After 17 years in business, I have had the opportunity to see the amazing effects of what Martial Arts can do for people’s confidence, physical development and social maturity. What I didn’t see until recently, is the massive effect it can have on a High School Student who is preparing for College. This hits me hard because, as I write this, my oldest daughter is a High School Senior. As she as filled out the applications and completed the essays, I have found that she really stands out! I am not here to knock team sports or band, but the reality is, that several years of playing baseball or soccer doesn’t stand out to a college admissions board or to future employers. On the other hand, several years of Martial Arts Training and having Degrees of Black Belt certainly does!
Rory was a high spirited kindergartner when he joined our Martial Arts School in the Spring of 1999. Fast forward 13 years when he graduated High School with his 4th Degree Black Belt and several years (8+) of being an elite member of our instructor team. As he went off to The University of Dayton’s Business Program, not even he knew how far that Martial Arts would get him. Yes, the training helped him feel physically safe on campus. Yes, the confidence that he got from training for over a decade kicked in and helped him power through hard classes. The real feat, was that, when he was offered a great job in New York with an investment firm 1 year before he even graduates from UD, the thing that stood out and was the tipping point in why they chose him for the job…. Was the commitment and drive that he had by training for those 13 years with us. The message he sent me said that he would have been passed over like so many others had it not been for his commitment to keep training through all of the hard times. He stood out.
It is my wish for all of my students to stand out in this same way. Is it easy to train from Kindergarten through High School? Heck no! But is it worth it? Ask Rory…
3 Steps to helping your child Graduate and Stand Out:
- BUILD IT INTO THEIR IDENTITY – When you talk about Martial Arts Training, don’t ever treat it like something that your child “does”. It is much more than an after school activity. It is part of a positive identity…. They are a Martial Artist. For many, they are also Black Belts. These are core identity tags. Training consistently over a period of years is not based on a feeling (I.E. “Jonny doesn’t feel like training anymore), it is based on a commitment; a very serious, yet hugely rewarding commitment.
- BE OPEN WITH THEM THAT THERE WILL BE DAYS THAT THEY WANT TO QUIT – I once had a parent tell me this, and I wish I were making it up, “My son wants to quit and I’m not going to make him do something that he doesn’t want to do. It’s like making him eat vegetables when he doesn’t like vegetables”. Yes, a parent of a child said that and I was FLOORED! I tell my kids that there will be days that they want to quit, but they aren’t going to because they are warriors, and warriors fight through battles and keep charging. I teach them that one day in carriers and relationships that there will be the temptation to give up, but we don’t give up on things that matter. We get to teach this huge life skill through Martial Arts.
- MAKE IT FUN – I know that the best part of my training past is all of the positive things that my parents built into me through my training. I remember my dad always saying, “Mike, I am so proud that you never back down in your training”. That and things like it have stuck with me for 25 years as I continue to charge forward. Make it fun. Have goals and celebrations with your kids as they hit milestones. Sit down and make Martial Arts goals as a family and celebrate the wins.
I’m being 100% honest and transparent in this post. This is real life that I am talking about. I say all of this because I love your kids and really want the best for them! Also, and again this is totally true, I have never had a parent or student who has quit our program and been glad years later that they made that decision. If that describes you, by the way, we would love to see you back on the mat!
God Bless and Keep Kickin’!