Family Spotlight: The Kirkhams

        Names  (Age)  Parents Rachael &  Andy, Simon(7) Eli (10) Abe (11)

        Hobbies: We love playing games. Board games, card games, dice games.

        How many family members do you have training? Four

        Rank(s)? The boys have Purple belts. Rachael earned second degree black belt in 2001.

What benefits were you originally looking for when you started Martial Arts training?

Respect, focus, self discipline, goal setting.

Why did you choose The Black Belt Academy?  Having trained at this academy when I was growing up I knew that when our boys did karate nowhere else would be good enough.

What are the greatest benefits you (or your child) get out of training? I think there are so many benefits. It’s physical activity, but it’s fun. There is a lot of time spent discussing skills that will benefit our boys their whole lives – confidence, respect, discipline, focus.

What is your favorite part (or type) of training? I love katas. The boys have really enjoyed Wushu so far.

What do you like best about the Black Belt Academy?

The instructors really care about the students. They are the best!

What would you say to someone else who is considering training at the Black Belt Academy?

Do it! You start training with people who are strangers, but they become like family. They will help you to learn, grow and push you to become your best.

What is your favorite non-karate activity that the academy sponsors, and why?

It’s so hard to pick one as our favorite. Probably the summer picnic. (We have been out of town for the other activities so far.)

Our family has a fun history with the Black Belt Academy. I was able to start training with Mr. Penny in 1996. My mom and two of my siblings all started together. It was my mom’s idea. I was in junior high, and I was really shy. Looking back I am so glad we trained with Mr. Penny. I gained a lot of self-confidence as I moved up the ranks toward my black belt. The karate school used to be in Toledo, and we were excited when the Perrysburg school opened. I got my black belt in 1999. My mom and brother got theirs shortly after. My younger brother and sister joined karate and also earned their black belts. I think they got their first degree the same time that I earned my second degree.

My first job was working at the Academy as an assistant instructor. It was the best job in the world, working with the best people. When I graduated high school I left to go to college in Utah. I moved back to Perrysburg after college and was able to get back to training, teaching and bringing in new students as a program director. When my husband and I started having kids I chose to be a stay at home mom. I always missed my karate family and looked forward to when our boys were ready to start training. I am so happy that my boys are able to train at the Black Belt Academy. A lot has changed in the years that I was away, but all the changes have made the school even better than before.

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