As adults, there are days we wake up, and don’t especially feel like reporting for work, whatever work that may be. But we make ourselves do it. Why? Because we know that the long term effect of not going to work will outweigh the short term pleasure we may feel of taking the day off. Whether it’s personal, or career related, we know that sometimes commitments are hard. In a country were the average person stays with the same company for only three years, and many family relationships last even less than that, commitment de?nitely needs to make a comeback. Martial arts is about commitment, and it’s a great way to reinstate commitment in our children.
When I see children with black belts, I think of how fortunate they are to have such dedicated parents. We’re not just talking about all of the time they’ve spent with their kids on program, but on how they made them go to class on the days that their kids didn’t feel like going. Any instructor will tell you of how often they hear from the parents, that their child is quitting because he or she doesn’t want to do it anymore. Well, lets ask these children if they want to go to school. Of course they don’t! If we let them have their way, they’d get up at twelve noon everyday, eat Fruit Loops, watch cartoons and go outside and play until midnight.
Why? Because they’re kids. They can’t see big pictures, only momentary pleasures. No, it’s not cruel to make them go to martial arts class. How can we teach them about commitment if we don’t show then how to commit ?rst? Surely our children will have to endure hardships throughout their lives, just as we’ve had to. It’s an inevitable part of life. Maybe they don’t want to do martial arts anymore, but someday they will thank you for making them stick with it. What they’re learning about self respect, respect for others, discipline, con?dence and most importantly commitment will help them get through those hard times.
The Bigger Kids
Maybe it’s us big kids who have a problem with this commitment thing. If we can’t honor something as simple as a martial arts goal we set, whether it’s for the kids, or for ourselves, then it’s no wonder we can’t keep our careers or personal lives together. Maybe this is the missing link, learning to stick with things even when we disagree, or when things get tough. I’m not saying that everyone should commit themselves to obtaining a black belt. Thought I highly recommend it, I know that going all the way takes a very determined and dedicated individual.
But I am saying that we need to complete whatever program we agreed to. Whether it’s a green belt or a brown belt, we need to learn how to ?nish what we’ve started. All relationships get tough sometimes, your martial arts relationship is no exception. But like most worthy things in life, martial arts is also worth sticking it out for.
Melvin Grant is a contributing writer for Martial Arts Monthly magazine.