Saturday, October 1, 2011

Full Contact Teaching

With a loathing fear of my own lifespan, I have to report that much of what I learned in school had nothing to do with the text books.  Being a product of the mid to late 1900s, I learned that if I picked a fight and lost, I couldn’t tattle on my “victim.” I discovered that a paddling in school often resulted in a paddling at home. I found that being right and snarky was the same as being wrong.

For some good reasons, and maybe a few silly ones, those days are gone.

Fortunately, parents can leverage martial arts training to augment their kids politically correct academic environment and reinforce the behavioral lessons taught at home. I’m talking the basics here; be polite and respectful to others, be quiet when its not your turn to talk, be confident when it is. You own your body and no one should touch it without permission, and if they won’t leave you alone, make them.

But these are not lessons one can simply read about and fully understand.

I’m not advocating a return to classroom corporal punishment, I am however, suggesting that not all life lessons can be fully grasped by all students through verbal or written instructions. To swim, you have to get wet. To practice removing an attacker’s grasp, you have to be grasped.

So let me be clear, because you need to understand that martial arts training is by its nature and definition different than math, science, or music. As an instructor, I will kick your child in the seat of their pants. I will use a turning hook kick to tap them on their back, pat their belly, and then send wind chills past their face so that they understand how to block, weave, and counterstrike. I will be grabbing the back of your child’s collar when they try to do a high kick so that I can safely grab their calf and stretch it even higher without them falling down. Martial arts is about contact.  Martial arts without contact is called dance class, and its offered by any number of entrepreneurs in the local strip mall. If that sentence alarms you, you’re probably not a great candidate to be a martial arts parent.

Public and private schools can be a great place to learn reading, writing, and arithmetic. Kids need more. Adding a martial arts program to your child’s life will reinforce the basic behavioral lessons they’re learning at home, provide great physical conditioning, instill a sense of self-worth, and enable them to maintain ownership of their being.

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