How can I help my Son

donna

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My 14 yr old Son received his brown belt in December.He worked really hard for it and I am so proud of him. When classes started again after the Christmas break he said he didnt want to train at our dojo any more. I thought he maybe just needed a break so I didnt push the issue. He still trains every day at home going through his katas and doing pushups/situps etc..(he also plays soccer) after a couple of months I asked him if he wants to rejoin the training. His answer was that he is afraid he is going to hurt someone accidentally. He said he dosent mind being thrown or sparring himself but he has developed this fear of hurting someone else if they land wrong , or in sparring if he hits someone and they duck the wrong way. He has just had a big growth spurt and is now 6' and wiry. His strength has increased a lot too( I have felt this when grappling with him). Do you think this is a passing phase and maybe he is just adjusting to his new body or is there something I can do to reassure him.
 

OnlyAnEgg

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Stick with him, sez I. Encourage him to continue practice at home. Get him to spar with you at the speed and contact he feels comfortable with. Growing at that age can leave a person feeling ungainly, uncoordinated, and uneasy. When he sees he's doing you no harm, he may change his mind.
 

Blindside

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On something like this I would have his instructor talk to him. It might be good to have someone from outside the family be consulted.

If this were one of our kids, we would say "OK, you'll just spar the black belts, you WON'T hurt us." After a while of sparring again, I suspect he would figure out where his control is and how comfortable he is sparring.

There may be an alternate explanation, that he doesn't like sparring, or that he is afraid of it. I've seen people get gunshy if the training is hard, and they aren't used to contact. Particularly in that transition from a kids class to an adult class.

It sounds like a tough problem, good luck.

Lamont
 

stickarts

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Do you feel sure that this is the reason, or only reason, that he really doesn't want to go? Could there be something else going on here?
Have you tried discussing this with other instructors there to get their impressions?
If there are no other issues, my view is that a good approach would be to keep the door open for his return but don't over push it.
 

Lisa

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Donna,

I am wondering if something happened when he was in the school that has made him fearful of this? Did he accidentally hurt someone?

How about offering to pay for private lessons for him with the instructor so he can continue to advance, if that is financially possible. That way he can again enter the school and be taught by the teachers that are familiar to him. It also could be an opportunity for the teachers to maybe engage him in a conversation about his return to the school. That way, they may be able to help him through his fears of hurting someone.

Just some thoughts, hope they help. :)
 
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donna

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He has never been shy of rough stuff. Sparring and grappling are his favourites. And he is never one to complain, frequently sparring the higher ranks. Our dojo is small and we have only one instructor. I have always been training with him as we have no junior class, and we all train together.No one has been hurt apart from the usual bruises and scratches.
I am hoping that if I keep training and just "keep the door open" that maybe he will come around.
He loves training with me at home as he outranks me. So I will keep encouraging that.
 

bushidomartialarts

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i've talked to a lot of students who thought they wanted to quit.

i'd be amazed if 'i'm afraid of accidentally hurting someone' is the whole story. who can talk with your son and help him figure out the real issue.

it may be, frexample, that he feels awkward after his recent growth spurt. this could take a lot of the joy out of his training....
 

Miles

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Donna,

You are helping your son by noticing that he is not comfortable in resuming his training in the school and supporting his decision to train at home. Like others, I suspect there is another reason for him not wishing to train, especially where he is training alongside adults and there has been no history of serious injury.

Good Luck!

Miles
 

tshadowchaser

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I agree that there may be other reasons for his not wanting to practice at the school.
I also agree that if the instructor would let him spar with only the black belts fo a while he might learn to control his strength and his throws

Kepp practiceing with him if he will let you and be sure to be encourageing and positive about how he is doing
 

Gemini

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From what you've stated, I would agree that the instructor would probably be your best bet in dealing with the issue. If it is a matter of control, he'd be the one to point out that he needs to grow into his new body and learn to control it. It's not going to happen by itself. If there's another issue involved, he'll probably find out that's the case, though I doubt he'd find out what it is. One step at a time. MHO.
 

Last Fearner

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Donna,

Wow, 6' tall at age 14. That's going to make him unique from his peers by itself, I would imagine. Yes, it's true that boys go through the teen growing spurt, and have to readjust to their muscle coordination, etc. I can only offer an addition of agreement with the other insightful advice already given here. The others have made excellent points that I would have told you and your son too.

Always consult the instructor. If the instructor is experienced and wise enough, he will be able to determine if there are other issues, which I too, suspect there might be. A student will seldom stop training, if they enjoy it so much, simply because of the "possibility" that they might hurt someone. Especially if that has not yet happened. In my opinion, it would be wise to press the issue until the full problem is revealed (if there is more), then it can be delt with. (Some things to consider are the rank issue between you and him, although he might deny it, or his awkward feelings of being a tall teen, any concern he might have about becoming a class leader or assistant instructor as a high rank, financial issues, new girlfriend, or other conflicting interests, any conflicts or comments between peers at Martial Art class, or outside friends making fun of his training).

If your son's concern for safety is the only issue, I would tend to suggest that you insist he attends regular classes under his instructor's guidance. Only through continuous training will he be able to overcome the very issue about which he says he is concerned. There are ways for him to train without risk to opponents, and he should be made aware of this. If his instructor is informed of the problem, training on bags, and hand targets, plus slow motion sparring will help during the transition. Also, I often train in sparring without throwing a single technique. The idea is to learn distancing, and how to avoid being hit by evading while only blocking if necessary.

There are many skills, and benefits to be gained by your son's continued participation. As a Brown Belt, he should be aware of this fact, if not, then you and his instructor must help guide him to see this. He will not benefit from home training, without the guidance of a senior instructor, as he would at the dojo. He should be strongly encouraged to attend classes, and improve skills other than sparring. I know parents want to be understanding, and give their kids some space, but don't go too easy on him. Without being "mean," a little assertive, loving, parenting push might be appreciated down the line someday. :)

That is what I would recommend to my own students, and their parents.
Good luck!
CM D. J. Eisenhart
 

still learning

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Hello, Great advice from everyone here. "Yes" do talk with your Instructor, privately and other time with your son and Instructor. Make a separate appointments for each.

Also it seems there are some hidden issues here, maybe peer pressure from his friends, teasing him about his need training because of his height? Try to have a good sit down talk....so if you can get him to talk about it. This is not going to be easy here..patiences

Also facing a future Black belt testing? maybe he is afraid of it? ..some schools it can be very challenging? Just guessing here....

Peer pressure can effect alot of people, your son has to know being a martial artist...people will treat you different if they know you train.

Let him know his training will only make him a better person than most others. He will be able to help those who need help. One day it may save his life and his future kids life too..help him see the differences...

Please lets us know how things are going! ......Aloha
 

Jonathan Randall

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Great replies from all, so I won't beat a dead horse.

What I will add, is that it is GREAT that he is continuing his practice at home with you. I would STRONGLY encourage this, as I, as an adult, have met many, many people who wished they had continued in an activity such as ballet, piano, jazz, gymnastics, etc. but quit early.
 
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donna

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Thank you for all the good suggestions. I will let you know how it goes
 

MJS

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donna said:
My 14 yr old Son received his brown belt in December.He worked really hard for it and I am so proud of him. When classes started again after the Christmas break he said he didnt want to train at our dojo any more. I thought he maybe just needed a break so I didnt push the issue. He still trains every day at home going through his katas and doing pushups/situps etc..(he also plays soccer) after a couple of months I asked him if he wants to rejoin the training. His answer was that he is afraid he is going to hurt someone accidentally. He said he dosent mind being thrown or sparring himself but he has developed this fear of hurting someone else if they land wrong , or in sparring if he hits someone and they duck the wrong way. He has just had a big growth spurt and is now 6' and wiry. His strength has increased a lot too( I have felt this when grappling with him). Do you think this is a passing phase and maybe he is just adjusting to his new body or is there something I can do to reassure him.

You've received some good advice so far Donna, and I can only echo what they've already said. One thing that I've always believed in, especially when dealing with kids, is as much as the parents want them involved in a positive activity, pushing too hard, can often lead to them feeling pressured.

Perhaps, taking some time to talk to his instructor to see if something happened at the class recently would be a good start. He/She, may be able to give you some guidance with this.

He's still training at home, which is a good sign. He doesn't seem to have lost total interest. Maybe a small break would be good.

Good luck with everything and let us know how things turn out.

Mike
 

DeLamar.J

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donna said:
My 14 yr old Son received his brown belt in December.He worked really hard for it and I am so proud of him. When classes started again after the Christmas break he said he didnt want to train at our dojo any more. I thought he maybe just needed a break so I didnt push the issue. He still trains every day at home going through his katas and doing pushups/situps etc..(he also plays soccer) after a couple of months I asked him if he wants to rejoin the training. His answer was that he is afraid he is going to hurt someone accidentally. He said he dosent mind being thrown or sparring himself but he has developed this fear of hurting someone else if they land wrong , or in sparring if he hits someone and they duck the wrong way. He has just had a big growth spurt and is now 6' and wiry. His strength has increased a lot too( I have felt this when grappling with him). Do you think this is a passing phase and maybe he is just adjusting to his new body or is there something I can do to reassure him.
Sounds like something he will have to work out in his own way. I'm sure there are some concepts you can talk with him about, but in the end he will have to overcome this is his own mind.
 

Rich Parsons

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donna said:
My 14 yr old Son received his brown belt in December.He worked really hard for it and I am so proud of him. When classes started again after the Christmas break he said he didnt want to train at our dojo any more. I thought he maybe just needed a break so I didnt push the issue. He still trains every day at home going through his katas and doing pushups/situps etc..(he also plays soccer) after a couple of months I asked him if he wants to rejoin the training. His answer was that he is afraid he is going to hurt someone accidentally. He said he dosent mind being thrown or sparring himself but he has developed this fear of hurting someone else if they land wrong , or in sparring if he hits someone and they duck the wrong way. He has just had a big growth spurt and is now 6' and wiry. His strength has increased a lot too( I have felt this when grappling with him). Do you think this is a passing phase and maybe he is just adjusting to his new body or is there something I can do to reassure him.


I was one of those kids who grew 6 to 8 inches in a four or five month period. It sucks. Your bones hurt. Your muscles hurt. You also do not know control yet. Your body feels out of control for you bump into things, and people say "Watch it OX" or something just like it. It can make someone in this case really think twice about putting themselves in a place to hurt someone else. Part of it is the blame they get out side of the training. They then externalize all accidents around themselves into something they should have had control of and or prevented.

Add into this the increased strength, and horemones to handle more pain, you can get a child who does not know their own strength which is bad, but what is worse is a child who is afraid to explore their limits and also learn to control what they have.

If he trains at home he likes it! :)

Train with him yourself and make sure he is not blamed fo accidents. Hence the term Accident, versus ON PURPOSE. ;)

If you can get an instructor to talk to him as others have stated this is good also, for this instructor can spar with him outside fo class to show him that not everyone will immediately crumple from being touched by him. Also if you can get him to go back to class and the instructor knows about his concern of hurting others, he can have more experience and older (* 22+ *) people working with him for the control level. Not other young males who also have control concerns and high levels of hormones and new strength.

After he gets over this concern of his, then he can spar with everyone. :)

Good Luck
 

terryl965

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In these types of scenario's it is best to let him work through it with a little guidence from you and his other peers, ask the instructor to sit down with him and go over his goals for now and try not to push him to hard or he'll probaly go the other way just out of spite.
Terry
 

Gemini

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Just fot the record, donna, this is one you have to keep going on because it's a great teaching/learning experience for many of us. Please keep us updated.
 
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donna

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An Update: Last night my son started training again. :) . I think it may been his sudden growth spurt and the "control" issue that you all referred to that was making him anxious.
Also there was an incident at school yeaterday where he had to defend himself against a larger Bully. This kid attaked him from behind and tried to put him in a headlock.(he delt with the situation and the teacher who Rang me said it was not his fault and he handled himself well against this known troublemaker) It was as if this incident gave him the confidence to recomence training.
I talked to our instructor a week ago so he knows what is going on and his advice was to just give him time. So when he returned to training he was met with encouragement, and the fact that he has been training at home, he will be allowed to try for his first black tip at the end of the month .
 
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