belts.  I’m not sure I’m ready, but Lila is.

Lila is fierce like her mom.  You should see her front kick, double punch.  She isn’t messing around.  I can’t help but smile inside as she practices her moves.  That is until my hands are twisted and I’m going down on the mat as she reverses my hold and throws her weight.  I must outweigh the girl by 150 lbs, but one of the coolest things about Hapkido is that it doesn’t require size or strength.  It is fluid.  It is all about deflections and using your opponent’s momentum.  It is beautiful.  And a tiny little 8 year old can easily block an adult kick through proper body rotation and balance.  And then respond with a kick to the groin.  Hyah!

I guess it could be a little embarrassing to have to tap my leg when the pain from Lila’s hold becomes unbearable.  But mostly I’m just proud.  I love her soul!  She is so fearless.  She has such a big heart.

I love taking this class with her.  I love her gentle encouragements.  I love how hard she kicks the bag.  And I love how her joy is uncontainable.  She is such a gift to our family.  I’m so proud of my little white ninja.  Just don’t lower your guard.  You might get an elbow to the face.