When the unthinkable strikes your school

Carol

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Apologies for a dark topic.

A few years ago we had a horrifying case here where a thrill-kill gang invaded a home in rural NH, and the 11 year old surviver bravely called 911 with her throat cut. She was studying Kenpo locally.

Unfortunately in more recent times where domestic violence took the life of a 9 year old boy, he was murdered by his father during a supervised visit. He was studying TKD at a school where a friend teachers.

As a school, how do you move forward from such a horror, whether the student involved is an adult or a child?
 

wingchun100

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Apologies for a dark topic.

A few years ago we had a horrifying case here where a thrill-kill gang invaded a home in rural NH, and the 11 year old surviver bravely called 911 with her throat cut. She was studying Kenpo locally.

Unfortunately in more recent times where domestic violence took the life of a 9 year old boy, he was murdered by his father during a supervised visit. He was studying TKD at a school where a friend teachers.

As a school, how do you move forward from such a horror, whether the student involved is an adult or a child?

That's a tricky topic...and not one I can even answer myself, but I felt compelled to contribute. Our school has been fortunate to avoid anything like that. Actually, as far as I know, only one student has died at a young age, and she wasn't even THAT young: she was maybe in her late thirties, but it was definitely before her time. I remember meeting her when I checked out the school in December 1994. I joined the school about a month a later, and somewhere in between those two events, she died. I'm not sure Sifu ever made it common knowledge, nor did he discuss what happened to her. But it wasn't anything even approaching the tragedy you mentioned.

Regarding the second story, it always makes me wonder: what the hell is the matter with people? What reason did he have to beat his kid at all, let alone TO DEATH? There IS no good reason for it. I'm assuming the guy had a problem with anger anyway. Arm someone like that with martial arts knowledge, and you have a deadly combination.

But then how would you draw the line? Make everyone who wants to sign up at your school take a psych eval? I mean, can you imagine being the person who TAUGHT that guy? I don't know about anyone else, but if I had been his instructor, I'd be wondering if things could have gone that far had I NOT taught him.
 

Touch Of Death

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That's a tricky topic...and not one I can even answer myself, but I felt compelled to contribute. Our school has been fortunate to avoid anything like that. Actually, as far as I know, only one student has died at a young age, and she wasn't even THAT young: she was maybe in her late thirties, but it was definitely before her time. I remember meeting her when I checked out the school in December 1994. I joined the school about a month a later, and somewhere in between those two events, she died. I'm not sure Sifu ever made it common knowledge, nor did he discuss what happened to her. But it wasn't anything even approaching the tragedy you mentioned.

Regarding the second story, it always makes me wonder: what the hell is the matter with people? What reason did he have to beat his kid at all, let alone TO DEATH? There IS no good reason for it. I'm assuming the guy had a problem with anger anyway. Arm someone like that with martial arts knowledge, and you have a deadly combination.

But then how would you draw the line? Make everyone who wants to sign up at your school take a psych eval? I mean, can you imagine being the person who TAUGHT that guy? I don't know about anyone else, but if I had been his instructor, I'd be wondering if things could have gone that far had I NOT taught him.
To address your last statement, normally a student with these problems washes out before learning to be a weapon; however, there are exceptions. On the other hand we need to be concerned that some of these martial arts teachers aren't instilling a bad attitude in students that could go either way.
Sean
 
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Carol

Carol

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Regarding the second story, it always makes me wonder: what the hell is the matter with people? What reason did he have to beat his kid at all, let alone TO DEATH? There IS no good reason for it. I'm assuming the guy had a problem with anger anyway. Arm someone like that with martial arts knowledge, and you have a deadly combination.

He shot and killed the boy to punish his ex, so she would "know the pain of living without her only son".

The 9 year old victim was the TKD student, not the scumbag. But you bring up another good point for discussion, the concern about skills being used the wrong way.
 

wingchun100

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He shot the boy to punish his ex, so she would "know the pain of living without her only son"

How frickin' stupid and selfish, not to mention ridiculous! HE didn't "live without his son." Didn't he come over for visits? Yes. So therefore he didn't live without his son. But now he does.

And you are right about the bad attitude thing. I'd narrow it down and say the exact problem jerks like that guy have is NO SENSE OF ACCOUNTABILITY. Think about it: his ex left him...things were to a point where he had to have supervised visits with his son. There HAD to be a reason for that. I mean, I don't know...maybe it was set up that way because the ex was a spiteful b*tch, but it's more likely that there was something WRONG with the guy.

So instead of sucking it up and admitting to himself "I have supervised visits with my son because I screwed up," he shoots the kid. What this world needs is a steady diet of accountability.
 

wingchun100

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To address your last statement, normally a student with these problems washes out before learning to be a weapon; however, there are exceptions. On the other hand we need to be concerned that some of these martial arts teachers aren't instilling a bad attitude in students that could go either way.
Sean

Well, from the martial arts schools I have been in or visited over the years, none of them have gone out of their way to teach their students a bad attitude. (No, I have never seen a school like Cobra Kai from KARATE KID.) However, I have seen students developing bad attitudes UNDER THE RADAR of the instructor.

I am not passing judgment on them, but if I ran my own school, I'd like to think I would be aware of things like that. The day isn't here yet, but I hope it will be soon.
 
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Carol

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How frickin' stupid and selfish, not to mention ridiculous! HE didn't "live without his son." Didn't he come over for visits? Yes. So therefore he didn't live without his son. But now he does.

And you are right about the bad attitude thing. I'd narrow it down and say the exact problem jerks like that guy have is NO SENSE OF ACCOUNTABILITY. Think about it: his ex left him...things were to a point where he had to have supervised visits with his son. There HAD to be a reason for that. I mean, I don't know...maybe it was set up that way because the ex was a spiteful b*tch, but it's more likely that there was something WRONG with the guy.

So instead of sucking it up and admitting to himself "I have supervised visits with my son because I screwed up," he shoots the kid. What this world needs is a steady diet of accountability.

EXACTLY! Just...bad, all around. He, um, saved the taxpayers of Hillsborough County the expense of a trial...but if he was planning on committing suicide why not do just that? Why take the life of the person you are closest to?

Another thing in the world I just don't get.....sigh....
 

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How to move on after a tragedy like that? Wow that is a deep and soul searching subject.

Not having to have faced an issue like that (PTL), I believe the only way to move forward is for the instructor/owner to remember all of the good they have done for all of their other students. I mean you have to stress to yourself and to your school and (to) focus on the positives like how many students they have helped them to have more self confidence, how many kids did they help bully proof, how many women did they help not to get raped by making them more aware of what their surroundings are and taught them some basic techniques giving them a little more confidence and security etc. etc. (I don't mean the instructor proudly proclaims, while standing on his pedestal, how much he has done; how many fictitious rapes his students have avoided because of him, or kids haven't been bullied etc. etc. rather I mean he needs to still talk about those things such as having confidence, awareness, to continue on educating his students and not lose HIS confidence in his program.)

Then I believe the instructor might need to re-examine what and how they teach to see if it can be improved or if it needs to be altered. I remember reading a post and I'm not sure if it was on MT or another forum but the poster mentioned about being in a area where gun shots were heard (with the idea being that the students would hear them as well due to undesirable activities going on in their area). So the instructor adapted his training methodology to include him slapping together his paddles making a loud noise in the middle of class and having everyone drop to the floor and seek shelter. I think he even noticed that some of the older students were covering up the younger ones. This was an instructor trying to avert a tragedy like this for his students.

Iain Abernethy also has a drill that is similar in concept in that one person is chosen at random upon entering the school that they are to be the attacker for the day. At some point in class this person will attack another (without notice) (even in the middle of say group kata practice) and the other person defends against the attack. In both of these cases, the instructor is trying to up the students level of awareness and preparedness in regards to protecting themselves and possibly others.

However even after doing all of the bully proofing, self defense awareness, self defense scenario training, sparring, or what have you, sometimes bad things happen to good people and to good students.
 

Touch Of Death

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Well, from the martial arts schools I have been in or visited over the years, none of them have gone out of their way to teach their students a bad attitude. (No, I have never seen a school like Cobra Kai from KARATE KID.) However, I have seen students developing bad attitudes UNDER THE RADAR of the instructor.

I am not passing judgment on them, but if I ran my own school, I'd like to think I would be aware of things like that. The day isn't here yet, but I hope it will be soon.
Actually, any psycho can open up a karate school. You should get out more. :)
 

Mark Lynn

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Well, from the martial arts schools I have been in or visited over the years, none of them have gone out of their way to teach their students a bad attitude. (No, I have never seen a school like Cobra Kai from KARATE KID.) However, I have seen students developing bad attitudes UNDER THE RADAR of the instructor.

I am not passing judgment on them, but if I ran my own school, I'd like to think I would be aware of things like that. The day isn't here yet, but I hope it will be soon.

However in years past some instructors, in fact some karate masters of old encouraged their students to go to the bars, or the seedier parts of town and pick fights to test themselves ad their fighting abilities. As recently as in the mid 70's instructors would gather their students to invade another school classes promoting sparring sessions to test the instructor and the school. I was reading a thread yesterday over on the Balintawak forum (here on MT) about a Balintawak instructor who would (allegedly) beat on other students/instructors (in the Balintawak club) all to prove his worth to others outside of the Balintawak club and to show dominence.

Point is as instructors we can be teaching our students a bad attitude by even the practices we encourage all in the name of training or proving themselves. We can preach there is no first attack and it's all about protecting one self in karate, but if we go over to invade a school or to test our skills on others who don't want to have your skills tested on them then you are developing a bad attitude possibly with your instructors permission.

This action of shoving a person's will or desire over onto another person is on the same path as the student who wants to pick on the lower rank or the weaker student in their school, a little further down that same line is the instructor who wants another instructor to prove his worth, likewise you have the best fighter dominating and beating on the other students, then the guys who wants to take his anger out on others (women), then ultimately the guy who for whatever reason decides he wants to take another's life. Along that same path could also be those that want what someone has and decides he wants to take it and so on.
 

wingchun100

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Actually, any psycho can open up a karate school. You should get out more. :)

I didn't say they couldn't. I was saying what I have seen from my experience. Whether I get out enough or not didn't even need to be brought into the discussion.
 

ballen0351

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Apologies for a dark topic.

A few years ago we had a horrifying case here where a thrill-kill gang invaded a home in rural NH, and the 11 year old surviver bravely called 911 with her throat cut. She was studying Kenpo locally.

Unfortunately in more recent times where domestic violence took the life of a 9 year old boy, he was murdered by his father during a supervised visit. He was studying TKD at a school where a friend teachers.

As a school, how do you move forward from such a horror, whether the student involved is an adult or a child?

Welcome to my world. How do you move on? You acknowledge it. You let kids grieve and express them selves for a few days then you get back to training. Tragedy happens and its a part of life. Use it as a learning point about the world and why we train. Bad things happen but we must move forward.
 

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I agree with Ballen0351.
I'm much older than most on the forum and in the days of my youth we had NO grief intervention , we accepted the fact of a death or tragedy, grieved for an appropriate time then got on with our lives.
Now I will say that the media today plays on any major tragedy and keeps it in front of our eyes and ears, and this is not healthy or helpful to those involved.
Pay your respects to those involved, help the family of those involved if needed and you know them
DO not constantly talk about the event
The martial arts school is not the place to solve, resolve, or cure the worlds bad events, it is a place to train with the thought that bad things do happen and that we should prepare ourselves for that possibility
 

wingchun100

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Part of the way I responded to this thread stems from the fact that I misunderstood part of Carol's post.

I understood the story involving the 11 year old: it was the kid who trained at the school. However, when I read about the 9 year old, I imagined a completely different scenario. This is what I envisioned: the DAD was the one who learned TKD and, during a supervised visit with his son, he let his anger get the better of him and used those skills on his own son.

That would be a completely different topic: how to deal with it if someone who learned at your school used their skills for something evil/horrific like that.
 

ballen0351

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That would be a completely different topic: how to deal with it if someone who learned at your school used their skills for something evil/horrific like that.
Same way. Bad things happen and sometimes normal people snap and do bad things.
 

wingchun100

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Same way. Bad things happen and sometimes normal people snap and do bad things.

Right, but some people could still be consumed by guilt over it. If I were a Sifu, I couldn't help but think, "Damn...and I gave that person the ability to do those things." As I said before, there is no way a teacher can KNOW he is giving dangerous skills to a future killer. But still, I have a conscience so it would get to me.
 

ballen0351

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Right, but some people could still be consumed by guilt over it. If I were a Sifu, I couldn't help but think, "Damn...and I gave that person the ability to do those things." As I said before, there is no way a teacher can KNOW he is giving dangerous skills to a future killer. But still, I have a conscience so it would get to me.

You either accept it and move on or you let it eat you alive. Ive killed someone in self defense before I had to move on. I let it bother me for a few years it made me a bad husband, a bad father, a bad son. One day I decided I wasn't going to letting it control me antmore. I made the choice to move on. Im a better person now for it
 

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Apologies for a dark topic.

A few years ago we had a horrifying case here where a thrill-kill gang invaded a home in rural NH, and the 11 year old surviver bravely called 911 with her throat cut. She was studying Kenpo locally.

Unfortunately in more recent times where domestic violence took the life of a 9 year old boy, he was murdered by his father during a supervised visit. He was studying TKD at a school where a friend teachers.

As a school, how do you move forward from such a horror, whether the student involved is an adult or a child?

Carol, I'm so sorry that these came close to you. It is heartbreaking.
What did the schools actually do (instructors or parents or kids or all of them) ?? - if you know.
What's your perspective on the actions (if any that you know of) ?
Sadly, i have some experience here but i'd like to hear more from you about the response
you know of - what's tugging at you?
w/respect and concern
 

jks9199

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Right, but some people could still be consumed by guilt over it. If I were a Sifu, I couldn't help but think, "Damn...and I gave that person the ability to do those things." As I said before, there is no way a teacher can KNOW he is giving dangerous skills to a future killer. But still, I have a conscience so it would get to me.

I give someone tools. I can't be responsible for how they use them. That doesn't mean I try to teach to people who'll rape, rob, etc. -- but that I accept that I only control so much of it.

As to coping with the aftermath of a death or crime in the training family... It's no different than how I would any friend. If asked, I'll provide advice or support. If they just want space or a place where things are "normal" -- that's what I'll give them.
 
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