A dojo in Maple Ridge is home to a couple of medal-winning parents who started karate simply because they were tired of just watching their kids from the sidelines.
A little over three years ago, Angela McPhaden signed up her son Garret for karate at Curran's Karate. Then she sat and watched.
When Garret graduated from tiger class to family class, Mom stopped making excuses like "I'm too old for this" and "I don't have time," and signed herself up.
"It's a very big commitment. Minimum five years to black belt," said McPhaden, explaining that she convinced herself that if she was going to do this, she was going to have
to stick with it to show her kids that she's not a quitter.
Fast-forward two and a half years.
McPhaden recently competed in her first provincial championships and took the top prize in the ladies masters division.
The 43-year-old former advertising executive, turned mom, turned mortgage-brokering student, turned karate provincial champion, beat women who had higher belts than she does.
"The decision to compete in tournaments this year is one more goal that I had decided to set for myself. I knew that I would always regret it if I didn't at least give it a try," explained McPhaden, who has an advanced blue belt (blue with a purple stripe.)
"Garret is always happy that he's a higher belt than mom," she said.
Garret, nine, has a purple belt and her seven-year-old daughter Jessica, who joined karate six months after her mom, is a tiger black belt.
Sensei Ron Curran is the owner of the family-friendly dojo.
"You can be a soccer coach, but you can't play soccer with your kids. In karate, they come here to the dojo and can be peers with their kids," explained Curran.
Curran's Karate student John Bartkowiak also won at provincials. He kicked his way to a men's masters first-place win, the same category he won the year before. He also won silver at the 2011 Sato Cup Invitational.
Bartkowiak, 42, started practising karate because his sons Cole, now 10, and Mitchell, seven, were already involved.
"I've always taught my boys that it doesn't matter if you win or lose, as long as you know you did your best. Karate takes this from theory into practice," said Bartkowiak, a green belt.
"We have a saying at the dojo: fall down seven times, get up eight. These are words you can live by."