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Monday, October 10, 2011

Guide for martial Arts parents: 10 things martial arts instructors want parents to know...

As martial arts instructors, we teach all sorts of age ranges. If your school teaches kids, then its important that we teach patience, value of hard work, goal setting, etc. However we must not forget to educate the parents as well.

Unless a parent already has martial arts experience, many parents get their children into martial arts not knowing what it is about....that is what this primer is for.

"10 things Martial Arts instructors want parents to know"

(I will be speaking in terms of my school....)

1. Please use the proper term for the class. I teach Kung Fu, not Karate. While I also carry a black belt ranking in Karate, this class is Kung Fu. If they are cross training in another one of put classes, please use the proper term for the other class(es) well.

2. As stated on your class agreement, please call or email of you child can't make it to class. Just as you would call your child's school when he/she is ill, do notify us as we are a school as well. We plan classes with your child's attendance in mind, and we will need to adjust our class plans accordingly.

3. We  have belt ranks to show a child's progress and to teach the progression to children. Most importantly it teaches children that goals must be worked toward, and that success must be earned, promotion is a privilege (not a right). We didn't make up this ranking has been around for a LONG time. We charge a fee for exams not to make "more money", but to basically pay for that nice belt your child is now wearing. If we have to bring in other teachers and masters to be on the exam board, it helps pay their travel. We make serious decisions about who gets to be on the promotion list, it is not some random name-out-of-a-hat. If you don't wish for your child to be promoted, then my school needs to know BEFORE the fact, not after I put the belt around their waist. However, consider that it is your child that is taking the class, so please consider their wishes as well.

4. I have taken many classes in subjects that relates to what I do and have undergone over 30 years of countless hours of training...please don't dismiss my position as something like a summer camp counselor or recreation leader.  I've studied many things in order to be a good martial Arts teacher.... psychology, accounting, business, philosophy, taken classes in teaching strategies, I take workshops and research many things, study first aid, CPR, and most of all I continue to be a student .....i don't just sit on my laurels as a "Master" The hours you don't see me, I'm practicing hard with my own teachers and putting in sweat and effort to become a better artist and teacher for your child. In many respects, I carry the equivalent of Doctorate degrees....teaching martial Arts is something not all martial artists can do....just because they can do, doesn't mean they can teach well. My goal is to be the best I can at both, to be able to do it well and teach it well.

5. I don't teach martial Arts to make a fast buck. I teach because I love the martial arts and I believe that the self discipline, confidence, and skills of martial arts will continue to be a part of a child's life long after they quit classes. While there are schools out there that charge exorbitant fees....have you noticed that my studio is not 5000 square feet, that I don't have locker rooms, showers, a lounge, and a fancy pro shop? Tuition fees, exam fees, workshop fees, etc pay the rent for our humble studio so that students have a safe place to train.

6. We are an "acceptance" school....we don't take every person off the street. This is why we have the intro trial allows the visitor to see if our classes are a fit for what they're looking for, and allows us to see if the visitor is a match for the school. If a visitor has a bad attitude, is cocky or overbearing, they might not be accepted. We've turned away people, but we've always made good references for them to other schools. Doesn't matter if someone offers a large sum of money...if their attitude is negative, demanding (telling me what to teach them, when and how), or boastful, they will he shown the door. I've turned down a $1000 check for a private lessons because the person had a very bad attitude. It's all about the atmosphere of my school and the comfort of my students.

7. On the subject of testing, please don't demand that I test your child or ask when you will test for a rank. You will be notified personally if you or your child is ready to undergo a rank exam. If ready for ranking, then you're ready, if not, you're not.....and we'll let you know. Please leave the decision to the experts. And even if you have previous martial arts experience, allow the chief instructors to make the decisions.

8. We welcome applause and encouragement from parents if watching classes. But please, please please try NOT to correct your child....leave that to the teachers. By shouting across the training area, you take your child's attention away from the trained instructors. Please don't walk onto the floor to change your child's foot placement or posture. We understand that you want your child to do well, but please understand that a child's knowledge kinesthetic sense takes some time to develop. We are happy that you're interested in martial Arts for your child....we have classes where parents can work out with their are welcome to do class with us on those days, however even then please leave the teaching to the teachers.

9. If you want your child to learn discipline, then please don't be shocked and tell Timmy to stand up if I put Timmy is a one-minute timeout in horse stance for pushing Johnny to floor in order to be the first in line. If little Johnny makes little Jane cry by not sharing an apparatus, I will have Johnny apologize out loud to Jane and give Johnny 5 to 10 pushups....please don't tell him that he doesn't have to do pushups. The words Please, Thank You, Yes Ma'am, No Ma'am, Yes Sir, etc take priority in the class terminology. We teach kids that "self discipline is doing what is right even when no one is looking." We are trying to enhance similar tenets that you may have at your own home, not take over the discipline.

10. Lastly, please don't use my martial arts class as discipline at your home. Try not to enforce a "horse stance" if they don't clean their will only undermine the real class. Do not threaten to take away martial Arts classes if they do something wrong....if they don't attend class how can they learn that their teacher supports your discipline?  Do not use me or the other teachers as a threat (If you don't clean your room I'll tell Sifu!).

Communication is they say, "it takes a village". Communicate with your child's martial Arts is a team effort. Sometimes you might find some statements or rules sort of odd, or that you might initiatially disagree with some rules. Before you form an opinion, be sure to get information and facts before making assumptions about school procedures. This is for the smooth workings of your child's class.

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