One day about a year ago, I was sitting in my office doing paperwork, and this father came in very irritated. I asked him to sit down and asked him if he was alright? He verbally abused me telling me that I had ruined his son’s life! That he was going to sue me and see to it that I would never teach again! He would go to the media and tell them that I was dangerous and should be locked up and the key should be thrown away. Etc, etc etc.
I listen quietly and patiently until he had expressed all that he thought and felt. When I was sure he had finished, I asked him what I had done to his son that was so horrible that I had ruined his life? He said “You told him he was really good at Aikido and one day he would make a fine instructor! My son could not handle that pressure and he returned home and stayed in bed for three days!”
I believed the young man was good and had potential, but I did not say he had to become an instructor. It was an option, that he had if he choose to make it, if he choose to do something else that was fine too. I apologized for causing distress to the young man and his family. The father was a little more calm at that point and he said, “Well, my son will not be back!” He stood up and left. I never saw or heard from the young man again.
When I was young and my boxing coach told me I was good and had potential, I took that as a compliment and that inspired me to try harder and to become even better than I was. The education given to young people today is wrong, confusing and weakens them. Nowadays many young people can’t handle any sort of pressure. They give up, run away and look for some sort of security blanket. How are these people going to live in the future? They spend hours playing games, watching people getting mugged, raped butchered. They get so stimulated that when they go to school they cant focus on what is being taught. They communicate to each other about the latest games and that is becoming their reality! What kind of adults are they going to become? What kind of children are they going to produce?
If someone expresses an idea, he / she has to be very careful because someone could be offended by that!. A common expression that lots of young children use nowadays is “That is offensive!” For example when people come to learn a martial art they are going to get hit. I don’t hit them to hurt or damage them but to teach them that fighting is not a game. When I knock someone down he / she is amazed that it did not hurt, but people observing often say that is uncomfortable to watch! That is offensive!
Well I teach self-defence, students learn to protect themselves. If someone is coming to assault, rape or kill you. What are you going to do, put your hands on your hips and say don’t do that because it is offensive? If you are then please don’t come to me looking for lessons. I am not the teacher for you.
We live in confusing times. I am amazed how the world had changed in the last ten years. Values, morals, responsibilities are not being taught. When a family trys to instill these things in their child, there are mocked for being out of touch, for being old fashioned for being outdated.
Young people need boundaries. They need to learn that their words and actions have consequences. to be healthy they need a balance between sweet love and tough love. This they can learn doing martial arts. Aikido is a lifestyle that teaches respect, honor, courage, self-control. We work to improve ourselves and to make a positive contribution to our families, societies, nations and the world. Everyday we strive to make today better than yesterday and tomorrow better than today. Like the Japanese sword it is forged in highly intense heat, beaten, molded then cooled. It becomes not only a highly effective weapon, but a beautiful work of art and world class craftsmanship.
As a parent we have a responsibility to help our children become strong, healthy, sociable individuals that can go out into the world and become whatever they want to be. Throwing money at them, letting them have the latest gadgets and letting them spend hours texting and playing computer games is not helping them.
When a child is told “No” he or she will not like it, but you know what if you stand firm the child will respect and listen to you and will feel you care. The children I teach that are given things easily have no respect and they resent their parents and teachers for not giving them what they really need.
Doing nothing is neglect! It is abandoning the child and hoping xbox or youtube will do the parenting. In the future you will look back and either say “I am proud of the way my child turned out!” or you will be asking yourself, “How did I go wrong?” I hope you find yourself saying “I am proud of the way my child turned out!” Until next time I wish you peace, love and success. Martin Acton sensei www.martinactonaikido.com