when youre in a class with family/children...

super_newbie

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So,
I've been studying TKD for 6 months now. I have my yellow belt, am working on my orange, abut to be perfectly honest, i am in no rush to go up belt levels. So far, for me, tae kwon do has been about learning to be more disciplined, controlling and strengethening my mind, and my body.
I live in a very rural area, and the main reason why i chose my dojang is b/c it is 10 minutes from my house (NOTHING is ten minutes from my house lol).
There is another dojang in the same building where i train but i chose the one i'm with b/c i really like the instructors. The other one had too many teen age boys and the instructor seemed a bit too militant for me (lots of shouting and his vibe just didnt gel with mine). My instructors are actually a husband wife and daughter, and I liked them as pppl as well as their style immedietely.
I also like being in a class with children and parents. Training with 8 years olds who are 3 belts higher than me has really helped me in regards to not being afraid to look silly or make mistakes.
The thing is- my instructors are very lax about proper behavior and etiquette in the dojang. One teenager has asbergers syndrome (a highly functioning form of autism) so you know, i understand he's an exception, but man, theres more kids coming in that just have no idea how to properly behave in a dojang.
And my instructors arent doing much to change this. My instructors trained with a master who they claim was very very strict. And i wonder if this is the reason why they are so laid back with their own teaching style. Now, I understand that for instructors its a hard balance to make sure a child learns proper techniques and respects the martial art, but still has fun doing it. But some of these kids are out of control and they're bumming me out! I've been told from students who have been in this dojang for many years that it wasnt always this casual, that they've changed over the years.
In class, I try to psyche myself into just concentrating on myself and my own training. But when it gets to a point where i dont even break a sweat in a 90 minute class b/c kids are goofing off, i get a little annoyed.
I hate to sound like I'm just bitching (although that is indeed what i'm doing really) but I'm not sure how to handle it.
I've thought of talking with my instructors but I worry that i will come across as disrespectful.
There has been talk about adding an adults only class which I am of course thrilled about but it hasnt happened yet and I'm not sure there will be enough interest to do it (it's a REALLY small school). I really want to stick with this school.
Should I just keep my mouth shut and concentrate on my training?
Or, as a student who pays a monthly fee, do I have a right to voice my dissatisfaction? And if so, how do I go about it in a respectful way?
any input would be greatly appreciated!
-jenn
 

yorkshirelad

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I would say, have a word with the instructors. Just tell them how you feel. If they listen and change things, then great. If they take offense, spend your hard earned cash somewhere else. Obviously you're not getting the most out of training due to the situation, so these people need to be told. Might I suggest that you ask them about running an adults only class. They may welcome your ideas.

Keep us posted

Dom
 

Omar B

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I could not stand it. I like my classes tough, militant and very disciplined. I always imagine that my instructor should be as close to Mas Oyama as possible! Those other instructors you talked about sound like they would have been my choice ... but it's all about personality.
 

Shinobi Teikiatsu

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Without proper etiquette, nobody can master a martial art. Every martial art has a code of conduct that complements the art itself, and it can depend on the very basis of the art, or the way the master teaches it.

Either way, as you admitted, you're training with a youth-oriented class, and so you should expect it to be a little lax, which is something I've noticed happens with classes that are geared towards children.

The sad truth is, the most you can do is conduct yourself in the proper fashion and hope others follow suit, but that probably won't work out for you, so I would take to your instructor and voice your concerns, otherwise it may be time to find another dojang (that militant one MIGHT be what you're looking for, even if you didn't think you were)

Either way, it all starts with talking to your instructor. Don't be scared to ask as many questions as you want. I just want you to remember this, from what you've said, you're the minority in the group, one of the few, if any, adults. That being said, your code of conduct might be different than those of the children. So remember that when you bring it up to your instructor, and be sure to inquire about those adult classes.
 

seninoniwashi

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It seems that now days traditionalism and discipline is dying. I just recently got back into it all and Im having the same problem. Students arent held to the same level for grading which I think really makes room for the goofing off and slacking that makes the more dedicated students ashamed or frustrated with their dojo.

I would seriously talk to your instructor. Let him know your serious about your training and youre not there to play around, respectfully of course. I think hell look at you as one of the more serious students. Maybe thats what the school needs - someone to set the pace for discipline and respect. I agree with Yorkshire lad - if they get upset over it then it really shows their colors, no matter how nice they are as people - you know what their schools principles are :lookie:
 

just2kicku

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Sometimes, classes to kids are just a playtime for them. My guess is that they probably act like that at home also.

We have had kids that were disruptive in class and made it hard for other kids to learn. I have had to take them to the parking lot and make them march bare footed in the gravel till they cry, and then make them march some more as punishment. Some parents pulled their kids out, some parents love it.

It is your instructor that has to let them know who's boss and not let them run how the class is being taught. You are their to learn. If your learning is being impeded by a bunch of unruly kids then you need to say something. Otherwise you're not getting what you paid for. and maybe it's time to move on. Did you see how everyone was acting in the other school? Maybe thats the one you need.
 

Rich Parsons

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So,
I've been studying TKD for 6 months now. I have my yellow belt, am working on my orange, abut to be perfectly honest, i am in no rush to go up belt levels.

It is good not to be in a rush. But it could be just as bad to be afraid of having the rank and the responsibility of performing at a certain rank or having to show lessor belts some technique. Just a thought.


So far, for me, tae kwon do has been about learning to be more disciplined, controlling and strengethening my mind, and my body.

This is good. Improve the body and the mind is always a good idea, be it in martial arts or some other path(s).


I live in a very rural area, and the main reason why i chose my dojang is b/c it is 10 minutes from my house (NOTHING is ten minutes from my house lol).

So you are limited to your choices close by.

Is this because you walk or ride a bicycle to the class?

Is it because of the cost of gas to go to one further away?

Is it the time to go to one further away?


To get the right training, I went where I felt it was, even if I drove past may other clubs, cites or counties.


There is another dojang in the same building where i train but i chose the one i'm with b/c i really like the instructors. The other one had too many teen age boys and the instructor seemed a bit too militant for me (lots of shouting and his vibe just didnt gel with mine). My instructors are actually a husband wife and daughter, and I liked them as pppl as well as their style immedietely.

So there is another choice but it did not fit your first walk in the door feel to make you comfortable. I have to say that this is great that you recognize this. Having a good connection with the teacher(s) is very important.


I also like being in a class with children and parents. Training with 8 years olds who are 3 belts higher than me has really helped me in regards to not being afraid to look silly or make mistakes.

People who train for over two decades like myself still make mistakes. We still can look silly. We just might do it less often. It is better to do it in class where you can look at the mistake and try to learn from it.


The thing is- my instructors are very lax about proper behavior and etiquette in the dojang. One teenager has asbergers syndrome (a highly functioning form of autism) so you know, i understand he's an exception, but man, theres more kids coming in that just have no idea how to properly behave in a dojang.

The exception child, is understood. But as an adult it is understood, but is it understood from a child's point of view? Do they understand that kid A has a medical condition, and that it is not right for the rest?

I think if might be because of this little area of confusion. To not single out the kid A, the others are getting away with not following tradition or respect or what ever it is that is bothering you.


And my instructors arent doing much to change this. My instructors trained with a master who they claim was very very strict. And i wonder if this is the reason why they are so laid back with their own teaching style.

They could have changed because of how strict it was for them. Look at society from WWII to today.

But remember this idea for below and add it to the items to talk to them about.


Now, I understand that for instructors its a hard balance to make sure a child learns proper techniques and respects the martial art, but still has fun doing it.

Fun. It is very important. When I taught kids, I would take "KID" breaks every 15 to 20 minutes. Adults consider these "Breaks" to be punishment.
I have them run laps in class. I have them do push up or sit ups. This got them to just do something as they are little self producing batteries that have to let some of the energy out to be functional. If I allowed the kids to make the laps into a race, they really enjoyed this as there was competition and there was a reason to go fast burn off energy. After this the kids could then take a quick water and breath break and get back to learning and practicing.

But that was my teaching style. It does not work with everyone. Nor was everyone happy. One parent thought I was not stern enough, but the kids did what I wanted when I asked, as I recognized they lacked attention. I would let them do more kid things and do things to burn energy and have fun, and also learn. So, I explained by demonstrating to that parent that the kids did what I asked, when I asked. We had a student instructor relationship where I allowed them to ask questions, but not infinite questions. There were limitations. I respected the kids and they respected me.

Yet, this class never looked like an Adult Class.


But some of these kids are out of control and they're bumming me out! I've been told from students who have been in this dojang for many years that it wasnt always this casual, that they've changed over the years.

Does the change go back to when kid A started training or soon after?

Ask some of the senior students, or better yet ask the instructors yourself.


In class, I try to psyche myself into just concentrating on myself and my own training. But when it gets to a point where i dont even break a sweat in a 90 minute class b/c kids are goofing off, i get a little annoyed.

Well it is good to sweat. But sometimes it is good to get brain sweat by working and fine tuning. But that depends upon the art and the person and where this type of training begins.

As to kids goofing off, treat them like the crazy driver going to slow or too fast, it is their driving and their gas or time, not yours. You are not the mom of these kids. Even though as an adult, you see the disrespect you can choose to not let it bother you.

If that is not an option then talk to the instructors.


I hate to sound like I'm just bitching (although that is indeed what i'm doing really) but I'm not sure how to handle it.
I've thought of talking with my instructors but I worry that i will come across as disrespectful.

Yes it can be done disrespectfully.

i.e. "YOUR TEACHING STYLE SUCKS! I think you should do ..."

That is bad.

You can try:

Hi, I was wondering if we could talk after class about some concerns I have with my training, and that training is tied to this club and you as the instructors I was hoping you could give me some insight.

Then talk to them after class about, how you think feel. Start out by telling them that this is not personal and that you need to express how you feel so they will understand your point of view. Also tell them you are not looking top quit, but you are looking for some input form them on what is expected and if they can help you.

This puts them in control as your are asking them for help. Even if the change has to come from their side it is you asking not telling.

Also remember, the worse case is for them to ask you to leave. But, if you are really that unhappy, you will most likely leave anyways down the road.


There has been talk about adding an adults only class which I am of course thrilled about but it hasnt happened yet and I'm not sure there will be enough interest to do it (it's a REALLY small school). I really want to stick with this school.

During your talk to the instructor(s) tell them you are really happy about the idea of the adults only class. Ask them if they could run it on a trial basis. This will allow them to make the decision and also to see in the end if it does help the adults learn better or quicker.


Should I just keep my mouth shut and concentrate on my training?

No. For me just keeping quiet leads to resentment. Be honest and respectful and ask your questions. or express your concerns.


Or, as a student who pays a monthly fee, do I have a right to voice my dissatisfaction?

At first, by asking the questions and expressing your concerns you are voicing your dissatisfaction. Just in hopefully a polite manner.

If you end up quitting then this also shows your dissatisfaction and if they ask you why you are leaving tell them honestly. Not angrily, but honestly.


And if so, how do I go about it in a respectful way?

See above, but it has to be your words and your style or they will see it is not you, and wonder what you are hiding or what game you are playing.


any input would be greatly appreciated!
-jenn


Good Luck
 

tshadowchaser

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If you have concerns about some of the things you see happening in class then yes have a private respectful talk with the instructor before or after class.
Explain you concerns in a manner that shows you mean no disrespect to him/them but only that you feel their may be some disrespect in the informality shown in class.
 

ACJ

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I've been told from students who have been in this dojang for many years that it wasnt always this casual, that they've changed over the years.

Are these students unhappy with the change?

In class, I try to psyche myself into just concentrating on myself and my own training. But when it gets to a point where i dont even break a sweat in a 90 minute class b/c kids are goofing off, i get a little annoyed.

How does their goofing off stop you from breaking a sweat? Does the instructor stop teaching when they are goofing off? Do they hinder your actual training?

Or, as a student who pays a monthly fee, do I have a right to voice my dissatisfaction? And if so, how do I go about it in a respectful way?

Ask if there is a way you can improve your training, saying you don't think it is physically challenging enough for you/training isn't focused enough for you/or whatever. This could get them to ask you why this is happening, giving you a nice respectful way to bring up your complaints, or they could give you advice how to maximise your training and get around having the kids slow you down. Possibly.
 

girlbug2

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Imagining myself in your instructors' shoes for a moment,

I would hate to lose a good student who is serious about their training. So, if that student is dissatisfied with something, I'd want to know about it while there was still an opportunity to fix it. Once a student is so frustrated/resentful that they walk away, it's too late. Even then, I'd still want them to explain why they're leaving, even if I couldn't change their mind at that point.

So please don't let your frustration build. The sooner you talk to your instructor about this, the better.
 

Tez3

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I dislike training with children full stop. I've trained before with some really well behaved, disciplined children but it's still restricting to have them in the same class. I don't believe either children or adults are well served by having a joint class, younger students have different needs and teaching them is different too.
 

Aiki Lee

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Maybe your instructors would be up for some private lessons.

It's very rare to have a child take a martial arts class seriously. Out of the 30 in my dojo; there is only one 10 yr old girl who takes her training seriously enough for me to believe she has real potential as a warrior.
 
OP
super_newbie

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wow- what wonderful feedback! thanks to everyone who replied.
ironically, i had a saturday morning class the next day and i was the only one who showed up beside the instructor.
it's funny b/c i hate waking up early on saturday mornings but i specifically do it b/c some of the annoying kids are not there.
i had a good talk with one of my instructors. i didnt come straight out and voice my concerns but i definitely feel like i've opened the door to that conversation.
as i said before, i really like the instructors, as teachers but also as people and i think this is very important.
i'm a big fan of the old saying, "squeaky wheels gets the grease" and I'm known for being very confrontational when I have issues, I just wasnt sure how to go about this particular one. all of the advice ive received thus far is very beneficial.
I'll keep you all posted!
 

Stac3y

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As a mother of 2 energetic boys (ages 8 & 10) who take karate, I would be very disappointed if their instructors didn't maintain a reasonable level of discipline in class. I'm not militant at all, but I expect appropriate behavior in class--attentiveness, politeness, and the use of ma'am and sir (we don't say sensei or master in our style.) I wonder how the kids' parents feel about this lax attitude?

Also, IMO, it's much better to have separate adult/kid classes.
 

Balrog

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Have a closed-door session with the instructors and express your concerns. Regardless of the result, if you stay in that school, lead by example.

YOU be the one who stands at attention on the mark.
YOU be the one who answers "YES, SIR!".
YOU be the one who pushes himself to do just that little bit extra.

You'll be amazed how many students will follow your example.
 

Aiki Lee

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That's a good idea. Many people don't know how they are supposed to behave in a MA school. If you lead by example, the other students will likely take notice and the more serious studnets will emulate this behavior. Your teacher will likely apreciate the disciplined demeanor.
 
OP
super_newbie

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ironically, the parents of the two problem children are also students!
twice a week my class consists of a family (husband, wife, son, 2 daughters and a cousin) and me. which sometimes makes me feel like i'm interfering on their private class. the parents dont seem to have a grasp on the problem kids. and i guess i should clarify that when i say they "goof off" i mean things like: not paying attention to what form we're working on, not bowing in and out of the dojang, laying on the floor, laying their belt on the ground etc.
Arent these basic things that a kid above the age of 9 should know and follow in a MA class?
 

hkfuie

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I don't know if this helps in your situation, but in one school where I trained, the "adult" class included teenagers mature and serious enough to not need reprimands to focus and work hard. If that increases the number of potential adult class students, it may increase the probability of the class actually being added to the schedule.
 

Stac3y

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ironically, the parents of the two problem children are also students!
twice a week my class consists of a family (husband, wife, son, 2 daughters and a cousin) and me. which sometimes makes me feel like i'm interfering on their private class. the parents dont seem to have a grasp on the problem kids. and i guess i should clarify that when i say they "goof off" i mean things like: not paying attention to what form we're working on, not bowing in and out of the dojang, laying on the floor, laying their belt on the ground etc.
Arent these basic things that a kid above the age of 9 should know and follow in a MA class?

Do the parents lay on the floor, too? That could be entertaining. :lol2:

Seriously, though, kids have to be reminded of things. A lot. It's a very rare class that I don't have to remind one or two to bow in/out, not to spin when in seated attention stance, etc. Flopping around on the floor is something the littler ones (up to maybe age 6 or 7) tend to do; they have to be reminded not to sometimes. Typically, we'll have one or two in a class of 30 who have a hard time paying attention and staying on task; these tend to be "repeat offenders," and they either get the idea eventually or get tired of being corrected and quit. The kids you're talking about sound a little old to be doing this stuff; but even adults will lose focus sometimes if instructors don't redirect their attention when necessary. I can't speak to the belt thing, as my school has no rule against putting belts on the floor.

It sounds to me like your instructor may just have given up on teaching this family to behave appropriately, but can't stand to lose the income, since they're a big group. IMO, this is, once again, a good argument for separating the kids' and adults' classes--then, the instructor could teach the kids in a way that works for their age, and could perhaps have the parents "assist" with classes, which might bring the obnoxiousness of their children to their attention. Nothing like an annoyed parent to drop the blocks on a bratty kid. Or maybe the parents are hopeless. I dunno.
 

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