In the lobby of Tiger Schulmann’s Mixed Martial Arts (TSMMA) at Vails Gate, NY, a large group of parents look on as their children complete the remainder of kickboxing class. Jewel Alvarado begins gathering bags and gear from the cubby beneath her as she hurries her kids out the door. Homework, school activities, dinner and training routines must be adjusted to accommodate a new school year and being a single mom with children can be challenging. It is important that children learn self-discipline to become increasingly independent as they get older, and kickboxing classes are a great way to implement the structure needed to teach kids how to manage their own daily tasks.
As a mother of five, Jewel has been part of the TSMMA family for almost 9 years. Her youngest and only son, Rhett is now 8 years old and has benefited greatly from the structure of the TSMMA program by learning how to achieve and maintain self-discipline. Initially, Rhett was signed on as part of tradition to follow in the footsteps of siblings and cousins that trained before him. With four older sisters, Jewel realized that in addition to the discipline and self defense Rhett was learning, he had also gained a male role model in both of his instructors. Sensei Jose Montes and Joshu Shane Burgos have provided several children with support and structure on the mat that has carried over into the homes of each family. In certain situations, they do not replace an absent parent, but Sensei and Joshu have helped reinforce the standards of self-discipline expected by single parents. Jewel’s youngest daughter Alexza, a special needs child, also takes the kickboxing classes at TSMMA.
Although the frequency of training does not match that of her brother, who trains almost every day, Jewel is pleased with Alexza’s improved focus and discipline at home and school. “My kids love coming to kickboxing. Rhett especially enjoys learning new things and wants to imitate every move. I am grateful that Sensei and Joshu are there to offer my kids support when they get down on themselves. They have been wonderful role models and I couldn’t be happier that I have found strong, caring men that have served as a ‘father figure’ in their lives.” Jewel continues to manage the crazy schedule of transporting her kids to school, cheerleading, football and wrestling outside of kickboxing classes with TSMMA. Her dedication to training has become an important part of her weekly routine that allows her kids to maintain their fitness and have fun, but more importantly, secure the fundamentals of learning self defense, self-discipline and obtain the perks of instructors that serve as an ancillary support system for her kids.
By Lauren Rose