Parent With A Question

curious

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I was planning on putting this in the Womens or EPAK forums but figured there would be even more information and advice by placing it here. This thread is about my seven year old son, at this tender age he is already displaying amazing talent, my instructor and I believe that my son has possibly found his calling. Many other parents, onlookers, teachers and students at times have been left speechless by him and other times they can't say enough. When he first started he was only five years old in Peewees attending EPAK crossed with Ju-jitsu and Kickboxing. Since my son earned his 3rd degree brown belt six months ago my son went from two 45 minutes of Peewee classes to 10 hours of Peewee, Kids and Advanced Kids classes at HIS REQUEST actually he demanded it. Not only that he is an official Peewee Student Leader and assists at the YMCA on Saturdays. Last month he earned his 2nd degree brown belt passing me and my eleven year son!!! Our instructor and I felt like this was too much for him and were worried but my son has more than proved himself and wants more. Next month he is going to compete in a tourney for the first time!!!!!! I am not worried about my son getting hurt he grapples with 14- 16 year olds and does way better than some twelve year olds, all double even triple his size and weight. Despite that I am soooo ANXIOUS I feel like I'm going to have a heart attack!!!!!! In case you were wondering Karate hasn't affected his schooling he has excellent grades and is a very well behaved boy. This is more than a proud mother moment, something inside of me (call it mothers intuition) is screaming. Do I keep him were he is at or do I give him more like he wants? How much is too much? I have a potential FUTURE world champion on my hands how do I nurture that? At the tourney he's going to be placed with kids at his "level" (Peewee's) is this cheating? I have so many questions and concerns I'm drowning in them WHAT DO I DO?!?!? HELP ANYONE????
 

bluemtn

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I wouldn't really worry about your son in the tournament, and thinking it's cheating. Placement for him is legal issues, having to do with size and age in comparison to others as opposed to skill.

It's great that he's displaying such a nack for the art! I say keep him in it, listening to him when he has concerns or starts to get stressed or dis- interested. Ask him how he feels about the classes.
 

bushidomartialarts

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i agree with the above. let him have his time in the sun. later on, he'll be a brand-new black belt competing against kids who've had black belts for years. then he'll be the little fish in the big pond.

competition is taking two people of the same approximate size, age and rank and letting them see which of the two is best at that game. if your son is the best at that game, then he should win. it's not cheating.
 
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curious

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Thank you for you answers, I really do appreciate them. I do have to say though that after reading your posts I feel that I should expand on the situation; emphasize the seriousness.

As for the tourney it looks like my son is going to stay in the PeeWee level because of his age not rank. Our instructor requested permission from the main office of our organization to promote my son to BROWN and to KIDS level, and they granted it. On his certificates yellow through green it states PEEWEE but for his browns (3rd & 2nd) it states KIDS. Let me elaborate on this some more so you get the picture-he was supposed to test for Peewee brown 3rd, 2nd, 1st, then senior; TWO YEARS LATER transfer to Kids and after a six month course test for Kids senior brown. It's more than just a nack and it's more than a proud mommy moment; he's very GOOD by the time he achieves black belt he's going to be more than a little fish in a big pond especially at the rate he is going. When I was talking to our instructor earlier today he said my son SHOULD compete in KIDS not PEEWEES. Because of his age he gets to sweep the floor with the others? This tourney is not going to be fair for the other kids or my son I can't help but feel guilty it's not right. What is my son supposed to learn from this experience?

Yes, I do agree that my son is still very young and should be enjoying "his time in the sun" but this is his choice he wants more. Even though my son is only seven years old he has the maturity of someone older, my Grandma calls him "Little Old Man". He's not like other little kids that change their minds every other week. He wants to be the next Jet Li, the next world champion, the next Frank Shamrock; He spoke with our instructor telling him what he wants. Thats why our instructor and I were talking about my son this morning and we both agreed that my son has possibly found his calling. Afterwards I spoke with my son and had a very serious discussion about all of this I even showed him videos and clips on this forum so he can see the real stuff not the glorified movie version asking him are you sure this is what you want, the answer is yes. Isn't kindergarten the base for elementary> the base for junior high> the base for high school> the base for college? Aren't the basics of all MA's the foundation without them you have nothing, right? How do I nuture this? What should I do? Should I put him in other MA's? Cross-train him? Find a personal trainer? I need advice not for right now this very second but for my sons future, I need to start planning for it now. Anything? Anybody?
 

Ceicei

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Let your instructor help guide him and monitor his progress. It is good that he wants what he wants so intensely. However, there is a real possibility of burn-out later on. Allow him time for breaks whenever needed. His motivation and his intensity at getting what he wants will carry him far. Just go along with the flow while he is progressing. You do not have to throw everything in his path with the hope that he will grab every single thing. There is such a thing as being too "over-scheduled". He has a talent and a strong desire for his martial arts. Nuture that by allowing him to take the extra classes he wants (with approval of his instructor), and importantly, let him know it is okay to re-charge. Some kids seem to think that they cannot allow themselves even time to re-charge in case they may miss something out there. Adding on too much may be detrimental. It seems he has picked his course by choosing more classes and going to tournaments. That may be sufficient at this time with his intensity. The course [path] can be modified along the way as his needs/desires with training will eventually change with progression and experience.

- Ceicei
 

Brad Dunne

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I hope you won't take the following the wrong way....... It's always a joy to see one's child excell and for a parent(s) to be proud is only natural. But, I think your putting way to much strain on yourself in this case. Your son has been gifted with a quicker response to his training, nothing more. There may be another child in another school within the area that just may have the same qualifications. Also, it's not uncommon that within the next 6 months or even a year, that some other students within his own school may just have their own talent unfold. There are to many variables at this stage in his life, that would/could affect his future. After all, he is only 7. If he wants to step it up and go for more, let him, as long as you feel he's in control. Ah!, in control.......a tough situation to be rational about. You have to weigh the difference between pride and well being, not always an easy choice for some folks, but none the less, one that a parent must make. To recap; let him "do his thing" and enjoy the journey. As far as tournaments go, let the powers that be make the call, they will make the necessary adjustments if warranted.
 

michaeledward

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This is going to sound harsh. And perhaps I mean it to be so. I do not wish to be mean.

Please, be a parent. Stop allowing your child to go to karate for 10 hours a week. There is no way that this fun, healthy, character building activity is going to remain fun, healthy and character building if it is used like a drug. The addage "All things in Moderation" is a sound one.

Be a parent. Tell your kid to go out into the yard and throw a ball around. Tell your kid to pick up a book and read. Show your kid how to knit. Take your kid fishing. At seven years old, he should not be so consumed with any single activity.

I am not a child psychologist, but it seems to me that every seven year old kid wants to make their parents happy. If he sees how excited you are that he has achieved brown belt before you, that may be driving his drive. Be a parent. Establish boundaries. The choices you make today, are going to effect his life for a long time. Make healthy choices.

Because, at eight years old, his 'calling' may be to become a veternarian and be the next James Herriott.
 

MJS

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I was planning on putting this in the Womens or EPAK forums but figured there would be even more information and advice by placing it here. This thread is about my seven year old son, at this tender age he is already displaying amazing talent, my instructor and I believe that my son has possibly found his calling. Many other parents, onlookers, teachers and students at times have been left speechless by him and other times they can't say enough. When he first started he was only five years old in Peewees attending EPAK crossed with Ju-jitsu and Kickboxing. Since my son earned his 3rd degree brown belt six months ago my son went from two 45 minutes of Peewee classes to 10 hours of Peewee, Kids and Advanced Kids classes at HIS REQUEST actually he demanded it. Not only that he is an official Peewee Student Leader and assists at the YMCA on Saturdays. Last month he earned his 2nd degree brown belt passing me and my eleven year son!!! Our instructor and I felt like this was too much for him and were worried but my son has more than proved himself and wants more. Next month he is going to compete in a tourney for the first time!!!!!! I am not worried about my son getting hurt he grapples with 14- 16 year olds and does way better than some twelve year olds, all double even triple his size and weight. Despite that I am soooo ANXIOUS I feel like I'm going to have a heart attack!!!!!! In case you were wondering Karate hasn't affected his schooling he has excellent grades and is a very well behaved boy. This is more than a proud mother moment, something inside of me (call it mothers intuition) is screaming. Do I keep him were he is at or do I give him more like he wants? How much is too much? I have a potential FUTURE world champion on my hands how do I nurture that? At the tourney he's going to be placed with kids at his "level" (Peewee's) is this cheating? I have so many questions and concerns I'm drowning in them WHAT DO I DO?!?!? HELP ANYONE????

Its good to hear that your child has found a strong love of the arts as well as doing well in school. :) While he appears to be moving full speed, I'd talk with his instructor and ask what he/she feels is best for your son. A child will always want more and more, but at times, it is not always in their best interest. Talk with the inst. and see if they feel that he should slow down a bit, making sure that he is really understanding the material, rather than just running through it quick, with an average understanding.

Mike
 

woot

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I would say, take him to the tournament and see how he does. I'm glad you're excited about his progress. I also have a 7 year old son who loves his karate class. I am proud of what he does. He may not be the best in his class but somebody is always the best. Right now your son has an apptitude for martial arts and right now he is probably the best student in his class or even his school. However, you may find when you take him to the tournament there are also other kids who are also very talented and very good. Honestly, don't be surprised if other kids are at his same skill level. I think it is great, you are excited about your sons talent and interest. That's more than one can say for a lot of parents. But I'm afraid you are overly excited right now. Don't set yourself up for disappointment later. It's great to have high expectations, but I have seen alot of parents (and I'm not saying that you are one) who thought there child was the greatest and blamed everybody else for their kids failures. And THAT will only hurt him more in the end than help him. Let him progress naturally. Take victory with grace and if it turns out that somewhere along the way he is faced with a situation where somenone else is just as talented, or even more so, he needs to know how to deal with that gracefully as well. He will learn that from you. That is the best thing he can be taught right now at 7. Don't worry about additional martial arts classes or such, let him blossom like he is supposed to.

So take him, if he is the best there has ever been send a reply and tell me that I was wrong.
 

Blindside

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Can I ask what EPAK school promotes 7-year olds to brown belt, at apparently less than two years of training? Presumably on the same curricullum you are (an adult) since you say that he "passed you and his 11-year old brother." It isn't that important it just sounds.... odd.

Lamont
 
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curious

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Hello, I'm back!!! Glad to see people are starting to respond. Sorry I haven't answered you I've been very sick with a cold and cough, I am barely getting back on my feet. My seven year old is having the time of his life making fun of me. "Say burrito mom" "bulito" :rofl: That type of thing you know? By the way, my new nickname isn't curious any more it's Rudolph.:shrug:

Thank you Ceicei for your post. Our instructor and I have been doing that- keeping an eye on him watching for possible burnout. I will hold off on adding anything else for now. Since my son went with his intentions to our instructor he has been getting a taste of what it's like to be "training". Let's see how long he lasts. Something tells me he'll pull through because his motivation and intensity is driven by ambition, he's always striving to be better, to be number one. I get worried that at seven he might be too ambitious.

Brad Dunne, no I did not take your post the wrong way because what you said is true there are a lot of variables out there still unknkown. That's the whole point of this thread finding out what those variables are and what do I have to do to be prepared for them. Yes I do tend to get over-excited at times. In my defense though I have been biting my tongue for months, just watching my son make the amazing progress he has day by day, week by week, month by month. This is the first time though that I am actually taking it serious- serious enough to find out what I can.

Micheal Edwards, you are entitled to your opinions whether they sound harsh or not. Here's my opinion- it sounds to me like you are jumping to conclusions based off of two little ity bitty posts that I have placed. First of all, if you knew our history of violence, of abuse, of the trauma my children and I have experienced you would know that karate started off as a need not a drug. My seven year old son has surpassed that need and has moved on, for that I am very proud of him. Second of all I am his mother, father, aunt, uncle and grandparents with out me or his brothers my son has no one, I am very aware of what it is that I need to do because if I don't who will? you? Third of all, this thread is in regards to my sons future in karate not his life story. Since you are so concerned about my son not enjoying his life hows this? For the last two years my son has been playing soccer this year he want to play baseball. My two boys are always volunteering in some kind of fundraiser through their school or karate studio; they are very well known through out the neighborhood as "the cookie dough boys". My seven year old has the highest score on Sonic the Hedgehog Pinball game, I have the lowest. Every other weekend I allow my son to go on a playdate with his friends. I would be more than happy to take a picture of my son's room so you can see the extensive book collection he has, it's bigger than mine. Last of all, my son did not sign up for karate to make me proud he doing it because he wants to. I had signed up his old brother first a month later a very upset five year old asked what about him. I was not going to sign him up until he was nine I thought he was too young but he wanted it. The ten hour thing did not happen over night that was something that happened over a period of six months he wanted more and still does. As for boundaries: none of the above takes place until he has done his chores and homework; I recieve a weekly report from his teacher on his progress, if one thing is out of place he will not go to karate until that situation is fixed. Does that sound good enough for you? Mr Edwards in the future do not jump to conclusions without first finding out the details. Instead of making "harsh comments" why don't you ask questions? You would find life so much more pleasant to deal with not getting on peoples nerves.

MJS very true kids always want more!!! Does it ever end??? Our instructor and I will be keeping an eye on him especially now that we are "training" him to be a "CHAMPION" which also includes correcting all the little details he needs work on. My son has competion now though there's an orange belt thats saying he is the champion; on Friday it was hilarious watching them race each other for everything including drinking water.

WOOT!!! Spoken like a true parent, a lot of the stuff you said is very true, thank you! Considering the progress that my son has already made there is no way he can ever disappoint me, he has far exceeded my expectations as it is. As for telling you your wrong, it's on!!!
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Blindside- I don't want to come off as rude but are you serious??? Any MARTIAL ARTS SCHOOL not just EPAK will promote you to brown belt in less than two and a half years if you deserve it; if you earned it. Lamont-"presumably"??? If you read the post carefully then you KNOW that my son is certified as a KIDS brown belt so technically as such YES he has passed his older brother. There is nothing "odd" about that. Common sense would have indicated that my son "passed" me as a comment in generalization of belt colors, I'm a green belt testing for my 3rd degree brown but since you had no way of knowing that thank you for asking.

I really do appreciate the comments and remarks that have been made. Again I want to explain that this is to get information, to find out what the unknown variables are out there; not for now but for my sons future. I am feeling as though I am not getting my questions right. Like I am not expressing myself correctly. Did you know that Ray Charles was seven when he started playing the piano? Do you think he would have been the person that he became without the support of his mother? So lets try it this way: Are there any competitors out there that can answer a few questions? How old were you when you first said wow I want to do that?How old were you when you actually started to compete? When did you just know? When you told your parents did they accept your decision? How long did it take for people to take you seriously? When did your parents become aware that this is what you want to do? And when they finally came around what did you do to start the path your on? please? Thank you!!
 

lostinseattle

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Curious, obviously given the tone of your posts you're really proud of your son.

You might want to take a look at child prodigies and how well many of them actually do later on in adult life. It's safe to say that few seem to make it to adulthood unscathed.

Once your son starts competing and all of that there's going to be a lot of pressures and expectations placed upon him, and that will affect him. Just look at ballet dancers, gymnasts and people who start out at a young age, or performers like Michael Jackson and Britney Spears if you want to think about how people who started performing at a young age turn out. Not everybody turns out to be a Tiger Woods or Jodie Foster and makes it turn out okay in the end.

At any rate, it's totally up to you. Nobody else can make the decision for you. Who knows, he could turn out to be the next Tiger Woods of martial arts, the next Bruce Lee or Chuck Norris or something.
 

flashlock

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Hi,

10 hours a week? That's way too much for a little boy. You're his mom, tell him "no"--what's this, he "demands" it rubbish? Since you're asking and not just posting to brag about your kid, your instincts are telling you something is not right. I think for a little boy, 2 hours a week is plenty for any martial arts. Have you watched "Searching for Bobby Fischer"? Please, do so-- also, get some advice outside of the coach--he/she may not have your son's best interests at heart (ask a child psychologist/ school councilor) and I wish the best for your son!
 

still learning

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Hello, MOM! It is wonderful when a child loves his martial arts and the training programs. Especially at 7 years old.

Once an awhile we do get a kid that really stands out. All the Teachers want to see what is best for all the kids. Puting him a higher division is OK if the Instructors feel this will be good for him. BUT his level of thinking,maturity is still at age seven!

I feel he should complete in that division. (his age division). Maybe after a few tournments and if he has excell in his age group...than maybe ...time for him to get some real competition from older kids.

There are many reasons for age groups (besides the size). He is after all has been in this world for only 7 years of experiencing his growth.


Older kids maybe more powerful too! ...He will get his turn with the older ones as he ages too.

There is NO reason to rush a 7 year old boy. ..give him time to grow up and mature. The world was not made in one day.

Try not to get ahead of yourself...the child maybe advancing in his skills in his classes compare to other students....But a 7 year old also needs mental growth. BE VERY CAREFULLY...in having him believe he is more than he thinks he is.......What is important that he develops to be a good person and humble................Just my thoughts....Aloha

PS: Every parent loves their child....and wants what is best for them....Be carefull of the rushing parts...they need to grow up mental too.

My son and daughter is 17 and 14 now...both do high school wrestling and my son has been training in the martial arts since 5 years old. I'm a parent too!
 

grydth

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Single parent with a gifted child as a martial arts student? Been there and done that myself... and I well know the feeling of having to ensure that kid gets every chance. I've even had to cut back on my own training to get my kids to classes... that just goes with the territory.

Whatever anyone tells you, it is your call as a parent. I can just tell you what I do: We usually run 3 to 5 hours per week at the dojo, more if a test or tournament is coming up. We do a lot of brief and light work outs at home, and sometimes the bedtime story comes from a karate master. Be aware of any attitude change or mental fatigue - kids can burn out just as thoroughly as adults. There are many, many stories of promising kids burning out as red or brown belts.

The promotion rate does seem a bit rapid to me... my oldest daughter gets promoted about as fast as one can. With 2 years in, she's still looking at at least 2 more for shodan. I like that, and the fact that the dojo paces things so that old knowledge isn't lost. Again, ultimately you know your child and your dojo best.

Good luck, I think we are raising a strong new generation.
 

Cirdan

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If you want my opinion, training a seven year old to be a champon is just plain wrong.

Respectfully.
 

CuongNhuka

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Just keep an eye on him. Testosterone and ego run high at those things. When he becomes a teen/adult he'll have to worry about ticking off his opponent and catching some full force blows. People take those things act way to seriously. At his level it's you that should be careful. His opponents probably wont do much. There parents might. I saw a mom get mad and yell at her kid, yell at his opponent, and his opponents mom. Something about steroids... Stupid people. In all rights, that match should have never been. And I'd keep him out until he's in his teen's. B'ut thats just me
Good luck, and keep us informed!
 
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curious

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Hey!!! I'm back and good to go!!! Who's first........

Lost in Seattle (or do you prefer lostinseattle?) you do have a very strong point there, there has been many children that later end up as very questionable adults. If you look into their backgrounds you will find that there was a lot going on that shouldn't have been happening. Parties when their kids should be in bed asleep, drugs, abuse, lack of discipline and a huge circus of media clowns. It's very hard growing up as a functional adult when your parents are very disfunctional. Your also correct about peoples expectations, the tourney's about a week away, already a few are talking about my son asking a bunch of questions. Here at the studio we are a tight knit little group so it was easy to make it very clear about not talking to my son- talk to me. The tourney is going to be another story though I'm going to find out just how "tight" the "tight knit little group" really is and whether they really do have my son's best interest at heart. Another problem that I am getting a taste of is the older students bombarding him with advice (do this/do that-don't do this/don't do that). Last night I was sooooo ready to throw my shoe at one of them. We'll see what happens!!!

Flashlock....hi....when you break down the 10 hours that my son does, it comes out to at least 5 hours of strictly martial arts such as kenpo karate-one day for one hour, ju-jitsu-one day for one hour, kickboxing-one day for one hour, techniques-one day for one hour, sticks or staff-one day for one hour; and the rest? Cardio, strength training, helping out with the class, teaching a new student the basics, teamwork, drills and games. Are you and everybody that's been telling me that I'm a bad mother telling me that exercise, socializing and learning attributes such as patience, disciple and communication (only naming a few-don't have all day) are a bad thing? unhealthy? rubbish? :erg: WOW!!!!!!!! - that says a lot about what kind of people you are.

Still Learning- thank you soooo much for your advice and also for the reminder. Even though my son is only seven years old he behaves much better than my eleven and thirteen year olds. Although behavior and maturity go hand in hand they are two entirely different subjects and should be treated as such. Aloha!!!

Grydth, I have a couple of questions for you- what's up with your name? Is it your first, last or a nickname? How do you say it....grid-th or gr-ide-th? I'm just curious. Anyways you have made my day letting me know I'm not the only one out there. Thank you and yes we are raising a strong new generation.

Cirdan.....for you to think I would actually put my son through real extreme "champion" training like Jet LI or Bruce Lee or Chuck Liddell is wrong. These "......" means an implication not actual. My son is still attending regular classes we out of amusement are just using the term "champion".

CuongNhuka, a couple of parents like that mother are here at this studio and I can't help but feel sorry for their kids; the boy is a good kid, the daughter well umm lets just say she a mini-me of the very frustrating mother. Patience is a virtue. Thank you for your advice.

Without saying a name- there is a certain someone that has PM'd me saying she has answers to a lot of my questions and will soon post her reply. I know how busy life can get so don't rush and thank you for your PM. Hope to hear from you soon.
 

Carol

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Hey Curious,

Something that concerns me is a discussion that I had recently with a friend of mine that is an assistant instructor at a martial arts school. My friend has done a lot of work (on the mat and off the mat) with kids that have had a rough background.

A few months ago she and I were talking about what it was like to train with a young person that had been sexually abused. She had said that children look to their parents for everything and when children get abused, many times they become intensely disappointed in their parents for not being able to protect them...even the kids that love their parents feel this way.

She said that some of these kids get in to martial arts because they don't trust that their parents can protect them any more and they think it is their role to be the protector of the family because their parents aren't filling that role.

She also stated that managing a child with an abusive background is a long term project, not a short term project...as those that have been abused are at high risk of becoming abusers themselves because they were not taught how to properly handle power and desire.

It's not my place to say what is going through your son's mind...but the paralells between the way you have described your son and the way my friend has described her own challenges as a teacher sound eerily similar.

Your son's health, well-being, and education are more important than his hobbies. But then again, I am neither a parent nor a counselor or someone that even knows your son. so...my only advice is please, choose each step wisely. Good luck to you all, I genuinely wish all of you the best no matter how things go. :asian:
 

flashlock

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Hey!!! I'm back and good to go!!! Who's first........


Flashlock....hi....when you break down the 10 hours that my son does, it comes out to at least 5 hours of strictly martial arts such as kenpo karate-one day for one hour, ju-jitsu-one day for one hour, kickboxing-one day for one hour, techniques-one day for one hour, sticks or staff-one day for one hour; and the rest? Cardio, strength training, helping out with the class, teaching a new student the basics, teamwork, drills and games. Are you and everybody that's been telling me that I'm a bad mother telling me that exercise, socializing and learning attributes such as patience, disciple and communication (only naming a few-don't have all day) are a bad thing? unhealthy? rubbish? :erg: WOW!!!!!!!! - that says a lot about what kind of people you are.

Hi, I never said you're a bad mother. All those benefits you mentioned are fine--but what about playing with friends, using his imagination, getting fresh air. So much pressure and compitition cannot be healthy for a little boy.

What I worry about is... if in doubt, which you are, you still are taking the chance, even though it could hurt your kid. To me, that's selfish on your part. Be the grown up, have him continue, but take 2 little classes a week. He can become a champion when he's old enough to really understand what that means, maybe when he's 16 or so, if he hasn't decided to quit and chase girls instead.

Anyway, I'm glad you're not my mom. VERY glad...
 
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