Wednesday, April 29, 2009

It's not you it's me...

We are breaking up with karate.

It's been five years and it just isn't working out.

Maxwell has been doing karate for five years.

That is a long freakin time for a little kid to do anything, much less something as "intense" as this brand of karate.

I have pretty much hated it from the the get go, but Mark is very gung ho about exercise (guess which one of us is thin?) and I am pretty structured when it comes to structure and discipline.

We signed up for this class as a community school class at our local Jr. High school.

Two years into it they started their own dojo.

We should have gotten out at that point.
The children that continued on from our class attended the Japanese immersion school along with the teacher's children, and it was tough for Maxwell, not to speak the language (the class was conducted in Japanese), and to be an outsider. I tired to explain to the teacher that we feel almost as smug about speaking German, as she does about Japanese, but she didn't quite get my sense of humor.

The balance of the class was made up of adults that were super serious about the karate.

I mean hella serious.

Crazy serious.

The kind of people I like to make fun of- that serious.

Oh, Maxwell is left handed too, which was a major flaw, that kept mucking up his technique, a real inconvenience for the teacher.

What a bummer!

What were we thinking, having a lefty?

So there you have it.

We have faithfully shown up three hours a week for years and years.

We have never really liked the teacher- she pretty much sucks, is impatient, disorganized and was most likely a "mean girl" in jr. high (hey! I can totally tell that sort of thing, just by looking!). Her husband was nice and great with the children. He started teaching more in the past year or so, so we felt better in general.

I am not a big fan of competition, and I can't stand the "motivation" technique that requires the teacher to shame, embarrass or harass the student into preforming.
I am a big sissy and I can't stand that bully- coach- as- god, vibe, even a teeny bit.

So you can pretty much imagine how well I accept it when someone is doing that stuff to my child.

Don't get me wrong, I have very high standards for my children, some people, like my mother for instance, think I am a total hard ass with Maxwell, but I don't like the whole rough and tumble model of sports in general and mean coaches specifically...

BUT, for the sake of peace, and to hopefully allow my child to be a better person than I am, I have put up with it.

Over the years there has been a lot of shit that felt very close to abuse to me, and neglectfulness at the very least on the part of the teacher.

Recently Maxwell has been really reluctant to go to class- to the point of it being a real pain in the ass for me, to have to force him to go.

There were also a lot of new students in the class, and a couple of them were stars- you know that type that are just awesome at the activity, and the teacher just loved these kids, I mean she was all but drooling over their form and style.

It is nice that there are children that are exceptional, but I do not like paying for my child to be ignored so that the teacher can devote the lion's share of a "class" to one or two "good" kids, and that is what was happening more and more often.

Maxwell would spend his class teaching five year old white belts, and the teacher would spend the class working with the "good" kids (that is what Maxwell told me "she likes to work with "the good kids")


Not only does that model of teaching piss me off, as someone that works with children, but it also gets my goat on a personal level- it just rubs me the wrong way.

As someone that is almost always the exceptional one (except for sports!) I have always felt an obligation to help people that are struggling. I feel that this teacher is promoting this total dog eat dog philosophy, that offends the hell out of me.

This past Tuesday was the last straw, the deal breaker.

Maxwell waited in line for the entire class to "test" for a promotion to the next level.

The teacher asked him to move out of the way, so she could better see the "good" kid, and then proceeded to forget about his test.

He sat for an hour and a half waiting and he was crushed and had I had a lighter with me, when I came to pick him up, and found him so sad, I might have set her hair on fire-
( I would normally not hesitate to figuratively kick some ass, but she is a black belt after all and some kind of weapon or diversionary tactic, seems to be in order, in my violent imagery)

I was that furious.

"he should have said something" is what she replied to our e-mail letting her know that we were done, and bringing it to her attention (she didn't even notice that she had over looked him!).
No, you are the teacher, you are the adult, you need to have a plan, a schedule, and and clue.

So after reading her e-mail explaining to me how some people are just not good enough for the "intensity" of karate, and how some parents simply cannot accept that their child sucks and lacks the capacity for intensity, I am delighted to put this particular "ancient art form" behind me.


  1. I believe I might end up in an email battle over that. It's one thing to overlook a student, but to imply that the fault is with the parent and child is too much.

  2. I'm a lefty. What a total monster. I'm glad Maxwell decided he didn't want to do it. There are other forms of exercise, and I'm sure there are even other places for kids to take Karate.


  3. SHE SAID THAT?! That is outrageous. I'm glad Maxwell is out of there. Hopefully he can find a class elsewhere that will be nurturing of his skill. That is appalling.