Friday, December 4, 2009

Little Drag Ins

I have been thinking lately about "Little Drag Ins". Not Little Dragons, Little Drag Ins... you know the little kid that REALLLLY doesn't want to be in the dojo that day or even at all. It's not that adults training don't face the same ambivilence, boredom or frustration. Honest kids we do. Many a Saturday morning the siren's song of my flannel quilt is much more compelling than the cold blue mats of the school.

Did I say cold mats? Yep. The temperature in the dojo today was 47 degrees. That's cold enough to make the most enthusiastic student ambivalent. The temperature really isn't the theme of my post. It is about wanting to or not wanting to be in class. As I said both adults and children will have times that they don't want to be there. The main difference is that adults are making the choice for themselves. Often times in the case of children adults are making the choice for the child. Being a parent I have found myself in the situation where one of my kids want to discontinue (QUIT) training. Did I say Quit? THERE ARE NO QUITTERS IN THIS FAMILY!!!!!

This may sound like an odd perspective for a martial arts teacher to take but. Discontinuing (QUITTING) can be a good thing. Yes quitting can be a good thing. Quit lying, quit cheating, quit overeating, quit drinking... Even quitting karate. WHAT!!!! QUIT KARATE?!!!?!!!. You see practicing a martial art can provide many benefits but it is not magic. Similar benefits are available in, and can be found in a number of of different activities. Once again karate is not magic or even automatically good for a person. The point really is the benefits.

Here in lies the irony. One of the most important benefits is learning to persevere. That's not one of the lessons that is best learned by discontinuing training. There are those that will quit before the receive even the most basic benefit. The are also benefits that stop when we stop. If you are an adult that is training you get to make the choice to continue or stop. If you are a parent you need to understand your child and work with then to determine if they are benefiting from their involvement.

Making the decision to take a break, quit or continue is difficult. Either choice can be healthy and take courage. Changing direction can feel like failing. It can also represent personal growth or coming to the understanding that another activity may be just what we need.


Unknown said...

She is SO gonna kick your butt! ;-)


Laura Napoli said...

I hope you didn't hurt yourself with that face! I love it!

Unknown said...

Nice post, Mark. I "quit" karate a couple of years ago to focus solely on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I found that between family time, work, and training in two martial arts, that I wasn't really giving either art the attention it deserved. I had done karate for 21 yrs, so I figured it was time to hang it up for now and focus on making my jiu-jitsu game all it could be. As a result, my BJJ has grown by leaps and bounds, and I don't feel so stretched thin anymore :-)

Thanks for the great blog,

Michele said...

Hi Mark...

Excellent post. I recently wrote about a similar topic. It was my opinion that kids should be allowed to quit if they really, really do not like it.

I have seen too many parents force their kids to continue when they obviously do not want to be in class.