Recently I bumped into an old student of mine while buying a bagel at my favorite Bagel store. I stood on line waiting for my Bagel when I noticed this young man. I immediately realized that I knew this individual but didn’t know from where – I know a great deal of people. After a few glances back I realized he had been a student when he was about 5 years old. His face looked the same but he sure did grow up. I said hello and he immediately said “Sensei” and bowed. I was happy to see him and asked what he had been up to all these years, he was now 19 years old. After a few seconds he told me he thinks of our school and my teachings quite often. I told him he should come back to train again. He said he wished he never quit.
This is where the story gets interesting. Not very often do I hear that students quit, normally they always tell me they will be back someday. This very rarely comes to fruition – but many promises have been made. We spoke a bit more and I said if he wished he didn’t quit, then why did he? He then went on to explain, he was a kid at the time and he blames his mom for letting him quit.
This is kind of ironic – I see sometimes how children make it difficult on their parents and also how the parents do their best to continually motivate the children, but in the long run give up. It seems like the words I here most in my business is I can’t force them to do something they don’t want to do. Plus I am sure paying to get aggravated is not something they want either. I can’t disagree more with a parent when they make this statement. I am a father of a 7 year old daughter and if I don’t force her to do what is good for her, then who will? I believe if I listened to her she would be eating chocolate for Breakfast, lunch and Dinner and staying home playing on her DS2 video game.
I made the conscious choice that she would not quit martial arts. You may ask how I do this, simply put; we never ever discussed it being an option, never had the discussion, nor will we. Secondly, I do what ever I can to keep her as engaged as possible. We do many special events and watch movies and read books continuously on the martial arts. The martial arts is her second home, like it is for many of my students. What if your child wanted to quit school, would you let them? Obviously not – I hope. I know you are going to say this is not school. I realize that, in school they don’t learn how to defend themselves, ward off pier pressure, in school physical activity has been limited to only a few hours per week and most of the time it is not concentrated physical activity. So you are right when you say it is not school.
Oh – did I mention that at a martial arts school you learn how to learn. How you ask, simply put it is the methods in which martial arts are taught. Martial Arts are taught in many ways - mental lessons, physical and spiritual each method is tied into the visual, auditory and touch through physical activity. We are also experts at what we call Edu-tainment, education and entertainment combined. We also enable our students to develop confidence, how? - Through a bunch of mini successes and failures, each day is a lesson. So rather then thinking of martial arts as an extra curricular activity think of it as a life-enhancement program. Something that ties into school and works hand in hand, in fact it is your ticket to peace of mind as they get older.
So would I ever suggest allowing your child to quit – of course not. Martial arts are absolutely the answer. Even if your child doesn’t intend on becoming a martial arts expert, a teacher or continuing for ever, achieving a certain proficiency in it will change their lives everlastingly. I know this because many of my students are police officers, doctors, lawyers, accountants, nurses, and entrepreneurs, we have thousands of success stories. If I could only jump into the future to show you how the martial arts will enhance your child’s life you would never consider ever letting you child stop. Martial arts are simply the best thing for your child ever.
If you are running into some struggles and need help, we are experts at motivating students. Please either call us or stop in. In closing I urge you to think about this – if one lesson, one move, one shift in perspective – kept your child from harms way, wouldn’t the stress, struggle and investment be totally worth it. I think so!
Shared Experience by Mullero Shihan
Written by Alberigo Shihan