Ralph Macchio was pretty good back in the day as Danielson in Karate Kid, but I'm pretty sure 11-year-old Samantha Knopfer could kick his ass today and any day if it came down to it. Knopfer has earned four black belts in martial arts and shows commitment and discipline that could rival any adult.
She's competed across the country, and even teaches others at her father's martial arts studio in Yorktown, Virginia. To earn the black belts, she had to run 5 miles, do 500 push-ups, 500 sit-ups and a whole lot of kicks and other movements. But it's her passion that's most impressive.
Her father told WTKR about her desire to perform no matter what:
During her last competition she got to the very last round before she ever admitted that she wasn't feeling very well. I took her to the doctor and she had pneumonia. She fought like a champion, and she had pneumonia.
That's a little frightening, and with her dad in the biz, there's certainly a worry that perhaps she's being pushed too hard to fulfill his dreams, or whatever people say when children excel and are driven like this. I don't think, however, that's anything anyone can force into you. Instead it's a drive that comes from deep inside. Sometimes I wish I saw more of it in my own children; sometimes I wish I felt more of it myself.
While there are potential dangers in such intensity, there's also amazing potential when it's fostered, especially for children. For Knopfer her accomplishments have been transformative in other areas of her life as well, especially when it comes to self confidence.
"If someone would speak to her, she would just about crawl inside of my shirt," her father said. Now, while still soft spoken and struggling with a learning disability, she commands attention. I can't wait to see what else she accomplishes in life.
Do your children have the kind of drive and determination to do something like this? Do you think such focus at a young age is a good thing?
Image via WTKR