Parents usually bring their children to me to help them develop discipline and self-confidence, and sometimes (but not always self-defence). Of course, not having much experience in what we do, many parents are unaware of the numerous other benefits that training with a top martial arts instructor can provide. Some of these are:
- Communication skills – good communication skills open doors in life. Poor communication skills close them. Good eye-contact, comfort in speaking to a group, are just some of what we teach.
- Self-confidence – increasing your child’s belief in what they can do, will have a direct impact in their progress at school, and beyond.
- Self-esteem – just because a student may not be competent at something, e.g. a certain kick, it shouldn’t diminish this student’s belief in their own value. We want every student to know how valuable, and wonderful they are. This is the first defence against bullying.
- Fearlessness- We teach children never to be afraid of their emotions. Accepting, and overcoming fear is part and parcel of Taekwon-Do training.
What parents can do:
Be assured that we will work hard to impart these benefits, partnering with the parents. You, the parent can help, massively by:
Almost every child spends some time, daily, in front of a TV or games console. Even 15-20 minutes daily Taekwon-Do practice, BEFORE electronic entertainment will massively help your child. They will enjoy class so much more because they are getting stronger and fitter.
Please make sure they make their class(es) every week. Of course, they will get sick from time to time. But, try to make as many classes as possible, even if all they can do is watch.
Children “live in the moment”. What they are doing “right now” is far more interesting than anything else. If they don’t want to go to class, it doesn’t mean they haven’t lost interest. Always judge the situation by whether they enjoy Taekwon-Do when they are actually, there, at class.
Deal with quitting
Not one us goes through life without feeling like giving up at one time or another. These challenges are wonderful opportunities to learn that by overcoming difficulties we end up stronger, and more resilient. We don’t want children to learn that “when the going gets tough, QUIT”.
EXAMPLE: Bobby does little to no practice. Now, because he isn’t improving, he loses motivation to come to class. This cycle can only be broken by Bobby making more effort and doing some practice. Unfortunately, what usually happens, is that he tells his parents he’s not enjoying Taekwon-Do anymore, and wants to quit. Some parents just agree. Wiser parents communicate with the instructor, find out what’s going on, and help Bobby find a way past this sticky period. Every Black Belt has gone through a sticky patch. Getting through it, is how they learnt perseverance! Quitting accomplishes nothing.
Another scenario, is that your child is practicing regularly, and is attracted to another activity that clashes with Taekwon-Do times. Of course, any instructor will be biased towards their own activity. But, in this case, I would suggest letting the child follow their heart. Communication with the instructor will help you to tell the difference between the two scenarios. It is worth considering, however, that it is usually to your child’s Taekwon-Do instructor, you/your child will come, in cases of misbehavior, bullying, etc…
We have the same goal – successful development of a, physically and emotionally, healthy child who will add value to society, as a self-sufficient, confident adult. Thanks for taking the time to read this.
Master S. Fitzgibbon, VII dan.