I don’t want to scare you – but this what we REALLY teach in classes. Are you ready? Do you need to sit down? Okay, here it is!
PRINCIPLES, VALUES and YES, even MORALS!
I know what you are thinking. You think either a) we over stepping or b) we are blowing hot air. Let’s review the Songahm Oath we recite in classes everyday. In it we promise to live by the Spirit of Taekwondo by practicing to the best of our abilities , showing courtesy, loyalty and respect. We also promise to have honor, integrity and self-control. We Expect this behavior in classes and reward it when seen and discipline when not seen. We also enjoin parents and caretakers to employ our methods and report when they see “good” in their students at home, school and everywhere they go.
We keep track of attendance and reach out to students when they are absent and we help them to make up classes because it’s important that they continue to grow and develop. We help them to set high goals for themselves because we know this develops perseverance and vision. We know one-size does not fit all and every student has strengths and weaknesses. That kid everyone wants to drug because he has “ADHD” or some other “issue”- well he does just fine in class. That student who has low confidence- she learns that she has more ability and courage than she thought.
To the child’s point of view it’s all Ninja stuff and fun! But parents who watch class and notice what behavior is encouraged and nurtured (beyond correcting technique!) see focus and discipline, strength and flexibility, confidence and assertiveness and much more in class. When students move into the level of class where partner drills occur, they learn patience and kindness. Sparring can be very intimidating so this is where a student really has to learn courage and grit. When things don’t go well bad displays of body language or anger at self or others is not tolerated and this teaches humility and charity towards others.
Do they learn Taekwondo? Absolutely. A student has the ability to go as far as their ambition takes them. A student can rise from just the classroom to the tournament ring and championships. A student can go from being in the back of the class to the front of the class as an instructor. Perhaps even a Master.
Anyone can kick and scream and strike at others. Two year olds can do that, unfortunately 22 year olds can also. But a disciplined, humble, and courageous individual is a blessing to all. This is what we teach at Karate for Kids – South Salem. The Taekwondo is (as Mary Poppins said) the Spoonful of Sugar that helps the Medicine go Down.