A Mother's Reflections:
Reflections on My Son's Achievement to the Rank of Black Belt
1. The maturity that he gained from the very
angry little six year old who was given to tantrums
when he did not win, to a young man who can now
take on most contests with "I did my best, but
it is OK not to win every time."
2. The "obedience" he learned by having to attend
all of the classes necessary to gain the various
belts on the way to black. He did not always
want to go to class, but after we talked about
it, the realization began to hit that in order
to reach a goal, one must continue to work at
it every day, and not give up.
3. The feeling of reaching a "goal". So
often our youth say, "I really want to do this
or that", and then by not making it a goal
for themselves, they set themselves up for failure
and do not have the feeling that goes along with
actually reaching the goal. The change in
my son since achieving a Black Belt is great,
in that he is willing to tackle anything, because
within himself, he knows that he has already achieved
a major personal goal.
4. The hard days were well worth it for both
of us. There were times that, as a mom,
I thought to myself, "Is it really worth it, having
him go to class, when he wants to play Nintendo
with his friends, or play, or whatever?"
I can look back now and see that the stress that
we went through at the time really has paid off.
He sees that too, as he still plays with the friends
and has achieved a major personal goal in life
5. The high expectations of Sensei Mike Burke,
to help the students achieve the highest standards--not
only in the martial arts, but school, home, and
personal life as well--is reason enough to keep
your child in the program. My son is far
from perfect in keeping his room clean, remembering
to do his chores, picking up after himself, but
he has a standard I set for him to which we as
parents can refer, when we are trying to teach
these things at home.
6. It is not just the "belts", but the "discipline"
that the student learns as he/she progresses through
the ranks. My son had many difficult times
while trying to discipline himself to control
his temper and his unrealistic expectations of
himself. At one point, he had to give up
his belt and be reduced a rank for a time.
This was very difficult for him, particularly
when he had to face the others in his class.
I could have said, "You can quit, rather than
face the embarrassment of continuing, etc.". Rather
than do that, he learned that he had to face up
to the fact that he was in a state of "learning"
to control himself. When he explained that
to the other students, it helped them, too.
They realized that discipline is a serious thing--which
As a parent of a serious "karate kid", really consider seriously the commitment
of helping your student achieve his goal of "black
belt". There are ups and downs, times they
want to quit, not go to class, or just complain,
but if you can commit, with your child, that this
is a huge personal goal to attain, I am certain
that you will find that the young person who comes
through at the end, is someone whom you can be
very proud of. I know that I am very proud
of my son.
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