How Aikido and Martial Arts can Un-spoil your Kids

Courtesy of “The New Yorker”

The New Yorker: Spoiled Rotten

One of the paths that training has led me down has been in dealing with issues concerning mental and emotional independence, as is discussed in the article featured in the link above. Though this is about children, I’m sure there’s a similar process happening to some martial artists.

I’d like to draw attention in particular to the compare and contrast between the children of the Peruvian Amazon tribe and those of middle class Los Angeles. In particular when the authors mention how parents have become what I would call paranoid and overly controlling.

In the education field these types of parents (no matter what economic level they come from) are known by an unflattering name: “Helicopter Parents”. Parents who wish to control every aspect of their children’s lives. Usually just the academic portion: doing their homework for them, suing the teachers for “excessive grading”, mandating that the class be run the way they feel fit, prescribing drugs to enhance their child(ren)’s studying in the rise of mandated testing to ensure the fact that their children know what they believe they should know, etc etc.

All of this got me thinking; I was raised by helicopter parents. Although not as bad as some in the media have made it out to be, my parents at least dictated what I should do with my time (not so much on the academics). I’ve come to be codependent on certain things over the years and it has only been recently through my training have I been able to look at these things objectively.

My personal journey is far from over; in fact it’s only beginning. But I will admit that martial arts training has allowed me to grow beyond the limits that were set by my helicopter parents. Perhaps this avenue is a possibility for those kids who have had a lifetime of limitations in both self and spiritually.

My experience has so far only been positive when it comes to breaking down the walls set upon by this situation. It’s possible the format of Aikido – the uke and nage – is one possibility I became someone different than who I was before. Maybe it’s just the fact that I’m doing something that I love; martial arts and exercise that’s helping the situation.

(For those of you who don’t know, I’m quite fond of exercise – just being able to move, move, move brings a great sense of self).

Now a possible problem with martial arts is that kids are still reliant on their parents for finances, so any extracurricular activities they will most likely have to bring through to their parents – the source of their woes in this case. Would martial arts simply be an extensive of those needy, helicopter parents?

The danger is there – and so is the kids being “spoiled”. There’s definitely something about having to trust people in an Aikido format and having the relay on yourself (in other martial arts) that makes people, forces people, or rather allows people to metaphorically stand on their own two feet.

The feeling that you have to do the action – intended must be a liberating experience. I know it was for me. This sense of being must be “leaking” into the other facets of my life. Actually I like the fact that this is happening.

I can only imagine of how a fist to the face and really convince a child that shit is going to hit the fan! I’m not saying that one should automatically dump their kids in an MMA cage fight with GSP to give them a lesson in humility (if it is, then it’s a very callus one at best!). But some good ol’ fashion action-to-consequence training won’t hurt. Hope you guys enjoy the article!

Till next time!

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2 thoughts on “How Aikido and Martial Arts can Un-spoil your Kids

    1. I haven’t seen it in person yet, but I keep on hearing that phenomena is quite common. It completely destroys all sorts of sportsmanship doesn’t it?

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