Monday, August 11, 2008

Kuk Sool Martial Arts

We've had a hard time deciding what activity McIver will do this fall. He showed an interest in baseball, but then heard about karate and started talking about that non-stop. So, yesterday, I took him to Meyerland Martial Arts Center to check it out. When they told us he could come back at 5pm for an initial class/assessment, he was so excited he couldn't stop smiling and giggling.

He bowed before walking into the gym - to show respect to the flags and his instructor.
Standing 'at ease.' From here, the instructor would say "Attention" and McIver had to quickly put his feet together, hands by his side, look the instructor in the eye and say, "Yes, sir." It took him a few tries to really get it all together. He loved being able to yell "Yes sir" as loudly as possible. After the welcome part of the session, they did a few warm-up stretches.
And, a few punches. Looks like he's having just a little bit of fun, huh!? After punching the air a few times, each child (there was one other kid being assessed) had a few turns blocking and punching a piece of foam held by the coach. I have pictures of that part, but he was moving so fast that they're blurry.
At the end of the session, McIver decided that he would rather try Kuk Sool than baseball. He will be in the Little Dragons class starting next week!
I was in favor of this choice, too, for several reasons:
1) They only meet once per week - baseball is twice.
2) There emphas is on positive reinforcement - the kids who are messing around and not paying attention don't get a turn. (Compared with other sports where the kids who aren't focused/do poorly/goof off get the attention and are made to run laps, do push-ups, etc.) Initially, it was hard for McIver to stay in one position while the coach talked to the other mom and me. But, it didn't take long for him to realize that the other kid kept getting to go first. When the instructor caught Mac following the instructions, he praised him. McIver really seemed to get it.
3) There's an air conditioned waiting room for moms (and sisters who have homework!) to wait, rather than the hot, summer sun at the baseball field.
4) There's an emphasis on respect for oneself, one's family, one's surroundings. McIver's 'creed' that he had to say was "I am strong, I am smart and I have a good heart" all with hand motions. The instructor made sure that McIver was looking him in the eye every time they spoke to each other.
When we got home, McIver immediately put on his uniform. (He'll get his belt at his first class next week.) Our friends, the Netherys, came over for dinner. Reagan also take Kuk Sool to he and McIver started to practice together. They had a great time showing off their skills - and McIver loved having Reagan teaching him a few new moves.

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