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Story From A Retired Martial Arts Teacher

Story From A Retired Martial Arts Teacher

Martial Art Lessons

A Story from a retired Martial Arts Teacher


People quit things. It’s inevitable. They quit diets, gyms, marriages, jobs, and martial arts. When a student quits taking my martial art classes, I take it personally. It’s like I’ve been fired. I fall short in some area and failed them. Teaching is a personal thing. It’s sharing yourself, your knowledge, and your expertise. When a student quits, you can’t help but look within yourself to see how you could have done better. But when students quit because they didn’t receive A candy cane , I don’t feel like I failed the student. I feel like their parents have failed their children. 

This story takes place around Christmas. We were teaching a children’s class of five and six-year-old children. The class was full. The instructors were energetic and on point,and the class was having a good time. The children were present and engaging. The instructor decided to end the class on a high note by having the children do relay races. The winning team would receive candy canes as prizes. 

Team A was fast and energetic. They worked well together and won. Team B did well and had a great effort, but they lost. In competition, some win and some lose. Team A receive candy canes, and the children on the losing team acted accordingly.

Larry made faces and stormed off the dojo floor. He was five, and I got it. I don’t get why Larry’s mother called me the next day saying they were quitting. Larry was doing well. Larry’s mother enrolled him for discipline and focus. That was her objective. When I asked why they were quitting, Larry’s mother said, “ he didn’t get a candy cane and he won’t be back to class.” She told me how unfair it was the other kids receive candy canes and it wasn’t right to upset him. 

“Oh my,” I replied I was in shock since she wanted our help with your sons discipline and behavior. I tried to reason with mom, and I reminded her that everyone can’t always win. There is a lesson to be learned when one loses. She didn’t want to hear it. She hung up the phone. I lost a student over candy cane.

Henry David Thoreau said, “if One advances confidently in the direction of their dreams, and endeavours to live the life he has imagined , he will meet with success unexpected in common hours.”


I love this quote. If more parents advance confidently in the direction of their  dreams of being the parent they imagined themselves to be, we would have fewer problems with our children. Many of these problems could have been corrected. About 90% of the parents who walk into my school want their children to learn focus,discipline, confidence, and self respect. And then they forget.


For stories you can find Stop Painful Parenting Tales from Our Side of the Mat by Paul Prendegast and Carol Davis LCW