Parent You Should Know: Miko Peled

Miko Peled and family | Provided Photo

Miko Peled has been practicing and teaching karate for over 30 years, with a full-time position as an instructor until about 10 years ago, when he moved from California to the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, D.C., and changed his career—to writing and public speaking.

Peled’s three eldest children, who are now all adults, “basically grew up in karate school,” Peled says, and they loved it. Now, he says they’ve convinced him to teach his two younger children, Umar (4) and Nuni (5), the martial art, along with local kids.

“I added karate classes [back into my schedule] as a way to, first of all, provide this great treasure, which I believe karate is, for my younger children, and also to start offering [karate classes to kids] here in the neighborhood where I live,” Peled says.

Peled shared his experience with karate, writing and public speaking with Washington FAMILY, including the ways his career has had an impact on him, his children and his parenting.

It can be hard to manage your time as a parent with just a full-time job, and adding a new part-time karate gig adds to that load. Why was it important for you as a parent to take on this new role?

Balancing all of that with spending time with the kids, of course it is challenging because I’ve got my regular job and then I have this to deal with, but it’s also a way, I believe, to enhance my [kids’] life, right? Having heard what I did for [their] older siblings—and they pushed for me to do this—it was a sign that if they feel so strongly about (and having gone through) the experience, that I should do this.

Read more: Parent You Should Know: Saira Mir

Have there been any skills or life lessons that you’ve been able to teach your kids from and through karate?

[During class], the sitting around kind of matchups that we have, and talking about these life skills—like respect, like discipline, what does discipline mean. People often think that discipline is something that you discipline a child [when he is misbehaving], and that’s very often what children perceive when they hear the word discipline, but really discipline is this wonderful tool that if you learn how to utilize it, you can do really great things… [Class allowed us to break]down what discipline actually means and why it’s something that’s beneficial to us as people, and [bring] it down to the level where kids can really see the benefit and understand how it works.

Read more: Supporting Mental and Emotional Health Through Karate

Have you also been able to apply some lessons to parenting you’ve learned with your job writing and public speaking?

Well, my kids see me read and write a lot… They sit down, and they’ll read and write and pretend that they’re typing. They emulate those things, and they’ll see me on YouTube, or stuff that I do with interviews and all that, and they’re very comfortable standing up and doing stuff in front of people, which is really cool. So, in the karate class, we’ll have an exercise. We do a few repetitions. Let me sit down, and somebody will come up and do it in front of the class. It’s a great exercise in standing up in front of a crowd because a lot of people hate public speaking or fear standing up in front of the class. Well, if you do it a lot, it becomes natural. So, we do that a lot. We do that all the time.

What’s something that your kids really enjoy doing during karate class?

My daughter—she’s very flexible naturally, so she likes kicking really high. And so, she loves kicking, obviously. Her younger brother is kind of [a] rough and tumble kind of guy. He loves… standing there and punching the bag. He just loves that. He has a real solid kind of physique. They both love to wrestle.

Family Favorites

Family activity: Playing and hiking in Rock Creek Park
Family movie: “Home Alone”
Post-karate meal: Dinner at The Diner, on 18th Street
Song: “Everything Grows” by Raffi and “The Lollipop Song” – Bluey



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