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 Post subject: Growing up in the dojo
PostPosted: Mon May 10, 1999 10:56 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 875
A post by John Thurston on the roundtable sparked this thread - one that's been in the back of my mind for a while.

Children and the dojo. Many of us have children - and - involved as we are in the dojo - training and/or operating a school - our kids can't help but be affected in many ways. I know my son (2 1/2) is absorbing more than I realize from his constant exposure to karate - he often hangs out in the dojo when I'm teaching - sometimes playing with his toys - but more often watching class from the hallway and mimicking our actions. At home there is more talk about karate - videos - guests and friends are usually related to karate somehow - big sister does karate - it's more than just occasional exposure. So, words like "punch" "kick" and "hi-yah!" entered the vocabulary earlier than many other toddler words. He loves to horse around with me and with other students at pretend sparring - and like John Thurston's daughter - has developed his own specialty with a front punch - to my dismay - a MEAN front punch. Problem is that his front punch is about crotch height - an enlightening fact discovered by a couple males in my dojo. Now, I have to mention, that these punches are thrown in the dojo environment - I've had no reports of any problems in pre-school and haven't observed any karate behaviour with his other friends. He seems to limit karate to places he sees karate being done - and I always reinforce that by telling him that we have to save it for the dojo whenever he gets started with punching and kicking at home. He seems to know that karate is to be used on karate students - I hope that keeps up.

My son is truly growing up immersed in karate - and - while I see a lot of benefits - I wonder what some other effects may be. His father (another karateka) and I speculated before he was born that given that he has karate blood and that he was going to be around karate so much he would probably end up being a ballet dancer. (Not a problem for me!) But it looks like karate is unavoidable for him right now.

So - I'm wondering - any of you parents out there have any comments/concerns about children growing up in the dojo? The benefits are obvious - his extended family of karate brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles is a wonderful addition to his life. Learning to incorporate a physical training regimen into his daily life can't hurt either. And the subtle lessons of courtesy and respect should help in other areas of life. But I sometimes wonder what I'm doing to this impressionable mind - given that there is a lot more martial arts training than Barney shows in his daily routine. He watches our sanchin "car-washes" (wow! he's hitting you in the tummy mommy!) (hey - look - he's kicking mommy!) (Yea - kick him back mommy!) and the conditioning drills and other contact parts of class seem like they might be emphasizing a tougher aspect of life other than milk and cookies and recess. I wonder how this is going to affect him when he gets to school in a couple years. Anyone else have any thoughts or experience raising kids in the dojo?

Peace,
Lori


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 Post subject: Growing up in the dojo
PostPosted: Mon May 10, 1999 11:53 pm 
Benefits? Doh! My sons don't ASK for the car... YeeeHah! I'm TAKING the car tonight (esp. Chris Crash Cruiser). I first realized what I had done when I saw Dennis the Menace, at 11 mind you, break three ribs of an adult twice his size (he wasn't always a 6'3 15-year-old) with his side thrust kick. And now when those two get near, I chill in the cold of their long dark shadows when they say "I need $20 bucks tonight." Already Sensei John's daughter is preparing herself for her formidable father fighting years.

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Allen - [email]uechi@ici.net">uechi@ici.net</A> - <A HREF="http://www.uechi-ryu.org[/email]

[This message has been edited by Allen M. (edited 05-10-99).]


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 Post subject: Growing up in the dojo
PostPosted: Tue May 11, 1999 2:56 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 24, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 311
Location: Washington DC area, USA
I have posted my concerns before. Since my son, according to day care, can throw a four piece hand combination at age four (some kid was picking on him, he didn't start it, but we were STILL mortified) I think I'll hold off on the karate lessons, thank your very much. He's learned enough watching daddy (me) practice around the house. The boy has a mean roundhouse kick, as his twelve year old antagonising cousin found out the hard way, after repeated warnings from me to "leave the boy alone, I'm warning you, don't back him into a corner, PLEASE." (Incidentally, the cousin wasn't hurt, except maybe his ego may have been when HIS MOTHER laughed at him).

I've been advised that age seven is a good age to train them. From what I've seen before then, they pretty much can't sit still long enough to learn any killer Wutang techniques. However, I do think they will absorb what they see and it will come out later. I just don't think that karate was meant to be effectively used by someone who is still scared o' the dark.

Yet and still, I MAY stick him in a class next year at age five, just to see how he likes it. I'm doing it strictly to have something to hold over his head, as in "Hey, you want to act up, NO KARATE THIS WEEK". Ain't I a devil? I do NOT expect him to be any good at it because I have seen toddlers and pre-schoolers trying to do kata. It ain't pretty. It's cute, but it ain't pretty.

Don't get me started on these seven year old black belts!

Cecil

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 Post subject: Growing up in the dojo
PostPosted: Tue May 11, 1999 4:13 pm 
Cecil,

I really don't think any age is too young to teach children martial arts, especially if they are your own. It all has to do with the way you do it.


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Allen - [email]uechi@ici.net">uechi@ici.net</A> - <A HREF="http://www.uechi-ryu.org[/email]


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 Post subject: Growing up in the dojo
PostPosted: Tue May 11, 1999 8:29 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 18, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 619
Lori-san,

I agree with JD's wisdom words about belts, responsibilities and bragging. My son started karate when he was 7. It was the best move I ever made. I had been taking Uechi-ryu for a year then, and he was growing so fast that he didn't fit in with the gymnastics crowd anymore. He elected to give it a 3 month try, but liked it so much, there was never any doubt about quitting.

He trained for a while when his dad (my ex) decided to train, too, Chris decided to transfer to his dojo. Because of Chris' height, he was put with adults by the time he was 11. My fondest memory was when he was 12, he was he was teaching a 65 year old white belt Kanshiwa -- quite well, I might add.

Now, he often helps me and his dad in teaching and he is a joy to do Dan Kumite and Seisan Bunkai with (once he got past the "I can't hit you, you're my Mom" stage). Now, as a 6'2" (gosh, Allen, these kids are HUGE) Shodan, his long legs and punches keep me moving. We often watch each other's kata at home, as well as do kumite together.

He never bragged about karate. Kept it to himself all these years until recently he told his best friend.

I only had one incident with him when he defied me about some discipline I was imposing by going into guard and getting ready to punch me when he was about 10. Mom was quicker and deflected the punch followed by a takedown. He looked up at me, and said "Boy, I won't try that again." We had a serious talk then about when and how to use karate.

Put it this way, at least you'll have someone to watch all those karate movies with!

Enjoy the experience .... Jackie


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 Post subject: Growing up in the dojo
PostPosted: Tue May 11, 1999 8:34 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 18, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 619
Cecil-san,

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
Quote:
Since my son, according to day care, can throw a four piece hand combination at age four.


WOW ... sounds like he's quite talented! Can you imagine ... if all these kids start taking karate very young, the daycare instructors may have their hands full and will have to take martial arts themselves!

Jackie


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