Martial arts?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Autismkids, Jan 23, 2010.

  1. Autismkids

    Autismkids Member

    Has anyone had success with martial arts? I want my son to take lessons, but I've always feared that it will backfire. IOW, he'll learn new ways and more effective ways of being aggressive.

    I'm so sick and tired of him attacking my daughter all the time. She will not hit him back because she doesn't want to hurt her brother.

    daughter doesn't want martial arts. She's content with her music lessons. I tried music with DS, but it didn't work and his last lesson is next week. He had 5 weeks, and he only behaved in 1 out of those 5.

    He had a few trial classes at some martial arts schools when he was around 4, but he was too impulsive (um...isn't that an area they work on?!) and no one was willing to take him on.
  2. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    A GOOD martial arts teacher should emphasise the need for personal control and not attacking other people. So in that regard it could be a good idea.

    However, do check it out carefully. Also make sure you are allowed to be present observing, should you choose to. Because we put difficult child 1 in a martial arts class (karate) when he was about 8 years old. It was a mixed class - ranging from difficult child 1's age up to adult. The teacher was young, we explained to him what we needed for difficult child 1 because of his being a bit unco as well as having a lot of energy to burn, to deal with the fidgets. I really thought the teacher understood.
    The teacher explained that karate was a self-discipline and tat difficult child 1 would have to take personal responsibility for his own actions; he needed to learn to rely on himself and to learn his own capabilities. That sounded OK to me. But the teacher also said, "If you're there hovering, he won't learn any of this because he always looks to you to help him through it. He has to know it's up to him."

    OK, fair enough. I was a bit reluctant, but it WAS in a group and it was only a few minutes from home.

    So karate classes began. difficult child 1 would come home a bit subdued, the teacher would say nothing about the class other than, "He's been worked fairly hard, he could be tired."
    We asked difficult child 1 about class and what was happening in class, he replied, "Karate is a discipline, we're not supposed to talk about what goes on because you're an outsider and we're not supposed to divulge to outsiders." or some such rubbish. I tried talking to the teacher about it who nodded and smiled. "Good," he said. "This is part of the beginning of self-discipline and learning self-reliance. Don't worry, he's doing well. I'll soon have this hyperactivity knocked out of him."
    That last had us worried, but difficult child 1 didn't want to quit the class. He said he wasn't a quitter. So reluctantly, we backed off but watched as best as we could. Mostly we just watched difficult child 1's reactions.

    Over the weeks difficult child 1 became more withdrawn and more irritable. We became more concerned.
    Finally a (adult male) friend of ours came to us. This guy is fairly senior in the Australian Defence Forces (equivalent to a US Marine Top Sergeant). "I'm also a student in this guy's karate classes, and I'm telling you that I think you should pull difficult child 1 out of the class. He's not learning anything; this guy is tough on difficult child 1, stupidly tough. He's constantly disciplining him, telling him he has to be disciplined so he can learn self-control but we all know, I now understand better than I ever did, but difficult child 1 simply can't control his fidgetiness and this guy has basically ended up punishing him for simply being difficult child 1."

    difficult child 1 still didn't want to quit; turned out the karate teacher told him that if he quit the classes then he was setting the pattern for the rest of his life and he would therefore always be a quitter in life and therefore a failure. We were starting to believe increasingly that this karate teacher was a nut-job, a real head-case, when we got a note - karate classes were cancelled until further notice. The guy had a breakdown, apparently.
    Our adult male friend kept us posted on things - he wanted to complete the course, plus he'd paid up for more sessions than we had for difficult child 1. The karate teacher did make a half-hearted attempt to get classes going again (he didn't contact us to get difficult child 1 back on board - so HE quit on difficult child 1! A point we made clear to difficult child 1 at the time, although by then he had stopped caring, he didn't want to know the guy).
    I believe for a while some other bloke ran karate classes for a few weeks, and our friend said there was none of the "secret society" BS, but it still fizzled out.

    So go in carefully. Some of these martial arts things do have this "we are a secret society" attitude, or "we are superior to the rest of the world" attitude. It took a few years but difficult child 1 finally told us that the karate teacher had really reinforced the secrecy thing, plus the fact that just about every lesson was a waste for difficult child 1 because if he couldn't keep up (and he was the youngest by far, in a class which included adults who mostly had prior experience) or he was fidgetty (which was worse when he was anxious, and this class had his anxiety ramped up to panic level) then he had to be 'punished" by having to do roll-outs, over and over, for the entire duration of the class. And he was expressly forbidden from telling us about it.

    It was about this time we had a talk to difficult child 1 (yet again) about good secrets and bad secrets. Although there was nothing sexually deviant about this teacher's behaviour, the result was the same - he used control and secrecy to abuse our child emotionally and physically.

    difficult child 1 now (as an adult) has begun to hook up with the Society for Creative Anachronisms. It's a sort of medieval martial arts. None of the secret society crud, none of the BS he got caught up in. HE is in control and can walk away if he chooses and now sees that walking away when it gets unpleasant is the responsible, mature thing to do and is NOT the hallmark of a quitter or a failure.

    So go carefully. Vet it well. Martial arts for a hyperactive kid can be a godsend, or a disaster. You need to be kept informed and monitor it.

    One point I leave with you about how easy it is to get hooked in to the BS - that adult male friend of ours who told us about what was happening - the ENTIRE TERM had gone passed, there had been a break due to the early stages of the teacher's breakdown, before our friend told us that the teacher had been abusing our son. The secrecy injunction was so strict, that even an adult male who had enough of a relationship to our son to be a protector, had failed to protect him and failed to tell us sooner.

    Even strong adults can also be rapidly brainwashed.

    Go carefully.

  3. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Karate was very good for Miss KT. She was about 7 when she started, and remained in training until she started high school, long enough to earn her black belt. It gave her more confidence and helped her release some of her energy.

    I would interview different senseis to see which school would be a good fit for your son. Miss KT's sensei was a very calm and patient person who was willing to work through her antics.
  4. Autismkids

    Autismkids Member

    He had a trial class today, but we probably will not stay there. They did a one on one lesson in a back room (I was invited). difficult child spent the first solid 5 minutes burping in the instructor's face. I mean literally; The instructor got down on his level and tried talking, but difficult child got about 2" from his face and continued burping. He was extremely defiant. The instructor wasn't firm or consistent enough with him. I did leave for most of the lesson so the instructor could get a bit of his good side. He was patient, just gave in too much, especially since he needed to set the stage for the following lessons. You can start very strict with a child and ease up, but it's hard to start soft and expect more.

    daughter now of course wants martial arts lessons for her birthday. So both kids have another trial somewhere closer this week. They're going to put difficult child right into a class, and forget the private lessons. Their dojo rules and program descriptions sound very strict, but that is what I'm looking for.
  5. tictoc

    tictoc New Member

    My difficult child took karate for a year or so and it was very good. BUT, and that is a big but...he took it through a gymnastics school, which is the only reason I allowed it. Both instructors were female, which I also liked, so there wasn't a macho element.

    I looked at some more typical karate schools and didn't like them, but the karate classes at the gymnastics school were very focused on learning to control your body and move in specific ways, much as you would in gymnastics. The kids also had to repeat a non-violence oath in each class.

    It worked well for us until difficult child got too old for the youngest class. At that point, he was physically too large for that class, but too impulsive/immature for the next level. But, we might try it again some day.
  6. Loralyn

    Loralyn New Member

    We found a master who was willing to take on my son (by using YELP of all things!) and he teaches several autistic kids. We started at age 4. Upside - he goes 2 times weekly and gets WORKED - they run him, make him jump, it is hard training and I burst into tears the first time I saw him run to his spot in line and say "yes sir."

    Downside: when he kicks or hits, he connects. And it is pricey.

    We took a trial class with a smaller studio and the master teaches all the classes so he really knows my son. Also, some days are bumpy and he sits and cries and doesn't participate. The other parents look horrified, but I appreciate the fact that he put on his uniform and participated at any level. Also, there is no area to watch and parents stay outside...peering thru the glass for a peek.

    Good luck!
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    At least you get to peek. We were unable to know anything about difficult child 1's classes. No tallowed to stay and watch, nowhere to peek, and he was specifically forbidden form talking to us about anything that went on at class.

    I had a bad feeling, but was told I had to let go sometime and stop coddling him. If I ever got told that now, I would point out that those rules may be well and good, but they leave the teacher wide open to accusations of inappropriate behaviour, and my presence is protection against that. And if that's not good for him, then he's not getting my kid.

    difficult child 1's teacher did a lot of damage.

  8. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    We tried Tae Kwon Do for our difficult child. The program had an excellent reputation and was really supposed to help kids with ADD and self-esteem issues. We thought it would be great.

    Unfortunately, it DID backfire for us. difficult child became an even bigger bully than before....AND she developed a strange sense of being "invincible" because she knew Tae Kwon Do. (As in, Well, I don't have to worry about strangers because I know Tae Kwon Do and I could just fight them.)

    I would say--you know your child best. If you have reason to think it will your gut. Go with gymnastics or something instead. The child can learn just as much discipline and a sense of achievement without the combat component.

  9. lmf64

    lmf64 New Member

    My son took tae Kwon do for a few years when he was younger, in the form of a self defense class, but life got in the way and he had to drop it. Last fall he again got into a class but this one in one on one with a former Marine (also a friend of the family difficult child looks up to). It has helped him to come out of his shell a little and will leave the house with others (as long as it's to tkd lol) Seriously, just giving him the outlet of physical exertion is just what the doctor ordered.