Is My 5-Year-Old Burnt Out?

Or does he just like to give me a hard time?

It was yesterday. I was driving my son to his TaeKwonDo practice. I was about to ask him if he was ready for his upcoming promotion test, when he suddenly had a question to me. “Mommy, when are you going to sign me out of TKD?” I was confused. What? Sign him out? He can’t wait from one belt to another, he is actually testing for the blue belt this weekend and I know he likes the sport and is good at it. Why is he thinking about signing out? I double checked  if he really meant what he said, but, sadly, he confirmed. “Yes, sign me out, forever.” The reason? He simply said he was too tired  after school. He’d rather play dodge ball or tag with his friends. (Who can’t come to the park because of the million classes  they take!!!)  I don’t know whether I was more disappointed, sad or embarrassed. Not because my son decided to quit what appeared to be his favorite sport, but because my son appeared to be burnt out!  I agreed to take a break from the sport and resume when my son was ready. Or not to resume at all.

I was supposed to write about something and someone else this week, but then my own family filled my head with thoughts that might be worth sharing with you, my fellow parents. Especially now that you start thinking about your children’s summer camps and next year’s after-school classes. In my mind, my son’s days were filled with minimum burden and maximum fun:  school in a.m., Spanish (play)school, in (one) p.m. and two hours of TKD per week. Apparently, I was wrong. Regardless of how much fun it is, there is only as much as a little 5-year-old can handle. 







Victorious by TaeKwonDo

The other day my son was playing tag with his dad. At some point I heard my husband say “You will never get me!”  “Oh, yes I will,” my son responded with confidence. “If I persevere, I will!”  What four-year-old talks like that, right? Well, perhaps a TaeKwonDo student?

Our story with martial arts started last year. I was 3 months pregnant and my energy level negative. My son was three and bursting with energy. I needed to find a way for him to sweat it out while I could get some rest. A fellow mom suggested a local TaeKwonDo studio, Gold Medal Martial Arts.  All I knew about martial arts was what I had learned from  “The Karate Kid” and “Kung Fu Panda”.  My choice wasn’t most educated, but I decided to give it a try. We went to watch a practice.  My son was mesmerized with the high-speed action on the mat, a strange language of commands and colorful belts, that must have meant something. Yet, it took him a few classes to actively participate and about a month to put on the ‘costume’ (a.k.a. uniform). Once he did, though, the real fun began. Kick by kick, block by block, form by form, he was excited to learn a new TaeKwonDo move.

The improved physical strength is not the only thing  he owes to TaeKwonDo.  Martial arts are about attitude. Values like perseverance, focus on the goal, discipline, doing one’s best, humility or respect to parents and teachers  are seamlessly integrated in the sport, from which, they transpire into real life. The vision of becoming a black belt and responsibility that comes with it act most inspirational and motivational. Many a time, did my son want to skip the practice because he felt too tired. But then, the very thought of getting promoted to a higher rank was enough to rejuvenate him.

In other words, I think that TaeKwonDo adds a lot of value to my son’s development. It allows him to build on his physical strengths, like agility and flexibility, and suits his competitive and goal-oriented personality.  In positive and encouraging atmosphere, it teaches my son to excel in sport and in life.   What parent doesn’t want that!