I am writing this as I sit and watch my grand-daughter Kat do her training at WAIMA in Dojo 2. Just a few minutes ago my other grand-daughter Isabel finished her training session over in Dojo 1. It never ceases to amaze me how much fun all the children have whilst learning valuable life lessons. I have watched the girls gain confidence and grow over the past few weeks.

Kat who is 13 and tall for her age, used to stoop because of her height. She was self conscious about it. From the day she put on her Ghi (uniform) her whole posture changed. Through the encouragement of her Instructors and Mentors, she is now proud of herself and carries herself with poise and pride. A big thanks to Instructors Terrence, Norman, Briana, Jess, Rebecca, Andrew and Nicholas who have guided her so far. Also a big thanks to the leadership volunteers, especially Caitlin and Mikey who have encouraged her. Because of you all she now very proudly wears her Yellow Belt. You saw something very special in her in the early days and have brought that out in her. Thank You.

Isabel has also progressed very well having gained her first black tip on her white belt this month. She started a little later than Kat. Initially she was very uncoordinated, but thanks to exceptional skills of Briana and her team dealing with youngsters like Isabel, who is 7, she now pays attention and informs me that he is trying very hard to gain her next tip and her Focus badge.(Focus being Isabel’s main challenge in life. Ha-ha).

Being a retired teacher, I have sat on many occasions and watched how the Instructors teach the skills to the students. They not only teach Martial Art skills, they are also very competent at teaching life skills such as bullying, and how to deal with it. They teach that Martial Arts are not just in the Dojo. They encourage good behavior in their students at home and school also. In fact if the Instructors know about it, there are special badges that are awarded for home and school behavior.

The Instructor to student ratio is amazing. There are consistently 5 or 6 instructors in every class and as such there are always a pair of eyes on the children to help them out. It is a great credit to Graham and Phil that everyone is made to feel part of the WAIMA ‘family’ at Greenwood. Not only the students, but the parents as well are made to feel welcome as well. A big thank you also goes to Julia for your help and assistance organizing everything for us.

The girls and I look forward to a long association with you all at WAIMA and thank you for your care, inspiration and skills that you convey to us all.

With many thanks.

Janet Collins August 15, 2017