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I’ve just taken a phone call, actually half a phone call, and the crux of it was this.

A man has had his child in Taekwondo training for the past 3 years, the child is now 7. He wants his child to move from Taekwondo to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu because the child doesn’t yet know how to fight.

“All they do is play games. I want him to know how to fight”.

To reiterate, the child is 7. He really only began speaking and walking 4 years ago. My answer was that if he didn’t want his child to play games, then he probably wouldn’t like our class very much. I told him that 90% of 4-7 year old’s training in our gym is balance games, agility games, games just for fun, games to increase hand-eye coordination, games to teach team work and cooperation, and of course, games to teach Jiu Jitsu.

He said “Can you help? Will you teach him to fight?”

I said, truthfully, yes. But you will have to wait anything up to 8 years for the results. Judge us when he’s a teenager. Better yet, judge us when he’s a confident adult who doesn’t have to fight.

I’ll nail my flag to the mast and say that if you have an issue with 7 year old’s playing games, then you need to take a long, hard look in the mirror, or a long lie down on the psychiatrist’s couch. Play is the ultimate learning tool, and not just for children. Games undergo a name change when you get a little older and become drills, but the object is the same. I try to do this, and you try to stop me. Simple, fun, and in terms of learning, highly effective.

Ordinarily I wouldn’t go ahead and blog about a phone call, but the conversation ended with me stating that we play a lot with the kids, and maybe the best thing to do is to come and look at the class to see if it’s right for him. I didn’t get a response to this, because the man very rudely hung up the phone while muttering curses to himself.

I don’t expect everyone to agree with our kid’s philosophy at Kyuzo. It’s not for everyone. I know that some parents will say that they want their kid pushed harder, or to do more serious training, and so on. That’s their prerogative. They’re your kids. But if your goal is to make a serious athlete out of your child, then what’s better; to push and push until they hate it (and you), or to have them come home every day keen to go back? Of course there are kids who will flourish under the former, but does anyone really want to have a childhood like that?

And finally, here’s a revelation. Most kids pushed like that just end up hating it and quit, and most high achieving sports men and women were NOT pushed that way. Behind the majority of successful athletes you’ll find supportive and encouraging parents whose main job was to drive the car to training, and supportive coaches whose main job was to make the fundamentals stick while keeping it fresh and fun.

Okay. Gotta go.


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