Then vs. Now Differences

Discussion in 'Tae-Kwon-Do' started by dvcochran, Apr 17, 2019.

  1. mrt2

    mrt2 Purple Belt

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    I don't really know this kid, but I see a lot of kid black belts, and she is easily one of the lowest in terms of her skills. She (sort of) knows her black belt forms, but her technique is, at best, adult high green or purple belt level.

    I have had this discussion with my head instructor, not about this kid but generally about kids who try martial arts for a year, or two and want to quit. Though he has lived in the US most of his life, he is old school Korean and told me he thinks American parents let their kids quit too easily. I told him that as a parent, I disagree. If a kid genuinely shows a talent for TKD, then of course, I would encourage my kid to continue. But if my kid has given it a good effort and he is just flatlining AND WANTS TO QUIT, then why would I encourage him or her to continue to plug away at something he isn't very good at when it is possible there is something he hasn't yet tried that better suits his abilities?
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2019
  2. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    I was hoping someone would chime in with a comment like yours. It has very little in directly fulfilling the statement. But as most of us know, that is part of the maturation process of training in the MA's. You learn how to stay at something, through the good/bad or easy/difficult times.
    Learning to endure is a priceless core value. It is VERY difficult for most people to learn. Except for the worst of living conditions, not many of us really even understand what it means. I immediately go to thinking of how wartime soldiers are put in hellish conditions and have absolutely no choices. Either you survive or die. Certainly some people are predisposed to handle adversity easier than others but for the mainstream I think it is a learned/conditioned trait.
     
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  3. mrt2

    mrt2 Purple Belt

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    Well said. And for some kids, sticking with MA, even when things get tough is an important life lesson. There is a teenager at our school for whom this lesson absolutely applies. The kid has ability, but lacks focus and control, which is why he is progressing more slowly than most. He is getting some benefit from TKD, for sure and he is getting better. The kid has all the physical attributes, if he can just learn to focus. He has the ability to be one of our school's rock stars. It is an open question at this point. Clearly, the kid has some kind of learning disorder, which I hope for his sake he is getting treatment for. But I can see that his continued involvement in TKD is an important part of his life.

    The thing is, there is more to life than MA, and for some kids, the time they put into becoming a mediocre TKD practitioner might be put to better use doing something else. My kid never cared for combat sports, or martial arts. But he did stick with music and much to my surprise, became a talented cellist. Not Yo Yo Ma talented, but talented enough to become one of the best at his instrument in the school district. And it took him 11 years of work to get to this point. What might have happened had he given up cello early on because of some other activity I was forcing him to do?
     
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  4. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    That is a delicate area for adults. Your kids comes to you and says they want to do X. It is a complex action the parent should take. I always said I want my child to experience most everything in life but I want to be in the shadows to protect them when they fail or struggle. Practical? No Useful? Only in moderation. I think this is the point in the process where we grow and learn as a person. The child hits adversity and has to make some decisions. It seems to be human nature that we want to move away from things that are difficult unless we have no choice (subsistence for example). As a parent, we have to monitor where the experience is taking our kid. Working with them, instead of doing it for them, is paramount to the outcome. I don't think it matters what the practice is, they need to learn a wholesome way to stick with it. No measurement or standard is implied but somehow we have to encourage and teach them to do their best. I do feel we have a responsibility to engrain high standards into their belief system.
     
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  5. mrt2

    mrt2 Purple Belt

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    IMO, little kids should have exposure to a range of experiences. Deciding which to continue with past childhood is a tough decision. I am not a believer in overprogramming. My wife has a friend who enrolled her daughter in everything from Tae Kwon Do, to downhill skiing, to dance, to piano (and a bunch of other instruments), Chinese.

    Guess what? Of all those things, the only thing the girl still does at age 15 is skiing. And, she did get her 1st Dan in Tae Kwon Do, then gave it up as soon as her mother stopped forcing her to go.
     
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  6. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    We were also told we had to finish the season. We made a commitment, and that’s what you have to do. If you really don’t want to play anymore, you don’t have to join next year. But you’re finishing the season the right way. Of course if there were outright justifiable reasons to quit, that’s another story.

    But MA doesn’t have seasons. There are milestones. Substitute X belt or end of contract for season here. Hopefully parents are at least holding kids to that instead of just walking away once things get tough.

    I find most adults that stay past that initial honeymoon period quit at 2 distinct points - when the actual sparring starts (beyond going slow and getting a feel for it) or shortly after 1st dan.

    A few reasons I’ve come up with:
    Sparring: it’s no longer cardio karate/kickboxing in a sense. They realize they really don’t want to hit and get hit after all. Not that they’re being hit hard, but just being hit beyond a tap and someone not allowing them to hit them back is unsettling for some.
    1st dan: They had a goal in mind and accomplished it. Like checking something off a bucket list. My teacher said he’s had a few people leave right after they made 1st dan, and they told him they achieved what they set out for, so they’re moving on. Some people just want to earn a black belt like it’s a trophy. I don’t get it, but I don’t have to.

    Other people lost interest some time back, but convinced themselves to stick with it until black belt and “finish what they started.” Kind of like playing a sport and not enjoying it as much anymore but finishing the season.

    Kids like things one day and are bored with them them the next day. Or they’re signed up for something and don’t really want to be there to begin with. Parents talk their kids into things like sports, musical instrument lessons, etc. At some point the kids either want to keep going or want to stop. Quite often they’ll go through the motions for a while to appease the parents before the parents say they’ve done it long enough and can move on.

    Not everyone, especially kids, wants to be there in the first place.

    Of the group that did truly want to be there, none of them knew exactly what it was going to be like. It’s like meeting a potential mate. You see all this stuff you think is how they are, but after a while you realize it’s what you thought they were and/or wanted them to be like, and not who they really are. Sometimes it works out, but most often it doesn’t.

    There’s nothing wrong with setting a goal, accomplishing it, then moving on to the next thing.
     
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  7. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    It is a different world in terms of the amount of exposure kids get growing up compared to when I was young. Makes it harder on both sides of the equation. Our child was a sports junkie growing up. He played 3 sports from about 6 years old to college. I was a parent who was involved, either as a coach or some other role. It paid off since he got a full ride in college. He got a chronic high ankle sprain early in his junior year which he played the whole season with. He made the decision on his own not to play his senior year. He went off scholarship and went to work to pay for his last year of school. Never did he ask for money extra money. I have am exceptionally proud of that.
    Did he reach burnout later than most young athletes do? I have asked that more than a few times.
    When he approached me with his decision I could tell he had put a lot of thought into it. He was a secondary and utility starter. He said he had quietly played through pain to the point he was concerned there was structural damage in his foot. He knew he was a very good player but had no aspirations of playing after college. He had already talked it through with his position coaches and felt confident that he was not leaving them hanging. He also knew his last year at school was going to be tough. So what could I say. I supported him wholly and he finished school in proper fashion. He is an excellent young man if I do say so myself.
     
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  8. gorilla2

    gorilla2 Yellow Belt

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    As a parent both of my kids have been doing TKD for 17 and 12 years...it is a life long commitment for them...people have always questioned their commitment based on their own experience...most kids quit during their teenage years but I knew this was not the case with my Kids my daughter at the age of 24 is a part owner of a TKD school and head Competition Instructor she will test for her 5th Dan in January...My Son who is a SPC4 in the Army...A member of the World Class Athlete Program/All Army Taekwondo Team Stationed at Ft Carson Colorado will test for his 5th Dan in June!!! Martial Arts is a way of life...for anyone who was around on Martial Talk 10 years ago I am still friends with Art and Terry see both of them at tournaments to this day...our kids are around the same age they are also lifelong Martial Artists...Art has opened his own school and is doing well...Terry continues operating his school in Texas with his sons!
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2019
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  9. DocWard

    DocWard Purple Belt

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    My oldest daughter ran cross-country starting in Seventh Grade. We wanted her to be physically active and involved in an activity, and her coordination was such that doing something where she just had to put one foot in front of the other was a good idea. My wife and I agreed before the season that she would finish the season out, because it was a commitment to a team. After she placed dead last in her first few races, and in a rather convincing fashion, I was ready to re-think that, if she wanted to. After her first race I think I would have quit. She didn't, and kept running throughout her middle school and high school career. By the middle of her sophomore season, she was solidly fast enough to contribute to the team's standings at meets. Since she went to a Div. III school, her times were good enough that she could've run college if she had chosen to. She wanted to focus on her academics, so chose not to. She did pick up a clarinet performance minor by almost sheer force of will and a very good professor.

    I may have missed it if someone mentioned it, and if so, I apologize. All too often these days I see parents living vicariously through their children, getting them involved in things they wanted to do themselves. My wife and I tried very hard to avoid that, and didn't get our children involved in multiple different activities, unless they asked, and sometimes not then. We tried to pick and choose so they could have their activities that they would stick with, while we could continue to live our own lives.

    I will admit that the reason I came back to the martial arts was because I felt I had stopped short of a goal and a milestone by not earning my black belt. Having said that, if I am fortunate enough to earn it now, I do intend to continue working and learning for as long as I can in the arts.
     
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  10. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    Great post. To be clear, I did not mean it to sound as if I lived vicariously. We went through a dance at the start of every sport every season (with the exception of college ball) where we would set down and talk through the advantages and disadvantages of playing a particular sport. And the sacrifices and extra work it would likely mean. If I am guilty of anything it is of holding a higher standard for his workouts and performance. When he was young I did not make a big deal of this but as he grew into the teenage years and started forming his own ideas and goals I hoped to be instrumental in a positive way. I was never in his locker room or weight room with the team (unless coaching). We had our own routine outside of regular workouts. I will use this podium to brag on him some more. He went to a private school that was about a 50 minute drive from our house. In the 8th grade he started getting up a 4:00 am 3 days/week so that he could get extra weight training. He was a skinny kid. It didn't start to really show until his 9th grade year. The school he went to hold the record for state titles in TN in football and 6 other sports (Brentwood Academy). He was on the state track relay title team for several years before they were trumped by a team from the same school. One of my proudest moments, BA did not have soccer teams when he started there. In his Sophomore and Junior years he was instrumental in organizing teams for the middle school girls (first), then the boys the following year. They began having varsity teams the year after he graduated high school (2012) and he is still involved.
    A bit of an introvert but man can he set his jaw and get steely eyed.
     
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  11. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm not a fan. There's a lot of value to trying things out to see if you like them. Then there's the whole question of what does "finish it" mean? It seems ridiculous to say, "If you start this, you have to stay until you get your black belt." That'd be a 2-10 year commitment most places.

    I'd be okay if a parent said, "If you start, you stick with it until you get your first belt." In most cases, that means they have to go through a few weeks. Even if they don't enjoy it, it's pretty harmless to them, and they won't be able to quit to avoid the strangeness, which will vanish after a few weeks.
     
  12. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I was expecting someone to say they liked kicking pictures of bones or something.
     
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  13. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Some good points in there. My thought in my prior post was that there's a lot to learn from overcoming the difficulties.....IF they are actually interested. So, someone who's interested but isn't good at it can gain a lot from the experience. Someone who's disinterested probably needs something else to do.
     
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  14. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    We also have to think about the other side of that lesson, though. Do we want to teach kids to stay in optional activities they aren't interested in? Or do we want them to learn to be discerning, to go pursue something they are passionate about?
     
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  15. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    I’d say it’s more of a timeframe thing with MA than any belt. It really depends on the kid, their age, and their reasons why they want to quit.

    My daughter was 5 when she started at our dojo. She really liked it at first. A few months later she started getting bored. I kept bringing her for about a month or 2 after she said she didn’t want to go anymore. I was trying to figure out why - maybe it was someone in class, maybe it was watching my class and waiting for it to end before her class, maybe she’d regain interest after a test due to new material.

    It just wasn’t her thing. The last week I brought her it hit me - was I bringing her for her or for me? Not that I was living vicariously through her success; I just wanted her to like it as much as I do. Hopefully she’ll come back around one day.

    It shouldn’t be a matter of a belt nor a defined time frame. It should be about why they don’t want to go. If why they don’t want to go can be changed, try to change it (within reason, of course). It shouldn’t be take them out the first time they don’t want to go, but it also shouldn’t be keep them there and make their life miserable either. Pretty much nothing is black and white when parenting.
     
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  16. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    What about something like a seasonal sport? Especially when it is a team sport where others are dependent on you being there? I do get the MA comparison but there are times within something like that where parental guidance may need to be stern in certain situations.
     
  17. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    It makes a nice popping sound when you hit it. Also, as an instructor, I can shake it and makes a loud crinkling sound that can get attention (i.e. to let someone who is moving backwards know its time to turn around and kick).

    We use both at my school. X-ray paper for beginners who are still working on kicking properly, paddles when they have more accuracy and can hit without using their toes.
     
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  18. WaterGal

    WaterGal Master of Arts

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    It makes a lot of noise when you kick it.
     
  19. gorilla2

    gorilla2 Yellow Belt

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    I have seen these used never used an X-ray
     
  20. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    That's about the same as saying "stick it out to the first belt". Nothing wrong with kids being held to a commitment, as long as wanting to try something doesn't tie them into years of disinterested involvement. So, yeah, if they join a team, they should finish that season, barring exceptional circumstances.
     

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