Bringing Families Together
GKR is often labelled ‘The Family Club’ for a number of reasons. Karate is an activity where the whole family can train together, learn together and gain the benefits together.
Many may not realise that GKR started out literally as a family club. The very first class held by Kancho had one student in it, his son Matt. Kancho always felt that karate was an activity that was for the whole family, and even titled his first book written in 1985 “Karate For Everyone’ placing a heavy emphasis on family values. While GKR has since spread throughout Australia, New Zealand, the UK and now in Houston, the promotion of family values remains strong. GKR today has thousands of families who train together, and in each edition of Shimbun we bring you the stories of these ‘karate families’.
The title of this article applies on more than one level. Initially, it brings the individual family, as a unit, closer together. The opportunity to spend time together is just the beginning; beyond this it gives them common goals – something they can work towards together – offering each other advice on technique and providing each other with motivation to improve. I know I have seen this in my family. My wife Vicky recently got back into training by attending classes with our son Nicolas. This has been great for both of them as they have a ‘project’ so to speak to work on together. Rather than simply seeing Vicky as mum, he now also sees her as a training partner and role model. Extending further, we’ve had countless testimonies from parents who had a strained relationship with their teenage child because they had an inability to relate to them. Starting karate together, whether attending the same classes or not, gave them a means to relate to one another and this helped heal and re-strengthen the relationship.
‘Bringing Families together’ also applies on a secondary level. It brings different families together. With work places expecting longer hours, the growing popularity of the Internet and having 200 channels on TV, people are isolating themselves more than ever. Outside of our family we hardly have time for anyone anymore. Remember the day when you could stop and have a coffee and a chat with any one in your street? For most, these days are long gone. GKR not only provides a place where a family can spend time together, but where they can meet other like-minded families and develop family friends again. Many of you may agree; close friends of the family are often other families in GKR. In this edition of Shimbun, we get up close and personal with five families, the Zaloumes family, the West Family, the Kristen family, the De-Marino family and the Bounkeua family. What makes this issue different however is that these five families all know one another. They have not only managed to form a strong bond within their own family unit, they have formed relationships with other families. Thanks to their united passion, the adults and kids, despite any difference in age, can all relate to one another. What’s more, all share healthy attitudes and outlooks on life. If you have a family that you have grown close to via training with GKR, we would love to hear your story.