That sense of accomplishment

I’m going to stop apologizing for not posting often. As it turns out — who knew? — taking care of a kid in half-day kindergarten is more time consuming than taking care of a kid in full-day pre-school. That’s especially true when you don’t just plant the tyke in front of the TV when he gets home, but insist on math lessons, reading, fun excursions and activities like Tae Kwon Do.

Soon the student will become the master!

Tony becomes just a little bit more dangerous as he earns his gold belt.

That’s my clever little segue into boasting about Tony’s transition from a white belt to a gold belt in his chosen martial art. The school held a nice graduation ceremony/ marketing effort/holiday party the week before Christmas at which Tony and his classmates showed off their skills and were awarded their new belts (this one has velcro, so I don’t have to fumble with the damned knot anymore).

Tae Kwon Do has turned out to be one of the better things we’ve done for the little guy. As you’d expect, his agility, strength and balance have developed in a dramatic way. But so has his self-confidence and self-discipline. He wants to achieve, he does achieve and he is rightfully proud of his accomplishments.

He’s also acquiring self-defense skills in the process, including an awareness of potentially dangerous situations and some mental preparation for dealing with them. I think that’s important.

There’s also value in having a safe outlet for natural aggression. After watching her sons pound each other bloody, my once pacifistic sister signed off on my father’s proposal to purchase boxing gloves and protective gear. Now when they want to tangle, they have a match in the back yard under somewhat controlled circumstances (and they’re better prepared for unofficial matches in the schoolyard). Tony can release some energy by sparring and hitting practice dummies.

I’ll recommend martial arts instruction to any parents, with the caveat that finding teachers who have the patience and experience to work with children is key. I can imagine some amped-up adrenaline case doing a lot more harm than good.

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