Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Introductory Martial Arts Class

Last night, Alastair and I went to a free introductory martial arts class.  We had gotten a card at a Halloween festival and I figured it would be something he'd enjoy doing.  Amanda and I had also talked a lot about getting him involved in martial arts, both for the dexterity/agility and the self-discipline elements.

As the date approached, though, Alastair got less and less excited about it.  I looked online and found that parents were encouraged to take the class right along with the children, and that got him really excited again.

But it was a lie.

When we got there, we spent a few minutes watching the prior class finish their lesson.  It was kind of fun to watch, but I didn't see any particular rigor applied to the style or the movements.  It seemed a little hokey, to me.

When it was our turn, Alastair was called first.  He and another little boy sat at the very front of the class, closest to the teacher.  I was placed at the very back of the class, just about as far from him as possible.  The teacher then told him that if she caught him looking for me, it would be a sign of disrespect to her.  Um, uh oh.  This might not end well...

But he was pretty good.  He didn't sit still, because he can't, but he did the moves, the kicks, the punches, and seemed to enjoy it.  He didn't enjoy the discipline, though, and had to be told a couple of times to face forward.  And he REALLY didn't enjoy the fact that we weren't doing it together.  He didn't cry, but he was very confused.

At one point the instructor was talking about the goals of the class, and they included a citizenship program that students could participate in.  It comprised doing 7 chores around the house every day, and she had one girl stand up and recite some of her chores.  Um, ok, but Alastair already does all of those things:  he cleans up his toys, he takes his dirty clothes to the hamper, he takes his dirty dishes to the counter, and he puts his milk cup in the refrigerator if he's done with it.

Later, the class was going through a range of 16 moves, with the teacher calling the number and the class repeating.  Well, Alastair knows his numbers pretty well, so he started calling the numbers right along with her.  Self-discipline be damned, even the teacher found it funny enough that after a few numbers, she stopped counting and let him lead!

And that was the only positive experience I was able to take away from it.

My back hurts, Alastair was confused, and we got a really late start to bed-time.

I don't think we'll stick with this.  He's just too little for that kind of regimentation, and given what he's been through this year, I think we need to focus on hugs and fun.  Discipline can come a little later.  Besides, he already gets a taste of it at the Little Gym.
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Stephanie said...

I agree with you. This is definitely something that can wait. Maybe when he's about 5. We are thinking of doing lessons at the Y to start with.

brite said...

I think we need to focus on hugs and fun.


Deistbrawler said...

Get him into Krav Maga...that way if anyone with a gun, knife, bat, broken bottle, meat clever, etc. decides to fight you, even at, like, 4, he will be able to kill them by a look.

Kim said...

I took Katie when she was about the same age as Little A. We were OK until they got a dummy out and proceeded to explain that it was a "bad guy" that could "get them" and that they needed to practice protecting themselves by straddling the dummy and raining blows with their elbows across its face.

Yeah, we didn't go back. And I'm pretty sure it will put Katie on a nice chaise in a cushy office one day soon. Good times.