Yes, if you or your child enroll in our school, you will learn how to kick and punch.
Initially, when you or your child sign up, the goals are usually to learn self-defense, discipline, confidence-building, physical fitness, etc. You will learn all of these at our dojang. Moreover, it will be the pursuit of those goals that will keep you excited to come back.
But Tae Kwon-Do has so many other, less-obvious benefits that most people don’t consider when beginning their martial arts journey.
We are a loving and caring dojang, but I do not coddle my students. That is not the way to prepare them for life. We’re not harsh on students or cruel to them, we just set clear parameters and boundaries, and we stick to them, which is another very important lesson your child will learn.
From time to time, parents or students will ask me to make exceptions, and I always respond the same way. I reiterate to them that they or their child came to the dojang with a purpose to improve on certain skills in which they felt they were lacking. My job is to help guide you toward those improvements. When you ask me to make exceptions, you are asking me to stop doing my job, and to break the promise I made to you.
I don’t break promises.
Moreover, if I make an exception for you, I feel obligated to make the same exception for everyone. Now, I’m not an unreasonable man. I realize that there are extenuating circumstances that could warrant a change of plan or direction, temporarily or permanently. But, there are much fewer situations like that than many people think.
For example, if you are late to class, you do 10 pushups. Then, you may join the class. People think these pushups are punishment. They are not. They are a reminder exercise for that student and for all students to be on time. Sometimes parents will try to take the fall and say that it is their fault the child was late. When that happens, I simply invite them to join their child in doing pushups. But, what I don’t do is judge whether one reason for being late was better than another.
I believe that this strips away the idea that each student is special in one way or another and, more importantly, the sense of entitlement that comes with it.
People react differently to getting hit for the first time. Some people get freaked out, others enjoy the rush. But everyone has to take a shot if they truly want to learn how to defend themselves against it.
Either way, that first hit is shocking, and it will be for every student, young and old, their first lesson in thinking on their feet, how to pivot, and how to adjust. When you’re in the ring, there is never a sure deal. You have no clue what is going to happen, so thinking on the fly is crucial. From this, your child will learn what it truly means to be independent.
Some dojang owners coach their students in the ring during tournaments. I do not. My coaching has all taken place before they enter the ring.
I call it preparation.
The tenets of Tae Kwon-Do are: courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self control, and indomitable spirit. In addition to these, students are taught about respect; respect for themselves, and respect for others. I think many would agree that respect is something lacking in today’s society.
When we first meet someone and we bow, we aren’t bowing just to say hello or to show humility. We bow to say “I respect you, and everything that you stand for, and I accept what you are about to try to do to me. And, when you bow to me, you say the same.” And, when the fight is over, we bow again to thank the other person for showing that respect. So, in short, we can disagree, we can do battle, but we can also still sit and have dinner together, all out of mutual respect.
Having your child at the dojang will also teach them how to deal with, learn from, and bounce back from failure.
I used to be a compulsive winner. I would outwork anybody to try to beat them at anything, from basketball to Monopoly, and everything in between.
Once I began studying martial arts, though, I realized that there were just some people that I would never be able to beat, no matter how hard I trained. So, I learned to accept failure; not as an end, but rather a beginning to understanding myself and to becoming better.
The failures you encounter in life are just stepping stones to success. There is no one who is extremely successful in life that did not experience failure along the way. When we as parents get the urge to protect our children from failure, we are actually failing them by denying them an essential tool for success in life.
And trust me, I know how hard it is now that I have a child of my own. I don’t want Charlie to get hurt. I don’t want anything bad to happen to him. But I know, through my experience in Tae Kwon-Do, that struggles are necessary for him to become the best person he can be.
One of the biggest benefits to students is that they are becoming part of something bigger than themselves. This is something I believe that everyone needs to do. It is the only way to truly grow.
When you become part of something bigger than you, you have the opportunity to grow in ways that were previously unavailable to you. Once you grow within that organization, you begin to become one of the mentors, and someone who initiates and cultivates growth in others.
People often don’t understand that part of having the Master Gorino name and logo on things is that it creates a tribal mentality for all who wear it. When you walk into the gym with a Master Gorino duffel bag or t-shirt and you see someone else there with one on, you know those are your people. And that is an amazing feeling.
Even before I had a school of my own, I always wore the name and logo of the dojang I trained at. I took pride in my tribe, and I want to instill that same sense of pride and belonging among my students as well.
Benefits Beyond the Student
The byproducts of the benefits of Tae Kwon-Do extend beyond the student into their families, schools, jobs, and beyond. My promise to each student is that I will help them become a positive force in their world and society in general, and will give them the tools to change things for the better.
They’re not perfect. They’re kids. But they’re better than most.
When I meet strangers who have met my students, they always tell me our students are the most respectful, nicest people they have ever met.
That’s a promise kept.
Master Gorino’s Tae Kwon-Do offers a trial program for individuals and families in Buffalo, NY and the surrounding areas that allows you to get a feel for the different classes, meet our instructors, and experience our dojang. It’s a great way to see if Tae Kwon-Do is right for you. To learn more or to sign up, register online or call (716) 836-KICK (5425) and a member of our team will follow up with you on next steps. We look forward to helping you achieve your goals. Pil-Sung!