I thought I’d share with you the “why?” of the school. For the first part I thought I’d share where I started personally up to the first thought before starting the school.
Nearly four decades ago, I donned my first karate suit and cried my way through my first class!
After that first class -Did I want to go back? Absolutely not!
But in 1982, my parents had the say in what I did. In order to leave activities, I would either have to be so badly behaved I would be ‘kicked out’ OR The club to go out of business OR cry until my parent’s stopped bring me out of embarrassment.
I attempted the latter.
Was was so wrong with the class? Aside from the fact I was very very young? Flash foward 39 years and, I now realise that a child’s perception of what is going on is not in line with the adult counterpart. Ten in room seem like a hundred, correct focus feels like army boot camp and mild violence feel like a war-zone.
So as 4year old me entered the huge room filled with ‘hundreds’ of angry people who want to hit me – anxiety would take over. For example – I knew that I had to make a fist, and I was too freighted some nights to open it. So the ‘grubby’ kid would get into the car an hour later and look at the sweat mixed with dirt from the day! I also knew that after performing the required static punches the instructor would then walk down the line and punch everyone in the stomach to test their tummy muscles. I used to lie awake dreaming of that punch. If I think really hard I have a vivid memory of hearing other children talk about splinters being ripped out of the feet when they gained them from the old floor.
At some point I I gained some confidence. My Karatedo black belt was not my first black belt, but I cant remember when I took martial arts more seriously. What I do remember is when I decided when I decided to take martial arts teaching more seriously.
I’d arrived in West Bridgford after years away from Nottingham and I decided to try out the local karate schools and pick one (or all to train in!). Classes ranged in sizes, attendees, administration, etc I remember the first class I tried which had 8 of us in a room: a few adults: a few high grade children and a one very young child who was just staring into space. I liked the instructor trained in class periodically for about a year.
The next class I tried was busier, I liked the energy. I liked one of the instructors. The mix of children was addressed better with them being separated about 20mins into each class. There was an attempt from the seniors to invite me to things. I lasted a few years in this one until a high ranking member had rudely tried to ‘force’ me to commit to their organisation and that wasn’t me.
There was one I tried longer and this one had disengaged with the big traditional organisations and was happy to do there own thing. It was cheap, and I could just switch off and do my own thing within the parameters of the instructors drills. Honestly, I liked the people and it was like a warm pair of slippers. (If the slippers were being used in a marathon! )
I tried others over those few years. But they all had one thing in common.
With the greatest of respect to them, I noticed that they either tolerated young children or used them to pay the bills. So.
Could I provide a place that put children first without weakening the content? Could I curb the trend of the growing McDojo on our doorstep? Could I help to bring down the creeping costs to children’s sports?
I’ll tell you next time