When the Firefighters Challenged the Karate Kids

Back in 2002 when I was an assistant instructor we had the firefighters jump in to class. This was one of the most memorable classes. Here’s my account of it:

Members of The Gilbert Fire Department paid a spontaneous visit to our Little Dragons on January 25th. Late Friday morning, the three-to-five-year-old beginning karate students played a game of tug-of-war. Newland Sensei decided to mix things up and invited the parents to play against their kids.

Three moms stepped up to the mat opposite six white-uniformed karate kids. Sensei got involved in the immense struggle and the makeshift rope broke in two, sending the adults onto the floor.

There were no injuries when the Gilbert Fire Department came to the rescue, in a manner of speaking. Gilbert’s firefighters from Station 52 (C-Shift), using World Gym’s workout machines at the time, happened to notice the tug-of-war gone awry. “When we saw the first rope break, we asked the Sensei if he wanted one of our ropes brought in,” said firefighter Justin Welch.

Then the firefighters challenged the Little Dragons to a match. The firefighters supplied their rope-in-a-bag and the tug-of-war commenced. After a grueling struggle, the four firefighters went sprawling on the mat between the two teams. Sensei declared, “The firefighters demand a rematch!” and the battle repeated. Once again, the Little Dragon karate kids won victory to the sound of cheers and applause from the on-looking parents, karate instructors, World Gym staff, and gym members present.

“Good job,” the firefighters said to the kids as they held out their hands to the Little Dragons: Joshua, Ryan, Andrew, Maddie, Kori, and Alex, for high fives.

Afterward, Newland Sensei told the Little Dragons, “You never know when a firefighter’s going to come in and say, ‘Where are the karate kids? I want to challenge them to tug-of-war.’ You have to be ready and always do your best.”

Still in awe, one boy exclaimed, “That was cool!” To which everybody agreed.

This small side trip in everyday lives showed: if you’re prepared to face a challenge, you never know what magic can happen. It also proved what great sports our firefighters are, and showed their involvement in the community.

Leave a Comment