Smashing through barriers to get my black belt!


I’m Lisa Waterman, a mum of two and I have always secretly wanted to be a black belt in karate!

Where it all started…

It all started in my early teens when I watched the film Karate Kid for the first time. Apart from the self-defence aspect, the culture and teachings behind the martial art interested me, too. The importance of balance in your life, the fact that hard work pays off and commitment is needed to achieve your goals. It was inspiring to watch and that was when the seed was sown. Although sport was never really my thing and as a girly girl, I didn’t even consider karate a possibility. Karate was for boys, and girls did ballet or netball.

Fast forward 20 years and my son came home with a flyer from school advertising a karate class. He really wanted to give it a try so I took him to his first class. I was excited to see what it was like, living vicariously through him.

I practiced the moves with him after class and it really reignited my desire to learn karate. After a couple of lessons, I plucked up the courage to enquire if there was an adult class and was told that, in fact, many families train together.

So, I mulled it over and my mind went into overdrive giving me all the reasons that I shouldn’t give it a go:
What if I couldn’t do it?
Girls don’t do karate!
Mums don’t do karate!!!
I’d be the only adult in a class of 5 year olds!
What if I looked stupid?
What if I failed the exams?

Mums don’t do karate!!! I’d be the only adult in a class of 5 year olds! What if I looked stupid?
Lisa Waterman

But I put these limiting beliefs aside and decided to give it a try anyway. After all, Mr. Miyagi wouldn’t accept this kind of negative self-talk, would he?

I did it! I’m so glad I was brave enough to give it a go because, not only have I just achieved my black belt, but I have found a sport that I love too!

Getting here has built my fitness, my agility, my mental capacity and my determination. But, it has been so much fun. The best bit of all, though, is that I get to share something special with my little boy every week. Learning karate alongside him is a real leveller as we are both learning a new skill together. We both make mistakes and find ways to get better and overcome them. We also celebrate each other’s successes and, to be honest, he is the only other person who knows what it has taken to get to this point.

I also know that, in achieving this, I have shown my daughter that women can do anything, even if it is in something that is traditionally seen as a male sport.

We have seen this internationally over the past year too, with many female sports teams achieving great things. It was fantastic to watch the Lionesses rise to victory in the UEFA Women’s Championship last summer. Then, of course, the Red Roses and the England Women’s rugby league team have also shown that women and girls do have a place in what is perceived as a traditionally male sport. This is so inspiring for young girls and I hope we continue to see these changes.

Final thoughts…

So, take my story as a reminder to never give up on your dreams! You are never too old, or the wrong sex to go after what you want in life and find a sport you love!

Lisa Waterman helps women to win at life by sharing time management, self-care and lifestyle tips on her blog. The content is aimed at busy Mums to make Mum life a little bit easier!