Just last night I was at the dojo wrapping up an adult class. One of the members came up to me and jokingly accused me of only talking about the karate kids. Every one was getting shoes on and wrangling the last few children who always seemed to be wandering around.
“We aren’t all kids!” She exclaimed, as she ushered a child toward his shoes and gave me a smirk.
I laughed, and didn’t really have a good answer. I was a bit stuck. It was at this point my imagination took off and she turned into a dragon and I ran away only to discover the entire dojo had turned onto an incredibly bad 80’s fantasy movie.
Random segue aside. I DO talk about the kiddos a lot. I actually have a tag on this post called “Kiddos.” This manages to just barely miss a pretty major point (sarcasm).
Not all karate students are kids.
So, why the assumption?
A while ago, I started doing this job teaching karate and general martial arts to a fitness center. The class, due the rules of the club, was geared towards adults. Throughout the 6 or so months I ran the thing, I had about 3 regular students.
For six whole months.
One summer, after discussing the whole “no kids” thing with the owner of the club, I ran a martial arts course aimed specifically at children. It was a 30 minute class a few times a week, for a few weeks. Nothing too special or exciting.
I had something like 25 kids show up, and they absolutely loved it.
Right there I realized something was a little different with the perspectives of adults and children in regards to martial arts.
Often, parents give their children the best opportunities they can. I mean, that’s kind of how it works. So, they start them in karate because it will help with discipline, because the kids want to, and maybe because the parents wanted to do karate at one time.
But, they spend so much time pushing it for their children, they either forget about themselves, or are just too damn tired.
For the adults without children, it’s a pretty similar situation. They’re so wrapped up in making it in the world they tend to forget about themselves, and focus on everything else. They can’t take karate because there’s a job coming up. Because there’s a class. Because there is something pressing that will always be in the way. Or, sadly. Because they don’t think they’ll be good enough.
So, they never start, or they tell themselves they will start later. Just like with any dream, there is always an excellent reason to dissuade you from doing it.
I have seen more and more parents get out on that floor. I’ve had the pleasure of watching entire families start something, and move forward in a new adventure. Together.
I’ve watched adults come through the door with some hesitation, but also a palpable determination to do something new, and different, and a little intimidating.
I have watched grown men and women, for reasons known only to themselves, challenge themselves with the goal of becoming a martial artist.
And that’s the coolest part of all.
So, I apologize for sometimes forgetting. For occasionally focusing more on the kiddos, than the adults. The truth is you’re all completely awesome. And I’m glad I was reminded about it.
Also, kinda bummed there was no stop-motion dinosaur.