An admitted shoe geek waxes philosophical about running, triathlon, and life in general.
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Friday, May 24, 2019

A form of discipline

My daughter began Tae Kwon Do classes at a local dojang (place where one trains for TKD, aka "house of discipline"), Pinnacle Martial Arts, about 6 weeks ago. When we went in to get her started, the instructor asked us what we were looking to gain from the lessons.

My younger daughter is what most would consider “high energy”. At five years old (“five and a half!”), that’s not an abnormal thing. My older daughter (graduating from high school next month), by comparison, left me completely unprepared for this young lady. High energy, plus the constant seeking of attention… We say that her favorite toy is “people”. And it doesn’t really matter how familiar she is with the people involved. She was old enough, and actually had the preschool results last fall, to enter kindergarten, but we chose to give it another year for her to develop a little more emotional maturity.

Page 2, the test scores
Page 1, what you'd
expect on a form
So anyway, our answer to the instructor was that we were looking for her to develop some better focus and discipline, be more “teachable”, given that she would be entering kindergarten this fall.

The results, just a few weeks in, have been amazing. Sonsaeng-nim (“instructor” in Korean) Hubbard’s class with the young children is eye-opening. He teaches respect – for the class, for parents, for fellow students, for the dojang -- how to act properly, but in a gentle manner that draws out the best in them. Watching my young daughter flourish in this environment has been such a great joy. And I’ve really enjoyed practicing with her at home – don’t worry, I’ve already talked with her about how she will quickly progress beyond my ability to help her.

Already she is looking forward to taking her first test for her yellow-stripe belt next month.

There’s a four-page form that goes along with this test. And I find this form to be a refreshing surprise.

Page 3, the parents
have their say
The first page is what one would expect – the typical name/address/phone number information.
The second page is the evaluation from the test itself.

The next two pages are what got my attention, and my respect. Page three is an evaluation from parents on various aspects of home life, each point answered on a 5-point scale. Things like “abides by parents decisions”, and “helps with chores without being asked”. And page four is a similar evaluation from school teachers, how they are doing in their classes.

I like the fact that aspects of the student’s life outside the dojang are considered for the belt evaluation. I’ve told my daughter that this supports an idea that I’ve tried to live up to (with varying levels of success and failure) ever since I read an article around 1990:

How you do anything is how you do everything.
Page 4, School evaluation!

It speaks to how one lives their life, with a unifying discipline that says there is nothing that doesn’t matter. There is nothing that doesn’t count. EVERYTHING counts in your life, and they should all be approached with the same focus, the same set of ethics. Compromising in one aspect affects the others.

We’ve already seen a difference at home with her discipline. We’re hoping it continues to spread. Results that will reap rewards for generations.

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