By Aunty Jen

Eighteen months ago, Professor and I became empty nesters. Some of you with young children don’t think it will happen or perhaps don’t want it to (I felt both ways at one time or another). But it does and let me tell you….IT’S GLORIOUS.

Professor and I have entered into the 4th stage of parenting, Consultant (Commander, Coach, Counselor, Consultant – that Human Development degree paid off!) and it’s awesome. Surviving the three prior stages wasn’t easy but it was worth it.

Granted…Nothing slaps you in the face quite like dropping your 18-year old kid off at the airport for a two-year journey in a foreign country BUT at this stage (although the worry never ends) it is nice to enjoy life together. To watch our sons navigate the joys and perils of adulthood. And wait for the grandkids. (Got to put that out in the universe although we are not in any hurry.)

We were fortunate to have martial arts through all stages of parenting. Martial arts helped us and our kids prepare for life! WHY, you ask? (Thanks for asking on cue!)

Reason #1: They are physically active adults.

Sifu Nic loves to work out and quite frankly, do some crazy stuff with his body (think: World Toughest Mudder!). Wasn’t always like that. Martial arts helped him gain the physical strength … literally … that he needs to stay healthy and live a long life. Sibak Cam walks many miles a day on his mission. In today’s day and age with the rampant obesity problems, I feel confident that my kids know how to stay in shape and remain healthy. Martial arts provided that outlet and those skills.

Reason #2: They know how to be quiet (i.e. Self-Control).

Life is fast-paced without adding technology and constant stimulation in the mix. Martial arts has taught my kids how to practice self-control, sit quietly, ponder and meditate. I look back on all the tournaments, promotions and events where they were literally sitting and watching, being still and mentally participating. These are important skills that we all need as adults – to be able to contemplate and re\lect before taking action.

Reason #3: They can take a hit (and then more hits).

Martial arts has provided ample opportunity for my boys to get hit. By us and others. Physical toughness has given them mental toughness. They have gotten hit and gotten back up. What more of a direct life lesson do we need? Whether it’s failing a test, losing a job or a snowboard accident, my sons can and will get back up and keep at it, always moving forward!

Reason #4: They have self-respect and confidence.

Check out Facebook (or THE Facebook as people my age call it) and it’s easy to see the attacks on our confidence. The constant “look at what I am doing” or “look at how good looking I am” or “look at what I just bought” causes constant comparisons and damages our self worth. Through their accomplishments in martial arts, my boys have the knowledge and cofidence in themselves and their abilities. They know they can do anything they are willing to work for.

Reason #5: They are humble.

There is always someone tougher, someone stronger, someone better. There is also someone with a bigger problem or that is experiencing more pain than us. Martial arts has shown my kids that while they are good, they can keep working to be better. In life, that translates to constant self-improvement. We never stop learning and that’s a great thing.

Of course there are many others I could name. And I would love to hear yours! Email me at and tell me why martial arts is important for your kids! Thank you for the opportunity to share my love of martial arts wit you.and your family. We are forever grateful for the wonderful examples we see in the dojo every day … and we love seeing what the future holds for all of us!


Aunty Jennifer Corder, an Arizona native, is co-owner of Kajukenbo Arizona with her husband Professor Kelly Corder, and sons Sifu Nicolas and Sibak Cameron. She graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Family Resources and Human Development. She is a black belt in Kajukenbo with over 15 years of martial arts and self-defense training. She and her husband also founded Redrock Software Corporation in 1991 and enjoys working with her family in both businesses.