Tim & Jill Ricketts, Thomas & Emma

Dear Mr Bonthuys,

I wanted to write to express my appreciation to everyone at the Martial Art World Black Belt Academy for the experience that you have given to my whole family and I since we became members.

As you know Thomas was experiencing behavioural and learning difficulties at primary school, to the extent that I think they were seriously considering holding him back a year. He was unable to concentrate for any length of time, and was a disturbance to other class members. We always worked hard with the school to try and overcome his problems, which were leading to him achieving well below his average age for his schoolwork across the board.

Since he took up Tae kwon do at the age of eight he improved almost from day one. The structure and discipline of the Dojang helped to re-enforce everything we were trying to teach him at home. He found positive role models and an environment where he could develop both physically and emotionally. As he progressed through the grades he enjoyed taking on the responsibility that came with the rank seniority, including helping with Little Dragons. The continual teachings about life skills that he received gave us a common vocabulary to use when discussing issues related to behaviour or social responsibility at home.

During the last twelve months Thomas’ reading has improved by more than 18 months such that he is now slightly ahead of the average for his age. He is already achieving results in maths and science at the end of Year 5 that are required by the end of Year 6. While these are not exceptional results for a child with Thomas’ background, from where he was two years ago they are little short of miraculous. He was also awarded the Star Pupil badge for his year for a full term, for which attitude is important rather than academic achievement. I firmly believe that the tuition he has received from the Martial Art World academy has been instrumental in this improvement, and has helped him on his way to becoming a true martial artist who will in turn uphold the values of the Academy.

For my part, starting to learn martial arts in my forties has been a challenge, although never less than enjoyable. I have always enjoyed testing and now I have found a discipline where I can continually improve myself physically and mentally. I am as determined as Thomas to progress to the level of Black Belt such that we can enjoy our progression through the grades together. It has certainly given me a new focus, as a direct result of the positive mental attitude taught at the Academy I was spurred into successfully completing my MBA degree which had taken me five years and which I was unlikely to have completed had things remained as they were.

Finally even Emma has enjoyed her Little Ninja classes; she has developed from the shy six year old that started the classes to a very confident member of the group, and she has particularly enjoyed the learning activities.

All these benefits are of course in addition to the obvious improvement in self confidence and the childrens’ ability to handle a difficult situation and ultimately to defend themselves which is an increasing concern these days.

Thank you to all the instructors who have helped us and of course to you for your vision and leadership in creating an academy with the highest standards, which is nonetheless accessible to a family such as ours in which we have such different requirements and can all enjoy training.

With Best Regards,

Tim & Jill Ricketts, Thomas & Emma

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