In the entertainment world, ‘triple threat’ is a term used to describe someone who can sing, act and dance. Jennifer Lopez, for instance. There are signs that Kara is developing into something of a sporting triple threat herself.
Threat 1: Gymnastics
Over the past couple of years, Kara has been focussing increasingly on gymnastics. She has progressed from doing an hour every Saturday morning to 9½ hours a week in the development squad. She participated in her first competition last November. Earlier this month, she went to her second event and returned with a third-place medal for her bars routine.
Just watching her stretch is enough to make me – who has all the flexibility of an oak tree crossed with an arthritic hippo – pull a muscle.
Threat 2: Dancing
Kara is also a keen dancer, ever since she was first captivated by Strictly as a three-year-old. Saturday evenings in autumn are dance nights in our household. Indeed, she doesn’t need much of an excuse to show off her dancing skills. Recently she has started choreographing her own routines to her favourite songs.
She has even started going back to dance classes on Saturday mornings. When she stepped up a level at gym, she stopped these because it was just too much of a commitment. But while I don’t think she will return full-time, she’s keen to attend where she can just for fun.
Her gymnastics training provides some obvious transferable skills here. She has balance, flexibility, gracefulness and core strength that are important in both disciplines, as well as the ability to learn routines and focus on technical precision.
She’s very much a Latin dancer, with natural salsa moves. Whereas her father’s only association with salsa is of the kind you dip tortilla chips in.
Threat 3: Martial arts
The most recent string to Kara’s bow is martial arts. This came about when she decided she no longer wanted to go to Beavers as well as Rainbows, which opened up a gap in her schedule on Mondays.
Yet again her gymnastics training gives her a solid base from which to start: balance, flexibility, core strength. Add to that her liking for hitting things (especially if they’re named Isaac or Toby) and it was pretty much a nailed-on certainty that she would enjoy this. Sure enough, she does.
We were in London last weekend for the Chinese New Year celebrations. As part of this, we saw a demonstration by the London Chinatown TaeKwonDo (LCTKD) martial arts school. Kara and Isaac were both taken by the displays of power, agility and precision, which included some phenomenal leaping high kicks that could have come straight out of The Matrix.
Of course, Kara needed no second invitation afterwards when asked to attempt her own high kick. Unsurprisingly, she kicks with all the power and flexibility you would expect from a well-trained gymnast.
Somewhat reminiscent of the crane kick from the original Karate Kid film, no?
It’s early days with her martial arts. But somehow I have a feeling she will embrace it with the same enthusiasm, competitiveness and expertise with which she performs somersaults and salsa.
Triple threat, indeed.