Most parents in the Martial Arts are used to hearing their kids complaining about going to class every once in a while, similarly to going to school in the morning. They might start using phrases such us “I don’t like Karate anymore”, “I don’t want to go to class”, and “can I stay home instead?” The real question is why.
After their initial excitement, their enthusiasm drops, but not necessarily their desire to complete their goals. That wish Is still there: they want to look like a black belt, feel like a black belt and be respected as a black belt but they don’t see it after 6 months of training so why continue? Learning how to stick around when things get tough is really with Martial Arts is all about, and a true meaning of being a black belt.
Training in the Martial Arts can truly be a family affair. We need the support of the senseis, the students and the parents. But what happens when you, as a parent, just let them go at the first sign of them getting bored? You would be teaching them that if they are tired, bored, or things get tough in the life they can simply ask you, and you can bail them out. We can all agree that’s is probably not going to happen when the kids grow up.
As educators, we know that these things will happen so we make an agreement with the parents and the student so they understand we are all on the same side. This promise is simple: we will guide you to your goal of being a black belt, but when you get tired you are not allowed to give up.
There are many things that can change a child’s desire to train. In some cases they simply don’t like exercising, and some others they dislike someone in the class whether it is the teacher or another student, and in most cases they are just pulled away from in activity they enjoy in order to do karate.
But unlike all other activities, Karate teaches you to be disciplined. The hardest part of being disciplined is staying on course. Everyone wants to be more disciplined, and see themselves become more accomplished, but usually this path takes a long time and it requires you to stay on the path. Children do not understand this concept yet and so it is our role as parents and educators to show it to them
What if other activities get on the way? This is a very normal occurrence, in fact there are always other activities the students already do. They could be football, baseball, dance, singing, etc. Ultimately this resembles life in general, you may have work, school, family, other commitments, and managing all these doe not get easier, each one requires some part of your busy schedule. The only way to prepare for the future is by practicing now. Martial arts does that, and more importantly instills the habit of not giving up even when time is an issue.
One of the very valuable resources we have at our disposal is the use of personal sessions. The sessions are 30 minutes long each and they go around you reschedule, in fact they can accommodate to various times and most of the time these lessons fit even the toughest of schedules.
Showing our kids the meaning of Martial Arts will always be more valuable than letting them quit. No one ever learned anything from quitting, except that it is easy.