Dear Karate Instructor

Dear karate instructor: Bite me.

respect1This has been rattling around in my brain for a little while. And I know I’m over reacting. But still, here goes.

So telling this instructor to bite me wouldn’t be very constructive or respectful.

Here’s the story, as I understand it.

Kate just recently started karate lessons, given at a local community centre type of place. I think this is great! She is so very happy and proud of her accomplishments with each class – and she should be! For a long time I know she was unhappy that Cameron got to do kickboxing but she didn’t – it always seemed, until this past year, that she didn’t get to do much extracurricular stuff compared with Cameron. Why she couldn’t just join at Champions with Cameron is a long story, just part of the joy of being a child of split-up parents. It’s probably just as well anyways, that she’s doing something slightly different.

(and here is where I say darnit, I sure wish I had pictures of Kate at karate. This story is more Kate-centric, but here I am sharing pictures of Cameron at kickboxing. Oh well! Another time.)

So, Leif took her to her first class as an enrolled student. At some point Leif or Kate must’ve told the instructor that Cameron does kickboxing at Champion’s.

I’m told that the instructor said something to Leif along the lines of Champions is a slick marketing machine, and that if any karate black belt fights a kick boxing black belt, the karate black belt will win every time.

At first, when Leif told me about this, I just scoffed and rolled my eyes. Whatever. But it’s started to bug me.

Okay … yeah, Champions is a slick marketing machine. It’s a business. They have to get new students, they have to keep the students that they have. But that I have my child (and now myself) doing classes there doesn’t mean that I’ve been sucked in by nothing more than a pretty, glossy veneer. We’re on our fourth year there, and I’ve kept Cameron there because I’m happy with them. I like their instructors, how they teach, what they teach, and I think it’s wonderful that Cameron seems to have a special place in the eyes of many of the adults there. He is welcomed with warm smiles, and adults and kids both will often seek him out to say hello and chat.

But the next part is the part that I’m really finding really tough to swallow, coming from someone who is in charge of instructing kids. I don’t know if the instructor’s opinion here was expressed in front of Kate, but I hope not. (Editing later – no, it was not in front of Kate)

First, how disrespectful! He openly derided, to the father in a family, the choices made for one of the kids in that family. Nice. I really hope he keeps a lid on that around the kids he teaches. We’ve already heard a little bit of, Yeah, I’m in real karate, not kickboxing. That’s not really karate. We don’t need to have, My martial art can kick your martial art’s ass, too. Talk about encouraging divisiveness in a family. That’s disrespectful to put it mildly.


Secondly, wtf dude? Cameron and Kate aren’t doing martial arts to kick anyone’s ass. I couldn’t care less if Karate Bob can beat Kickboxing Joe. The long list of  benefits of martial arts for kids have nothing to do with actually fighting anyone. Discipline, focus, and self control for starters. They learn to listen. There are the physical health benefits – fitness, balance, and coordination. There is teamwork taught in the classes, and the kids learn leadership skills, and social interaction. Did I ever mention that Cameron learned to shake hands and introduce himself at kickboxing of all places? They learn about responsibility and accountability. Even better, they do all of this while having fun.

Oh, and there’s one more thing that they learn that’s worth mentioning. Respect. They are taught respect: what it means, how it’s earned, how to show it.

Mr. Karate instructor apparently missed that part of martial arts training.  Hopefully he’ll be better at teaching it than showing it, because Kate loves going to karate and that is what matters.


3 responses to “Dear Karate Instructor

  1. Rude! I signed Bug up for ballet for much of the same reasons (please listen, please calm down, please respoect your elders). If anyone told me that, say, a tap dancer could out dance a ballet dancer, that person would get a punch in the throat!

  2. a practitioner of Taekwondo, I find this to be a fairly informative and solid read. Thank you for sharing your views on this topic. I read so much bullshit every day this was nice to read, to be honest.

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