Thursday, March 10, 2011

Morrow's Academy of Martial Arts

The idea of martial arts always seemed so...martial to me. My only experience with the discipline came from one highly chaotic judo class I took at university, I lasted the first day, and an equally disappointing tai-chi class. The let-down from the second class was not so much due to the class itself, but to the hour and conditions in which I was taking the class. It began at 8pm. I was in my first trimester of my third pregnancy with two toddlers at home. It was bedtime by then and my focus was lousy. (OK, inexistent  would be more accurate, but at least I gave it a few months that time.)

Kung-fu with Mr.Morrow has turned out to be a fabulous experience for our family. He holds himself to high standards: he stays in shape, he fasts for part of the year, he sponsors charitable works in the community, he keeps his temper and sense of humor at all times. What he expects in return from his students is on every parent's list of priorities. 

Accountability; you show up on time and with the proper equipment. If you forget a part of your uniform, you know you are the last one in line for everything that day. There is no yelling or harsh words, a gentle teasing at the worst, but each child knows there is a consequence for forgetting, and it is not to give mom a phone call.

Respect; children address their teachers as "sir," or "Mr.Morrow." He is respectful when speaking to them and expects that they, in return, treat him, the other teachers, their classmates, and the equipment with respect. All must bow in and out when moving onto the mats for class. It is cute beyond belief to see my six-year-old perform the briefest bow in the world when he jumps out of class to get a drink or change into sparring gear. The older ones are a little more reverent, thank goodness.

Discipline; is modeled and required in many ways. Nearest to my heart is Mr.Morrow's insistence on proper grammar (big sigh of appreciation). They must all do all of the warm-ups and take turns leading the class in stretches and push-ups, lots of push-ups. They need to watch quietly, lined up neatly on the mat like so many hens, as each student takes a turn demonstrating a move. They get moments of running and talking too, it is definitely fun, but in an environment where they feel safe knowing that their master is there to take control again of the situation.

How do I know it's fun? You should see their faces after class; happy and excited. You should see their faces on a day when I can't take them because of work or illness; not relieved, not happy. And they are gaining in fitness and strength; how many adults do you know that can do 25 finger-tip push-ups? (Or in my sad case, any push-ups at all?) This alone gives them a new confidence, they are taught integrity, patience, love, acceptance, but also know they have the strength to defend themselves or another, should it be necessary. Thank you, Mr.Morrow.

1 comment:

  1. Love it! Neil and our 2 oldest boys have been doing TKD for over a year now. They are upper blue belts and going strong. We are also pleased with the respect and discipline aspect that is so beautifully taught. Glad to know another homeschooling family taking part in martial arts and loving it! :)


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