There are many factors that can contribute to the success or failure of a student...
One of the fluctuating variables that instructors have to work with at times can have some of the fiercest personalities…
A karate parent may not seem like a big deal, but they single handedly could be the deciding factor at a student’s success or failure. With young student’s parents are not just involved in the enrollment process; they can be detrimental in reinforcing the emotional growth martial arts provides students.
This instrumental role in their child’s journey can be a double edged sword: to have a immensely impacting role on their child’s Martial Arts future and yet at times know next to nothing about Martial Arts.
For those that own their own Dojos and are especially lousy at harmonizing with parents, it could cost them not only their students but their business. It’s a balancing act that any Sifu, Sensei or Master has juggled with and at times may have fumbled.
One of my friends Jennifer Waters just promoted to 5th Degree Black belt in Kempo Karate. She is a amateur MMA fighter and owns/operates 2 Dojos.
Jennifer Waters, front and center after her 5th Degree Black belt test and promotion.
Needless to say, she has done her fair share of juggling.
"Parents that are actively involved with their child's martial arts journey are such a huge asset! Every child wants the support of their parent. With such a challenging physical and mental activity like martial arts, parental support is much needed!”
When parents become too involved they can end up adding more stress to their child and hinder the educational process.
Memorizing the physical movements as well as the philosophy behind the system can be overwhelming for an adult, let alone a child. The key to not frustrating them, is to not rush them.
Mrs. Waters concur’s,
“I think karate parents struggle with wanting their children to understand or "get" the techniques right away. Martial arts takes time. It's no different than any other physical sport, the more your child practices, the better he or she will become over time.”
Time is the key to any student’s study.
Yes, that's how the Ninja Turtles got that good.
Time allows the student to become seasoned and to develop emotionally. Many of the benefits students obtain from Martial Arts are emotionally based; respect, honor, perseverance and self respect. These things take time.
Being inpatient can hinder collaboration with instructors
This could not only add more stress to their child but also can unintentionally undermine the Instructor’s authority. To help keep the peace,
Mrs. Waters suggests,
“I always guide my karate parents to refer back to what the main instructor is coaching your child to do. Use this to help your child reach his/her full potential.”
Mrs. Waters with her dad and some of her students.
When parents collaborate with the Instructors, it opens them up to help re-inforce the morals and principles such as dedication. DEDICATION alone can be the hardest lesson for a child to learn and could definitely require a parent’s encouragement.
Mrs. Water’s completely agrees,
“I believe that parents hinder their children when they let their child give up too easy. Instead of pushing their child to work past the difficulties they encounter, many are willing to let their child quit on a technique, a style, or martial arts in its entirety.”
While some parents might be overly assertive with their child’s study, some can be dismissive.
It’s difficult to be involved with your child’s study if you are absent not just physically but emotionally. In a social media driven world it is all too easy for us to become distracted with our phones while our child is in class.
In agreement, Mrs. Waters adds,
“Watching and taking an interest in what interests your child is not only a self-esteem builder but also will help them learn to practice with their child at home.”
While we as instructors can be analytical of parents, we have to remember the African Proverb...
‘It takes a village to raise a child.”
This is especially true in Martial Arts; hence the role of the Dojo (Karate), the Dojang (Taekwondo), the Heya (Sumo) or the Sasaran (Silat). Instructors are and should be held just as responsible as parents went it comes to encouraging their student.
Some of our Double Dragon students: Ashley (Left), Sami (Center), Dani (Right)
“As an instructor we have to remember to be patient with parents,”
Ms. Water’s reminds us,
“They really love their child and want what's best for them. Keep this in mind, and then try to find some common ground if you are solving challenges together. Ultimately, you have to remember that the goal is not necessarily to improve the parenting of that child but to help that child on his/her journey to becoming a Black Belt."
While Martial Arts can be a very aggressive and explosive study, we have to remember to maintain harmony and peace.
A properly run school has a sense of balance and understanding of each other’s roles. The student knows what is expected of them,
the parent knows their role,
and the Instructor knows not only their role but how to orchestrate all the roles.
Jesalyn Mae Harper
Hello my name is Jesalyn. I'm a divorced single mom and a karate addict...