Dealing with disruptive children in martial arts
From time to time I have heard criticism from parents of children in my program. Some are amazed by my patience while others think that I’m not stern enough. Those parents have seen children “acting up” or “being disrespectful” and feel I should be stricter and come down on them harder so they don’t disrupt the children who are trying to do right.
I have been working with children for a long time, in many different arenas. I find this criticism seriously flawed and potentially destructive. The world we all live in and the people we share it with are not perfect. Each of us must learn to live in that world regardless of our issues.
When you see a child acting up and being disruptive you really don’t know what they might be going through, what may have happened to them, what pain they may be experiencing. So, what is to be my response to their outcry? Should I get angry? Should I raise my voice? Should I march them around like tin soldiers? Certainly, I could raise my voice and projected strongly enough, they might feel the rumble in their chest? I could go “all Cobra Kai” on them, become a real-life Sensei, John Kreese. I could make them all terrified to step out of line and to the casual on looker this may look like these kids are all straightened out. Yes, discipline is enforced here, but what does the grown-up version of these kids look like?
Will what they learn here be useful in life? We can’t always know, but it seems to me, I remember something about love and compassion always being the best answer. Maybe somebody taught that once upon a time? This all seems simple and extremely complicated at the same time.
At our core, we all want the same thing, we want attention, we want to be noticed at work, at school, at home. We want to be noticed by our friends, our families, our lovers and by our enemies.
Consider what you do for attention. Consider how you feel when you see that someone “liked” your post on social media or how about when no one does?
If I have a classroom full of young students all crying for attention who do I give it to? Who do I draw the attention of the room to? The child who is being disruptive or the child who is trying to do their best? I give my undivided attention to the students that are trying, listening and not being disruptive. At Shorey’s Taekwondo America I always encourage good behavior and reward those students that are trying. In time the whole class will learn to behave like the one I give attention to…
At Shorey’s Taekwondo America we are about more then just punching and kicking. We are a family-based school open to all and teaching real life skills in a fun interactive way. Punching and kicking are simply the tools we use to do that.
In Taekwondo we focus on the Five Tenets of Taekwondo_ Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control and Indomitable Spirit. I could go into detail as to what each means but in short, they speak to one’s character and to how they conduct themselves. It is our hope that as the students explores these tenets, they will adopt them and use them as guiding principles throughout their life.
We are not a place for perfect people, if you are perfect, there is no need to come. Just like the hospital, you do not go there if you are already well, but you would go if you need some help. That is the same for Shorey’s Taekwondo America, perfect people do not exist but come ready to work and learn, we are the place to be.
I have attached a link to a blog by Jesse Enkamp, I respect his thoughts on this subject.
Published: May 18, 2022