The Spark! – October 2017

A Note From The Director
Dear Parents,
I am excited to share with you the promotion of our first black belt student, Yonatan. In its 10th year, our Seido Karate program led by Sensei Karin Hillman is a small but very special part of Discovery. I attended the promotion last month and was so moved by the ceremonies. Not only did the students have to complete in a number of kata and sparring challenges, but they also each had to speak about what karate means to them and how it has helped them overcome other obstacles in their life. Yonatan talked about Karin, his family, his first promotion at the age of five when he cried, and also the three deep breaths he learned from karate meditation that helps him outside the dojo as well. 
At such a young age, children are able to experience the full diversity of benefits from a sport or art. It can not only help with fitness, physicality, focus, dedication, and creativity but also confidence, self-awareness, and stress relief. I am reminded of the time one of my five year-old dance students said that when she dances, she feels like she is floating on clouds. She really hit the mark. When children can completely immerse themselves in something they love and enjoy, you see them blossom and thrive. Watching this in action, teachers are then further inspired. A beautiful exchange between teacher and student is created. I am truly inspired from the promotion and many days here as I watch the dancers, gymnasts, and athletes in our presence. Congratulations to Yonatan and Karin. 
Warm Wishes,

Katie Kheel
                 An Interview with
Karin Hillman

Earlier this month, Karin Hillman, our venerable Karate instructor, watched as her first student to reach black belt level was promoted. This tremendous achievement as a teacher is one to be celebrated. 
I sat down with her last week to talk a little bit about how she got to where she is today. 
TC: What was it like to move to NYC from Israel as a young professional dancer?
KH: Shocking. In one word, it would be shocking. I came from a village, a quiet village, that’s where I grew up. I did train in Tel Aviv in dance, and reached a level there where there was no higher to go. Since I didn’t like the director of the company, it was a great opportunity to come to study in New York with the best teachers in the world. 
(Karin was on tour with an Israeli company in the US and UK, and instead of returning home after the UK leg of the tour, she went back to the US and stayed.)
TC: Why and how did you decide to start studying Seido Karate?
KH: It started with my son, who was a student here at Discovery, in the gymnastics program. He wanted to be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. So I found Seido on the UWS for children, and I of course was watching his classes and part of his classes were forms that looked like dance – choreographed karate movement called kata – and I wanted to do that. It was in the back of my mind for awhile. Then, I was attacked by a teenager while attending a performance in the city. I completely froze. I was so scared, and no voice would come out. After that I found out when and where my son’s karate teacher was teaching, at the Seido headquarters, and that was my first class, at the age of 43. And this January it’s going to be 21 years. 
TC: What motivated you to begin teaching Seido Karate?
KH: I didn’t want, especially girls and women, to be afraid like I was. I wanted them to be self-confident, which I wasn’t. My self-confidence came when I started to win tournaments. My movement was beautiful, but it didn’t have the power. I always was a girl that was shy and naive, and so if I can make one child get that self-confidence I gained then I feel like I can do something. 
TC: How do your Karate students inspire you?
KH: It’s challenging, but so rewarding when you see the kids grow. They become powerful kids. Humble and powerful; that’s the combination. Focused, self-suffiencet on those things that they’re learning. When you see a child on their first class, and they’re ashamed to even say what their name is, and then you see how class after class they get a little louder and a little louder, and the confidence starts to come in. When you see a kid that has trouble focusing, keeping their mind on only one place, there is something that happens when I connect with these kids that changes that. They want to succeed when they learn that they can be powerful and confident. 
TC: What has been your proudest moment as an instructor?
KH: Yonatan’s promotion. When you have a student that starts at the age of four, and never stops, until he is now eleven and he is now a black belt, then I have done something right . It’s just the way that he performed. The way that he did it made me very proud. His focus. His sincerity. His thankfulness to his family. Just the way he was. He wasn’t scared. He was powerful. He was humble. What he talked about in his promotion essay was that he uses the meditation that we practice in training when he’s nervous. He trained himself really hard. 
Karin teaches all belt levels of Seido karate at Discovery, Tuesday-Thursday of each week. Spots are still available in the current semester, and registration is open for our Winter/Spring term!
Register for Seido Karate at Discovery
Spotlight On:
Karate Promotion
Quick Links
The Best Kids’ Books for Every Age
3 Do’s and Don’ts for Raising Emotionally Intelligent Kids
35 Books Every Kid Should Read
Discovery Announcements!
Giant Halloween Party
– Our annual Halloween gym bash will take place on October 31st from 11:15am-12:30pm. The event is open to ages 0-4, and the entry fee is $15 per child, cash or check only. RSVP today!
Save the Date!
– Our annual Nutcracker Suite Winter Dance Recital will take place on Sunday, December 10th. More details forthcoming!
Winter/Spring 2018 Classes
– Registration is now open for Winter/Spring 2018 classes, so sign up now to secure your child’s spot!

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