Parents' Role In Their Child's Martial Art | Kuk Sool Won of Normal

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David Jacobson reviewed Kuk Sool Won of Normal
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Megan and Greg are some of the best instructors you can ever find. They have great attention to detail. They also know how to work with each person's individual learning style. You will not be disappointed when you join the Kuk Sool family.

Thomas Pusch reviewed Kuk Sool Won of Normal
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Great for young and old. My son has learned discipline and confidence. The physical fitness has eliminated my chronic back pain, and we have both learned priceless self defense techniques. These 2 blackbelts are engaging fantastic teachers.

Barbara King reviewed Kuk Sool Won of Normal
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What a great husband and wife team the owners of KSW Bloomington/Normal make! Both are full of life, energetic, compassionate, love working with children, and most of all, have a desire to share their many years knowledge of the martial arts. Joining the martial arts will be one of the best decisions you will make in your life, it's not just kicking and punching, it's a community that's an extension of your family.

Terry B reviewed Kuk Sool Won of Normal
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Discipline- check. Fun - check. Great for the body and mind - check. Kuk Sool Won has to be checked out. Wonderful folks. 🏆

Rachel Heckman reviewed Kuk Sool Won of Normal
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Megan clearly cares about supporting and nurturing children to learn and be their best. My son loves being able to learn new skills and have a positive outlet for his energy. Greg and Megan both work hard and and are caring teachers and respectful people.

Joshua W reviewed Kuk Sool Won of Normal
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A well run facility, you can tell the Instructors care about their students and are truly passionate about what they do. I couldn’t recommend this school more!

Jillian Johnson

Our family has had a wonderful experience at KSW of Bloomington/Normal. The instructors are passionate, experienced, and so welcoming. Our three year old son has been participating in the tiny tigers class and absolutely loves it. My son has so much fun and learns a lot as well! If your son/daughter has an interest in martial arts, we would highly recommend Kuk Sool Won of Bloomington/Normal!

Teresa Yates

Kuk Sool Won has changed my kids lives! The best program for building confidence, teaching self defense, and getting great fitness. Definitely the best martial arts school in Bloomington IL!!! Totally a family martial art

Tracy Haas

Kuk Sool Won is an amazing opportunity for all ages to grow! The family you gain in training is priceless, the memories even better! Great for body, mind & soul! The instructors are amazing people who love to share what they have practiced in a super comfortable atmosphere!!!

Victor Young

My son has been going here for the last six months and not only is it a fantastic martial arts school but the best place for character development as well! Don't look anywhere else.

Latoya Christine

Our son has autism and it takes him a while to focus and he doesn't always understand what's being asked of him. It was very hard to watch what I thought was him struggling, but in fact he was learning and they could see that!! Greg and Megan are completely phenomenal with him and all the kiddos. They love the kiddos so much and are so supportive to all the families.

Becky Ratley

My son has been in Kuk Sool for just a few weeks and he’s loved learning here! Megan and Greg are wonderful instructors and they offer a very hospitable atmosphere. Seeing my son gain more self esteem and confidence week after week is priceless. I would highly suggest Kuk Sool Won of Normal!

Ron Graziano

When I travel to central IL this is the ONLY place I will train! The Staff is amazing, the school is immaculate and the energy in this place makes you want to stay for hours!!

Hoangson Vu Dinh reviewed Kuk Sool Won of Normal
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Mr. and Mrs. Farris were my son's instructors at Kuk Sool Won of Peoria. They are good with children, and they are good instructors. My son loves them.

Jenny Schroeder Weber reviewed Kuk Sool Won of Normal
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Greg and Megan taught my kids for several years and are excellent instructors. Highly recommend them, as well as the martial art of Kuk Sool!

Mike Weber reviewed Kuk Sool Won of Normal
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Amazing Korean martial arts instructors! It is perfect for children to learn respect, discipline and get more exercise into their routines, and it is amazing for adults to learn self-defense and get in shape. Make sure you check out their school for yourself. I know you will be impressed with the quality and energy!

Jordan Matthew Hardwick reviewed Kuk Sool Won of Normal
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I have had the privilege of knowing the Instructors for several years and they have a real passion for teaching, and helping others! KSW of Normal offers great self defense training and a family friendly environment all provided to you by their top notch instructors!

Joey Medina reviewed Kuk Sool Won of Normal
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Greg & Megan are 2 wonderful people who are motivated & dedicated to changing lives through martial art training. Their vast knowledge in the martial arts is 2nd to none in the Normal area. If you are looking for a credible martial art school that you can go & learn in a safe, clean & friendly environment than Kuk Sool Won of Normal is for you.

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Parents’ Role In Their Child’s Martial Art

The role parents play in the development of young martial artists and their decisions can drastically change the length, quality, and value of a student’s training.
Over the years we interact with many different types of parents with all different types of priorities. Some parents consider martial art training a convenient alternative to day care. After all, in martial arts the child gets physical activity, socialization, and education. These parents will generally drop off the students for class while they attend to errands or other activities.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are parents who watch attentively every class. Sometimes instructing, coaching, or disciplining from the sidelines. These parents essentially have one foot on the training floor. And mixed between these two types is every variation you can think of.
But let’s focus on parents who play an active role in the martial arts training and development of their children and explore some challenges they’ll encounter while participating in the journey.

The Ups and Downs of Motivation
Any instructor will tell you how often you watch students go from passionate about martial arts to absolutely against at the idea of training. Parents have it easy when their child is excited. It doesn’t take much convincing to get them in their uniform and to the academy for class. However, when that enthusiasm drifts, getting ready for class can turn into an epic battle just trying to get them in their uniform.

The fight doesn’t end once you get them to the academy either. Once the child is on the floor, their attitude impacts the way that class is going to go. Every drill becomes a chore and playing with their belt seems to be way more important than paying attention.

The parent, seeing this carry on into class, is left to wonder if the Instructor is noticing the behavior and going to correct it or losing patience. They then have to decide if it’s right to take it upon themselves to try to fix it. The parent also has to wonder if school, activities, and training are just too much.

Managing the motivation rollercoaster can be overwhelming. As an Instructor the mission is clear – continue teaching the student for as long as the parent brings them, or until they are old enough to decide for themselves. For the parent, knowing when to push through resistance and when to give in is a psychological puzzle.


Let’s analyze one of the most powerful tools of an old school academy: failure
Martial artists and academies have phrases they used to indicate a broad sense of resilience throughout life. “Fall Down 7, Get up 8,” for example is one I hear all the time. It is great for martial arts because not only are you literally thrown down in martial arts, but you also experience roadblock after roadblock as you attempt to improve your body, mind, and spirit.

A great Instructor is going to intentionally set up challenges for students to face and push them to overcome. The instructor doesn’t want to spoon feed everything to students; instead they want to encourage effort in the right direction and watch their students work and fight for that accomplishment. Some students will dig in their heels and work harder and some will grow frustrated. Some will succeed, some will fail and try again, and some will just quit.
So, how do parents fit into all this? They need to be able to watch their children fail and encourage them to get back up and try again.

Certain pressures will tempt a parent not to engage in this practice. The first pressure is from the child him/herself. Failure never tastes good, and the child will want to quit repeatedly. It can be a tough slog to get them to push through. The second kind of pressure is societal and ego based. Some parents refuse to see any fault in what their child is doing, even if the instructor does. Additionally, if an egotistical parent sees other children progressing faster than their own they will have the tendency to accuse the Instructor of favoritism or poor teaching. At that point, they can allow their child to quit without any sense of guilt or fault.

Recognizing Bad Teaching
Let’s make things more complicated. As mentioned above, a parent needs to be careful not to fall prey to their own ego and the emotional swings of their child. This includes not projecting fault onto an instructor if success isn’t immediate.

But what happens when the instructor actually IS at fault? Believe it or not, there are a ton of sloppy Instructors out there.
Sometimes instructors have to be tough on students, putting up intentional roadblocks can help students overcome their own perceived limitations and teach them qualities of resilience, determination, and self-confidence. But a lot of Instructors aren’t so altruistic in their motivations. Many are guided by how much money a parent has given, how many sponsored events they’ve attended, and other even more nefarious factors. Sometimes it’s easy for perceptive parents to pick up on the difference between a tough teacher and a bad one.
Common Red Flags of a Bad Teacher:

• Militaristic dominance over students, including insults, injury, and abusive regimentation.
• Touching and feeling of an uncomfortable variety or in a manner that clearly isn’t related to technique.
• Explicit favoritism, providing perks to students that are above and beyond the norm of their rank.
• Probing comments about a student or parents relationship life, physical appearance, or dating life outside the academy.
• Excessive grouping of students into pay tiers, sometimes through the addition of many special “clubs”.
Unfortunately, bad behavior often manifests itself in more sublte ways. Teachers with unscrupulous motives tend to be good at hiding it, and only after months or years of analysis will a parent catch on to the true motives of the teacher.

There’s no easy solution to this problem. Parents simply need to keep involved and keep their eyes and ears open. Most of all, they need to be honest with themselves where the problem might lie.

Letting Go
Most instructors hate to admit it, but some students simply aren’t cut out for long-term training. Martial arts can be arduous, thankless, and boring. Not everyone was born to fall in love with them.

As mentioned above, one of the core responsibilities of a parent is to help their child push through those times of low motivation and setback. Sometimes this can equate to literally/figuratively dragging the child to the dojo.

How then is a parent to know when it’s time to let go?

As you might have guessed, there is no easy answer. The Instructor, of course, will recommend you push through any and all obstacles because they know the lofty value of long-term training. They want your child to have a life enhanced by the arts (or they want your money – remember, there are bad teachers too).

Parents, on the other hand, need to help balance all aspects of the child’s life. Kids are samplers by nature; they tend to enjoy an activity for awhile, get bored, and move on. Of course, pushing through that sampling tendency is what turns a good young student into a great mature student. But what if it isn’t sampling, and the child would be much better off elsewhere?

Of course, you can split time between martial arts and other endeavors but the best overarching advice I can give in this regard involves “the spark”. If a parent is observant, they might see certain shifts or sparks in a child’s development. Unexpected moments of intensity, focus, self-defense skill, good behavior, courtesy, etc. If a parent sees these things and believes that the arts are turning their child into a better person, pushing through resistance might be appropriate. If they are not seeing any positive gains, or even negative tendencies of bullying, disobedience, disrespect, etc., it may be time to move on.

Keep students motivated and interested in obviously a challenging task for parents. Sometimes parents can be creative with solutions, such as joining the class themselves. If they are on the floor, it’s easier for them to ‘lead by example’, and of course the child recognizes that since a parent is nearby behavior is a requisite of class. But ultimately, nothing external will be a permanent solution. The parent and Instructor can guide and inspire, but they can’t decide what’s in the heart of the student.