In our kids classes, we see each student as an “Adult in Training”. Like a tree sapling with stakes to assist its growth, parents and coaches give them direction and protection. Once our kids reach adulthood, it is time to stand on their own, making their own decisions and directing their own growth.
On the mats, our kids have an opportunity to spar at the end of each class. It is during this time that they get the chance to make decisions on their own in each moment. The coach will give them hints as to the best directions to take but ultimately it is their decision to make in those moments because it is that child that controls the body in which they reside. Each sparring round is an immediate feedback loop of those decisions as they experience success or failure from each choice. Small victories occur when they execute the new techniques they’ve been practicing as well as challenges when they are unable to escape difficult positions. I watch our kids savor these times in each class, it is what they look forward to.
After spending the day at school, being told what to do, when to do it, how to do it… they finally get that time to be “on their own” in the sparring matches. They can choose to ignore the noise in the room and be in “the zone”. They can choose to listen to the coach and experience the success of the move that they then executed, fueling their progress with the feelings of success that they created in real time.
These experiences of autonomy give them a taste of what it means to be an adult. Quality time and focus invested in training on the mats is an opportunity to learn what choices have the fullest potential and Power (and also which ones don’t). This practice carries over into life as an adult, setting them up for success.
As parents and coaches, it is difficult to watch our children make mistakes. It is even more difficult to let them, but as we do, they learn how to stand strong on their own. Your investment into your child’s martial arts training gives you both practice. As you watch class, you get to practice letting your child learn from their choices in real time. As your child sweats and cries and smiles and works on those mats, they get to experience the results of their choices, both strong ones and not so strong ones.
For more info and to enroll in our kids classes, click here.