I had several reservations when we enrolled our middle child in Tae Kwan Do last year. First, I was afraid it would be filled with Eastern philosophy and didn't want to confuse him regarding spiritual matters at this age. I figured when he was older and more grounded, he would be better equipped to be discerning. And second, I didn't want a lot of kick-boxing going on in our house (or at school, for that matter). I have vivid recollection of the day my brother gave my sister a bloody nose while pretending to be Samson, and I didn't want to witness Act II of that drama with my own kids.
Well, Master McMurray made a believer out of me. Instead of Eastern religion, he has drilled the ideals of discipline, focus, respect, courtesy, tolerance and patience. He has encouraged them to work as hard in school as they do in his class. And he has sternly instructed them not to show-off their skills outside of class, or use them on anyone else in play.
I really attribute some positive changes in Kev to his new sport. Just the sense of accomplishment and the chance to do something all his own, different from his siblings, has motivated him to try harder at everything he does. I feel he doesn't sense his brother's shadow over him any more, and wants to show what he can do. He also has learned to fail with dignity and not be embarrassed to try big (and keep trying) in front of others. He is working very hard at this, and shows natural ability for the sport which other sports haven't really sparked in him. Maybe one day he'll even enter competitions.
What can I say, I'm a proud Mom. Here are some pics from a ceremony last week, being presented with his orange belt. (Please forgive the weird blurred-out faces of the other kids, but I didn't have permission from their parents, so I smudged them out).
Removing his yellow belt as the class looks on:
Receiving his orange belt, and an exhortation from Master McMurray of higher expectations:
Putting on the new orange belt:
The end of the ceremony, sporting his new color, and ready to take his new spot in the lines, closer to the front than before:
Way to go, buddy! I knew you could do it!