Posts Tagged ‘Parenting’

Before my wife and I had children, learning self-defence and being able to protect myself was a personal decision not shared by my wife.  Her philosophy was to never put yourself in risky situations to begin with and if faced with a threat, just run away.  It’s a simplistic way to look at things, but ok, fair enough if that gives her enough peace of mind.  For myself, however, I like to live in a Walter Mitty world where getting myself out of a tight situation using my self-defence training was a real possibility so I signed up for various martial arts through my life, with Krav Maga being on the list.

good parenting quote 1Then, our two daughters were born and I began to look at life a little differently.  I became less inwardly focussed on my self-preservation and my priority turned to how can I best protect my daughters that the brutality of life sometimes presents?  In spite of my desire to want to be around to always protect them, I knew that it was not only impractical but harmful to their own development and road to independence.  As any parent soon realizes as their children grow up, they have their own hopes, dreams, and way of doing things.  In the early days, you can just tell them what to do and they’ll listen, but after too early an age they soon start talking back and want to do things their way.  The best you can do is just introduce them to positive experiences and hope that your examples resonate with them enough that it sparks an interest in them to continue.

In my case, I introduced our two girls to the dojo quite early in their lives, and the Krav Maga kids class was their first foray into the martial arts world.  For my older daughter, the concept of self-protection was so impactful that she then asked if she could take judo to supplement the ground game that is more lacking in Krav Maga.  It turned out to be a good decision on her part, because she soon became quite adept at it and a natural talent that she won many competitions and continues being involved in the sport to this day.  So for her, introducing her to martial arts has been very beneficial for her overall development.  Conversely, however, it hasn’t quite been the same for the other daughter, who is 4 years younger.  While she accompanied us to the BC Winter Games when the older daughter was competing, while I was cheering her on, my younger daughter (9 at the time) was patiently and quietly sitting beside me knitting, reading, or working on her colouring book.  She sat there the entire day, which I recall being 9 hours long, with no complaints at all. But was she interested in martial arts and watching her sister compete?  Not at all.

You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this.  Well, as a parent we try to do the best for our children, and in spite of our best intentions, we can only do so much.  However, as long as we act as good role models and do what we say we will, our children notice and hopefully, with all the things we throw at the wall, some of it will actually stick.  In my older daughter’s case, even though she hasn’t taken Krav Maga for quite a while now there’s a recent experience which I think is worth telling.  The other week my wife and I took them out for ice cream, and on the walk back up the block to where we parked the car, our older daughter was walking far, far ahead.  Our younger daughter then started running towards her, hoping to surprise her and possibly give her a little scare.  In the end, it turns out that my older daughter sensed that someone was running up behind her, and while having no idea that it was her sister, turned to face the threat while sub-consciously adopting the semi-passive stance.  It’s comforting to know that some good habits are still ingrained.

And for the not-at-all-interested-in-martial-arts-daughter?  It turns out that last year she introduced the “head-touching game” to her classmates, which is a warm-up game she learned years ago in the Krav Maga class.  While its main purpose is to teach the student situational awareness and being able to block a slap to the head, it’s presented as a fun activity.  Now the kids she introduced it to last year spread it to other kids, and now they’ve adopted it as one of the activities they play at recess and lunch.  Unfortunately, my daughter was last tagged as “it” so she now needs to pass it on to someone else.  And the first thing I said to her when she told me that was, “You need to develop your situational awareness better”.  To which she nodded and agreed.

So, there’s still hope for the rest of us.

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Being a parent in today’s world can be harder than ever, not only are the choices more than ever but also the financial considerations. What decision should you make with regards to your child in trying to give them the best and most supportive childhood you can.

Recently I was listening to the Sam Harris podcast Episode 137 title safe spaces, in it the guest Jonathan Haidt discuss his new book the codling of the American mind. Though I am loosely paraphrasing (listen to the podcast if you want the actual conversation) what they talked about, they essentially talked about the toxic nature of the helicopter parent of the 90s and early 2000s that led to a generation of unconfident anxiety-ridden individuals with no confidence who struggle to make decisions and explore the world. They also discuss the “new” movement of free-range parenting, which to me shouldn’t be a NEW anything, it should just be good parenting.

To martial artists, the answer has always been clear. Put your kids in martial arts from an early age. No matter what you think about the school system it seems they are increasingly scared to allow children to be physical even in a healthy manner, being too concerned with lawsuits or costs children are no longer getting unstructured play time and good physical activity. So what is a parent to do if they feel their child just is not getting enough of what they need in school? well its simple, find a good reputable martial arts school and enroll them. Of course, my preference is Krav Maga, BJJ but in today’s world, something is better than nothing. While I dont want to be to cliche. Here are 5 reasons you should enroll your kid in martial arts now than later.

Kids BJJ

  1. Build Confidence & Self Esteem – One of the biggest struggles that children have today is building intrinsic self-confidence. Not everyone fits into the cookie cutter models of most schools today and it can be hard to stay motivated and find drive and purpose. Martial arts can give children goals to build themselves up, and I am not talking about participation trophies I am talking about real goals that take work and effort to achieve. If your child works and trains hard they can build their confidence by working their way up a ranked system. Having a sense of purpose is key to any person no matter the age, and if your child doesn’t find it in school or other organized sports then perhaps this is the option for them. Additionally, because of the physical nature of martial arts, they will build confidence in their body image by working hard to achieve more. Through martial arts, they will see themselves and the strong, intelligent child they are. Especially as most serious martial arts instructors end up being more than just a teacher, but also a role model and sometimes a mentor.
  2. Build a healthy lifestyle – As I mentioned earlier many school systems are slowly winding down their physical training programs either due to overblown liability and safety concerns or budget concerns. Kids are meant to be active, and with less emphasis on physical health from the regular school system it is one of the contributing factors to our obesity epidemic. Just like mentioned about through martial arts kids will learn how to use their bodies and learn to listen to it. They will know when they feel good and when they do not. Anyone who lives a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise can tell you they feel much worse the day after they decided to have a binge day with no physical activity. If you teach your children young to have an active lifestyle it becomes a pattern that is built into them and is something they will continue for most of their lives even if they grow out of martial arts.
  3. Build social skills in a new environment – In the regular school system, it can be tricky for children to develop social skills. Some students excel and some do not. One of the best ways to build their skills further is to introduce them to another group of peers. Sometimes in school friend/peer options are limited and without extracurricular activities exposing your child to other peer groups, it can be hard especially if you dont fit in. I can tell you from my own personal experience that I did not have much exposure to other peer groups outside of those in my school, and looking back I really wish Id had, as perhaps I would have had a better time if I had friends doing a mutually enjoyable activity like martial arts. I started later in life, give your child the opportunity to learn early so even if they dont keep it up later in life they still learned social skills as well as practical self-defense skills.
  4. Learn discipline – This seems to be a popular idea. While the days of hitting your children are gone and rightfully so, it can be hard to find ways to keep your child properly disciplined especially if you are not familiar with various learning and teaching models. In martial arts children usually, learn that if they do not focus pushups (or other physical activity) will ensue. Either way, they are building something positive. They learn to focus because they dont like the push-ups, or they like the pushups and they get more physical strength. Additionally, in martial arts you can learn discipline through leadership. As your child grows in a program they may be asked to help out with classes and they will then learn to the importance of being well behaved in classes.
  5. Learn teamwork and community – Most children’s martial arts classes usually have some sort of teamwork involved. Whether it be the classical group punishment of if one child misbehaves every one does push-ups, or because the games and drills require all children to participate in partners of groups. They very quickly learn they would much rather work with partners who are serious about training and that if they want to partner with those people they better work well with others as well. Often in regular education group project are few and far between and often individuals care more about the grade than actually working well in a group. In martial arts teamwork is encouraged every class. Additionally, they are introduced early into a positive healthy community that they can be proud to be part of.

While there are certainly many more reasons to have your child join martial arts there are many others. Of Course one of the biggest concerns many parents have is the safety of their child. Always do your research and find a reputable school for your child. One suggestion I have is to make sure they separate kids 5-7 from 8-12. As far as teens, it’s usually ok for them to train with the adults pending the style. The reason for this is that the mental development of kids at these stages is different and the approach to learning is different.

For kids 5-7 the focus should be more on body awareness and fitness. and for kids 8+ of course pending the style they can learn usually just like the adults although in an age-appropriate manner.

This post is, of course, appropriately times as we at www.urbantacticskm.com recently expanded our kid’s program to include the age 5-7 age group. UTKM’s Richmond, BC, Kids program combines Krav Maga, Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiujitsu, wrestling, and judo all in to one program. So if you are in my neck of the woods feel free to inquire by emailing us at info@urbantacticscanada.com 

Richmond Kids Martial Arts Age 5-7.jpgIf not get on google, do a search and find a reputable martial arts school near you and get your child started now not later. Build their confidence,  self esteem, Social skills, team skills and show them what a healthy life style looks like. Remember, something is better than nothing but of course I recommend Krav Maga/Kickboxing and BJJ.

 

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/urban-tactics-krav-maga-warriors/id969549693?mt=2

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/urban-tactics-krav-maga-warriors/id969549693?mt=2

When Warren got his Orange Belt.

When Warren got his Orange Belt.