Back to School and Continuing Martial Arts Training

back_to_school_000021155839_900x675This time of the year, we get the inevitable question of “I don’t know if my child is going to continue his or her training”.  Our concern is our child is starting a new grade or my child is starting school this year and we don’t want to overwhelm them.  Myself being a parent of four children ranging from the ages of 24-15 faced these same questions.  Especially my first child or the child that struggled with school. I have also 14 years of teaching experience.

We have seen the pros and cons of martial arts training and back to school.  We have discovered that children that continue their Martial Arts training actually do better in school and transition better then ones who quit.  Students continue to work on discipline, self-control, self- confidence, respect, goal setting and most important focus. These are all attributes that students need, parents teach and teachers love!!! Maintaining a healthy schedule of work and play also does well for transitions.  Taekwondo class helps relieve stress, continues friendships and a support system and again shows them perseverance.

Please talk to your instructor and share with them your concerns.  Sometimes students may need to come to less classes during the week.  If they are normally coming three to four times or even five times a week, then maybe they should go to two times a week until they transition.  Sometimes it may require just setting up a private lesson here and there to help them keep up with their training during that transition time.  We have several things we can do to help figure out the best approach.  Please consider all options to keep your child training if possible.  Coming back into training is very difficult. They may not want to come back because they will know their friends are higher rank then them, or may feel like they no longer have the ability to keep up.  We are here to help in any way possible.

What do you do if your child wants to quit or take a break?

Whether you have a Tiny Tiger, Junior or you are an adult.  At some point during your training you WILL experience difficulties in getting your training in.  It can be scheduling conflicts, entering into a new grade level at school, taking vacations, illness/injury, playing sports, work schedules, or just plain burnout.  The list goes on and on. But what do you do if you or your child wants to quit or maybe take a break?

Although Martial Arts is a sport like soccer, baseball, or football, it is also very different. Unlike these sports, we are not seasonal.  We train year round.  Training in Martial Arts becomes a “Way of Life” an “Education”.  We do help with endurance, coordination, balance, muscle development, and general exercise like other sports.  But we are so much more.  We develop the Mind and Spirit, as well as the Body.  The body is just one part of our training. We train our body through the use of forms, self defense, sparring, weapon training, warm ups, and general workouts.  Training in Martial Arts develops many other things as well.  Through our continual training we learn to Focus, have Self Control, better Discipline, build Confidence, learn to Respect others, learn to set long term goals, understand Perseverance,  Loyalty and Courtesy. These things are almost extinct in organized sports.

Studies have shown that kids that are fully involved in a Martial Arts program have better grades, better behavior, better confidence and have a better understanding of long term goal setting.  These kids go on to do better in school, continue their college educations, are able to resist peer pressure as they get older and are able to handle the stresses of life much better than a child that is not involved in Martial Arts.  Martial Arts teaches our children to understand how to be patient and that through hard work and commitment we can achieve any goal that we set for ourselves.

I am a mother of four.  My children have done all the organized sports at some point or another, from soccer, football, select baseball, cheerleading, choir, and competed in Taekwondo. They were all involved in Pre-AP and AP courses through middle school and high school.  Their father traveled quite extensively for his job.  So I was basically a single mom. Getting them to all their activities was very taxing at points, but we knew from our Instructors that “quitting or taking a break from our Martial Arts training was never an option”.  When we were color belts we didn’t always make it each week to classes, so we would get extra classes in the following week or we would get a private lesson to get us caught up.  We would talk to our Instructor and let him know that we were having difficulty coming in and he would always figure out a way to keep us involved and motivated to continue.  We did not want to miss our next belt testing or get behind our fellow students.  So we made it work.  Once they became Black Belts some of the kids wanted to “take a break”.  We did allow this for some and others we kept motivated to continue their training by getting them more involved in competitions or by enrolling them into the Leadership program.  This took their training to a whole new level and helped to keep them training.  Before allowing them to quit or take a break though we would always have them speak with their Instructor to figure out the true reason for them wanting to quit or take a break.  I have to say that I contribute the fact that all my kids are confident, goal oriented and well balanced because of their continued Martial Arts training.

Another thing to think of is we teach self defense.  Coming and learning for a short time and a few self defense moves WILL NOT protect your child in case they were ever attacked or if they should be bullied.  It is learned through continual practice and expanding on the basics to more advanced techniques that they can be truly prepared to protect themselves.  If they are in a bully situation,  it is only through having the confidence that comes from their continued training they will have what it takes to stand up to the bully.

In conclusion.  If your child wants to quit or take a break, evaluate what the true reason is. Sit down with Ms. Jackson and discuss what are some of the issues you are experiencing. It is our experience that students who take a break of two weeks or more have a harder time coming back to training.  They may get discouraged seeing their fellow students ahead of them in rank. Maybe taking a week off will help to re-motivate them.  Try only coming two days a week instead of the 3-4 that you have been coming.  Try coming to just one curriculum class and take a weapon class or sparring class if that is something they are interested in. If they are feeling like they are not getting the material, schedule a private lesson, this usually helps a great deal of kids feel like they are more prepared.  If boredom is setting in get them involved in tournaments or sign them up for the Leadership Team.  This will help to push their training to new levels. Just remember that consistency in your training is key to the success in Martial Arts Training.  Quitting or taking a break should always be the last resort.

We hope this helps.  Please see the Instructors for more information.

 

Why is setting goals important?

There is a lot to be said about setting goals.  Whether they are for your Martial Arts training, relationships, financial or education/business.  Having goals gives you the opportunity to write out a plan and stick to it.

 

The life skill for the Month of January is Goals in Martial Arts.  What would you like to accomplish in your martial arts training?  Is to be more flexible, have more power, work on your rythm and timing, increase your scores in testing or tournament, work on sparring, board breaks, or overall presentation?  Learn a new weapon, compete for the first time, win state champ or world champ? Earn your next instructor collar? Join leadership?  The goals are endless!!

First step, write out your short term and long term goals.  Share them with instructor, family and friends.  Post them where you will see them everyday.

Second step, decide on the path to achieve the goal or goals.

Third step, accomplish them.

We are your instructors are here to help you to reach for the stars and accomplish anything and everything you put your mind to.

2012 is your year!!!   Believe, Achieve, Succeed!!!!!!

“A goal without a plan is just a wish”    Larry Elder