There are many reasons for studying the martial arts. However, as a parent with a child in the martial arts, one reason that tops the list is discipline. So, now that you have a Karate Kid who is snapping to attention for their sensei but ignoring Mom and Dad when it’s time to get ready for school, what can you do to get some of that dojo discipline into your home?
The bad news is that Karate instructor is way cooler than you. (After all, who else gets to go to work in bare feet and pajamas and play with swords in a padded room?) They only have your child an hour a day and, let’s face it, they’re not you. So, yeah, your kid listens to them. The good new s is you can take some of the principles used in the dojo into your home to help get them moving like a good karate student should.
1: Stop and Prepare to Listen
At home both you and your child are going at ninety miles per hour when you start barking out orders, “come on, get your shoes on, pick that up before we go, I’m helping your brother you need to…” How many times have you been stirring something on the stove, listening for the laundry and yelling to your child all at the same time? To some degree this is just life but there are times when you can take a breath, and ask your child to stop and listen before giving them instructions.
Look at how many times their karate instructor does this in the short time they have them. In our dojo we have three listening positions: a standing at attention (front position), a down on one knee for quick instruction and a sitting position for longer instruction. The point is, asking for attention comes first and is systematized. We also teach that you listen with your ears, eyes (eye contact) and body (staying still).
Try this. Come up with your own listening position (or use one from your child’s dojo.) and the next time you have an important instruction, ask them first to assume that listing position. Don’t make it too serious have fun with it. See if they move a little quicker for you.