Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Karate Kid (meets Luke Skywalker)

Mr6 has never been a joiner. It used to bother me. I took him to Gymbaroo when he was, um, one, and he didn’t want to get involved. He didn’t mind throwing balls around and climbing over stuff, but sitting on the mat singing nursery rhymes with everyone else was not his thing. (Now that I think about it, he was one. It’s nobody’s thing at one.)

Anyway. In his short life, I have suggested many things for him to try. Not because I want to overschedule his life, but because I have been brainwashed into thinking it’s ‘best’ for kids to be involved. And there were also the echoes of my own childhood to deal with – the one in which I was never much good at, you know, ball sports and stuff. If he didn’t start soccer at two, would he ever make a team?

“Don’t push it,” my mum would say. “He’ll work it out.”

Around him, kids picked up rugby, soccer, ballet, baseball, hip-hop, drama, circus, gymnastics… I’d ask him if he wanted to go along. He always answered the same way: “No, thank you.” It’s hard to argue with such exquisite politeness.

I was thinking about all this yesterday as I cooled my heels at the local Martial Arts gym. Where I sat among the hanging punching bags, watching Mr6 earnestly attempt to get up off his back without using his hands. I watched him get picked as a team leader for sitting the straightest. I watched him stand, head cocked to one side, trying to memorise the complicated series of moves that gets a three-metre belt wrapped around his 15cm waist without too much left over.

And I realised that he’s growing up. He’s now a Little Ninja, twice a week (surely a program dreamed up by a non-parent). He has four notes and three chords on the guitar. He does swimming lessons.

He’s choosing his own path, and it does not, at this point, include soccer. Or, disappointingly, hip-hop.

I suspect his love affair with Little Ninjas is more to do with the ‘costume’, as he calls it, which owes much to the Luke Skywalker school of fashion, but I have to say it suits him. It’s routine-based, discipline-based, requires concentration and patience, and there’s a lot of high-fiving involved (instant reward). For as long as he’s not actually hitting anyone – or being hit – I’m happy with it.

Mr3 wants to know why he can’t join Ninjapoops (as he calls it). But, watching him tear in and out of the hanging punching bags on the sidelines, I’m wondering if he might prefer soccer…


  1. Again, our boys are waaaaaay too similar! Though I'll admit right now, I'm not going to be the one to intro the martial arts. He IS obsessed with all things Star Wars and Luke Skywalker, though, so I wonder how long it will be before he sees someone in their "costume" and works it out for himself? For now, I'll hope he sticks with swimming ;)

  2. lol Your Mr6 sounds like my almost Mr6. I'm dreading taking him to our local martial arts class. I think he'll love all the things you've mentioned but he'll also go looking for all the things to 'doosh' with his new skills.

  3. Ah yes, the 'dooshing'. Didn't mention that. Wanted to make him sound all Zen. But, you know, he's six...

  4. Do you have any idea where that word comes from? I surely don't but it's his favourite.

    I completely understand the "Zen" + six = not happening... Only time Zen applies in relation to a six yo boy is when we're trying not to react to "dooshing".

  5. Haha..funnily enough, am currently researching the local martial arts studios for MY Mr 6. He's more Dr Who than Luke Skywalker, but I'm looking for a outlet for his "doosh" energies. (He wondered out loud if he could put on a demo of his existing "skills" when we finally settle on a dojo...wasn't sure quite how to handle that one?lol)

    In his case, I'm promoting the class as a way for him to embrace a kind of physicality he currently struggles with. He's agile and rather athletic, but not into sports. He's not a joiner, either (we've sat on the sidelines of Little A's and soccer, but he didn't want to join). Having a prosthetic is obviously part of that, and I'm hoping the right class will teach him to trust in his own abilities.

    Am I expecting too much, do you think? He'll be perfectly happy with a good 'doosh' once or twice a week... ;)

  6. What I'm wondering is, has he met his six-year-old Elisabeth Shue yet?? =>

  7. My Mr 16 still loves a good "dooshing". He was never a joiner or into team sports. His sport of choice is Muay Thai - kick boxing - oh the pain for a mother. I can't watch. But it's his thing and he still gets to "doosh" all over the house. Only difference is his dooshing does come with the menacing look of a 16 yo (it's no longer as cute as a 6 yo) unfortunately.

  8. My MISS 6 wants to go all ninja too. Two of my older boys (now 18 & 14) did karate back in Victoria. She went along to a grading and was totally hooked. Granted, she learned more moves from Kungfu Panda, but she's very into it.
    Frankly, I believe she's dangerous enough already without learning martial arts.

  9. My son's judo/karate costume is hanging in the wardrobe. He went, he saw, he didn't like. I thought it was good for him - all that bowing and politeness. Even the padwa thing - no. Same with chess, tennis. My husband is slightly disappointed he's not into football (or should I say soccer?). But, like you say, he's making his own path. He can pick out the Star Wars theme and The Simpsons on his keyboard, can spend hours doing an animation, is great at drawing and writing. So, we're cool.

    Ninjapoops - that's fantastic! Love it!

  10. Hmmm... I'm sensing a theme here. Is every six-year-old boy in the world into Star Wars? What IS with that?

  11. And sometimes they never grow out of it...my nearly 40 year old husband is recapturing his youth. He is buying the stuff he wanted as a kid but couldn't afford. Woe is me!

  12. Makes me look forward to what The Boy will and will not be into (and wonder if i will be the cool cat about it all that I hope I will be. Pimpin hoes and video games? Sure darling, whatever is your thing....hmmmmm)

  13. Mine isn't into Star wars but that might be because he's never seen it. Does that make me a bad mother? Do I need to do this ASAP?

  14. Aparently the other day was international Star Wars Day. I didn't get it till someone pointed out the date May the fourth (be with you).


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