A Sad Moment for Me

Mim's Karate Belt rack, white, yellow, orange, and purple.Yesterday, two boys in Mim’s karate class moved up to the next level (Fish’s class). I had a moment of sadness as I watched two boys advance who were lower ranks than my son and younger (albeit only by a few months).

By the time we got in the car, I was over it. I have faith in the instructors. This is a family run program and I think they genuinely care about the children they teach. I also had time to recognize that my son, is who he is. He has issues beyond his vision. We’re working with the school and some specialists to determine the best course of action to help him overcome some of the challenges and manage those that can’t be overcome. He is immature, and unfocused. He is undisciplined and has the attention span of a gnat. When I really pondered on it, I realized that what made me sad was that his deficits are holding him back. As parents we want to see our children soar, but as humans, we all have strengths and weaknesses. His weaknesses happen to be focus and sitting still.

One the way home, he told me about how boys who were younger, and lower ranks than he had been moved up. I was glad I’d had a chance to gather my thoughts a little before we talked about it. With his sister’s help, we talked about how the next level up is less playful and more focused.{As an aside I was very proud of how she didn’t rub it in that he didn’t advance and instead offered constructive criticism for him} We discussed how there is even less tolerance for tom foolery at the higher level.

I reminded him that he has made excellent progress. In the last year he has advanced four ranks. Then we talked about whether the advanced level is something he’d be interested in. It is disrespectful in karate to ask your instructor when you will be advanced (either to a new rank or a new level). I have faith in the program and I don’t believe in advancement without merit. So, I coached him to talk about his own skill set and ask the instructors for suggestions on how he could improve to be considered for promotion to the next level.

He’s young to understand the implications of putting his destiny of his own hands, but I feel good about taking that tact. We’ll be working with him to help him manage and conquer his other issues and I believe he’s good at karate and so long as he enjoys it and rises to the challenge, we’ll keep going with it. He’ll complain again, I’m sure of it, but I’ll just remind him that in karate as in life, it is up to him how far he progresses.



3 thoughts on “A Sad Moment for Me

  1. My daughter and I take Taekwondo together.  We’re both in the adult class.  While she had been taking it since last April, and it took her until late August to get her Yellow belt, I started in late September and earned my Yellow belt in 2 months.  Yes, I was quicker at earning my Yellow belt, and she was surprised.  

    Now she is a Green belt and I am a Yellow 1.  5 of us from the adult class were told that we would be testing for our next belt level this coming Saturday, only to find out last week that now the only person testing for the next belt level will be my daughter!  The other 4 of us were consused because we had been told that was our testing date too.  Well, I guess he decided we needed a little extra time, because he told us that we will now be testing in early June.

    I was kind of upset at first, but then realized that while my kicks, strikes, and  blocks may be really good, my form “Do San” (or as you call it in karate, kata) needs to be worked on more.  

    Sometimes some things come easier than others.  It’s all a process.  Like I tell my friend Chrissy who recently started taking Shotokan karate, and was feeling discouraged; “You’ll get discouraged at all belt levels because as you progress and master some techniques, this only makes you ready to learn the next new, and more difficult, technique, and instantly again you will feel like you’re back to square one.  It’s important to remember that even back belts are still learning, and even they mess up sometimes.” =)

    As Dorrie in Finding Nemo said, “Just keep swimming!”


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