Tuesday, December 06, 2011


Super Son is interested in martial arts.

This is also the understatement of the year. 

Considering that the year is nearly over I am confident in saying that 
but seriously the kid watched a single Power Ranger episode and was
begging, pleading and persisting.

Super Son has played baseball and soccer even tried a swim team
all with moderate enthusiasm and many lessons about finishing what you start.

As parents, Hero Husband and I agreed early on that with 
exception of the prodigy factor our children would be limited to one thing.
We did not want to be be the parents to the children that were over scheduled
and frantically serving only as a shuttle service for their progeny.

Oh and preferably their chosen "one thing" only had practice once a week.

We selfishly wanted a life with our kids.
Something kind of bucolic where they could frolic in the back yard 
without being forever harangued about where the helmet or cleats were left last.

Super Son swore this was his "one thing"
and so I started researching.

There are roughly 9,246 types of martial arts in the world.
How is the mother to Super Son to decide which Do or Kwan will work for her child?

I think this is when I opened a bottle of wine.

The details are a bit fuzzy.

I started with geography.
If this adventure was to be successful we would not be schlepping across town.

This narrowed it down to 2,427

Then I went on to website.
Old school may be cool and I may rock the random vintage t-shirt,but
if your schedule and contact information aren't online when I am manically
trying to remember something it just ain't happenin' bro.

Sadly the next consideration was just that, basic consideration.

I sent out email inquiries to the schools that we were considering
in our area of those I only heard back from 4.
See tips on how NOT to run your business.

I had some vague ideas of what I wanted.
Comfortable chairs for me to sit in,
nice parents to chat with,
proximity to shopping.

But I really didn't know what I wanted in a Martial Arts studio or teacher.
I wanted Super Son to have fun.
I wanted it to be a learning experience and not glorified daycare.
I wanted him to learn skills that focused on himself,
not on karate-chopping randomly
in a bid for world domination.
Self control, body awareness all that jazz.

Julie called me back and invited Super Son to a "sample" class.
She answered my annoyingly vague and run on sentence 'please tell me what 
question to ask cause I don't know what I'm doing here', questions.

And so we went.

He had an amazing time
and if I didn't know it at the beginning when they 
started class with a short meditation,
I did by the end when they finished
by chant/yelling an answer to their teacher's question
"When I get angry what do I do?"



Be Kind

And now it is my lovely son who is haranguing me to get in the car and 
take him to the dojang so he isn't late for classes.

He even made me promise that if it was me that made him 
late I would do pushups too.

The threshold for obtaining your stripes on your belt is not
perfection, but a solid knowledge of the skills that means you can
practice meaningfully at home.

You cannot advance to the next belt color without
also obtaining your stripe for achieving a set goal
at home
at school
and a community service project.

When signing up each student is informed about their contract.

Their parents are signing a contract to pay for their child to receive instruction,
the teacher is signing the contract to teach the child
and the child must then agree to some form of commitment to 
share the responsibility in this little life triangle.

Super Son chose to make his bed.
Every day.  In daily recognition of his contribution to our agreement.

And by golly he has done it.

He and the other students show signs of respect when they enter the dojang.

They participate and have fun while learning the form and creating community.

The teachers take it seriously and expect

great things

from these crazy hooligans.

And you know what.  I think they just might get it.

And the chairs are comfortable.

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