Karate Kid

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When I first mentioned that I was going to try out Jonah at Karate, people looked at me slightly horrified.

To be honest, the thought of paying someone to teach him to ‘fight’ didn’t sound like the sanest thing in the world to do. But as I watched him fly across the sofa for the thousandth time that day shouting “hiwaah”, I knew that at least he had an aptitude for it.

So on the first day of Karate class we spent a long time prepping Jonah, telling him what to expect, what was appropriate behavior and what format the class would take. Naturally, I was very excited to find out how it went. What we didn’t factor in was the fact that Jonah is a stickler for detail and not having the full outfit meant there was no way he was going to try it.

So, cut to the following week, after I managed to blag an outfit, and off we go. Now, when you talk about Karate or any martial arts, one of the benefits is instilling discipline, and that was the huge draw for me to get Jonah along.

What I didn’t know is that Jonah’s Karate teacher is probably the strictest teacher in the world. At one point he made a six year old drop and do press ups for a small indiscretion… but that kid jumped up with a huge grin on his face.

So I looked at Jonah and thought, clearly this was either going to make or break him. Luckily he loves it, and what it is also teaching him apart from the physical benefits is a huge sense of achievement and self worth.

Jonah told me the other day that he can’t control himself at school. Jonah’s teachers and support staff are doing a fantastic job of helping Jonah to understand his emotions and where he is on the ‘anger scale’. School has implemented some fantastic strategies. He is learning to recognise on a scale of 1-10 how angry he is feeling and he is working on ways to quickly and safely bring himself back down to a calm state.

But this possibly has left him feeling a little bit out of control of his own emotions. It was only when I pointed out that in fact he has amazing control at school while doing Karate because as soon as the teacher tells them to stop, they freeze in their tracks.

Anyone who has a child with emotional or behavioural difficulties will know that as the parent, you can spend a long time focussing in on that. What Jonah’s Karate has shown me is that, by focussing on something completely different, you can make a positive behavioural change while your child has fun and learns valuable life skills.