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ATA Excellence Martial Arts

I'm Not a Miracle Worker But I Want to Help

Posted: October 18, 2017

Let me be clear, I believe martial arts is an amazing activity that can help students gain confidence, discipline, and respect...but it's not a magic bullet. Helping a child learn these skills is a partnership. For students to internalize the lessons we teach they need to be reinforced at home as well.

Can you imagine if you went to a personal trainer who kicked your butt two hours a week and then went home and ate nothing but donuts and french fries the rest of the time? It's obviously not the personal trainer's fault you're not losing weight. It's the lifestyle outside of the gym that's causing the issue. Our instructors are like personal trainers. We're going to give you the tools but you have to help reinforce the skills at home.

I can't tell you the number of times I've seen a student show respect and confidence in class and then immediately start to act out after class and never get reprimanded by a parent. As instructors we do our very best to instill the life lessons we teach every time a student is in class but that gives us only a few hours of influence on a student a week. To really make the training stick parents and family members need to continue to carry on the Pillars of Excellence at home.

Here are a few simple ways to make sure your family is paying attention to the details, following through, and being happy but never satisfied (our Pillars of Excellence).

  • Make student complete all homework before doing any other activity and double checking all of their work.
  • Reprimand your student when they don't have all their equipment for classes.
  • Never allow your student to interrupt you or others.
  • Don't over commit your student. Make them focus on one or two activities until they have completed their commitments. They will learn more by following through than bouncing from one thing to another.
  • Require your student to finish what they start. If they don't "feel like doing it" that means it's a perfect opportunity to teach them to finish what they start.
  • Use the life skill that we focus on each testing at home as a discussion point regularly throughout the week.

In my experience most parents agree with all of these examples but following through on them is another story. Unfortunately, I see many parents start out with good intentions but then not follow through. It's hard to be the mean one and often parents want us as instructors to do that job. We're happy to do that but we need support from parents to be the bad guy at home sometimes as well.

Our goal is to help our students learn to strive for excellence and to do that it takes a lot of hard work from both families and our staff.