What does it mean to be a black belt parent?
I have been teaching martial arts since 1985 when I began conducting introductory lessons for Hanshi Jarem. In that 35 years’ time, I’ve had the opportunity to work with hundreds if not thousands of kids, from many different walks of life and raised with many different parenting styles. I’ve had the unique opportunity to “grow up” in the martial arts, raise my own child in the dojo alongside Hanshi Jarem and his children (who all earned junior black belts and are now successful adults); and, witness the growth of so many other children into successful adulthood through karate. Through that experience, I believe firmly that it takes as much commitment (if not more!) from a young student as it does from the parents to become a black belt. Oftentimes, it’s due more to the parent’s perseverance, dedication, and commitment that a child earns a black belt. But make no mistake, through your strong and loving parenting, by standing your ground through complaining, laziness, “boredom” and “burnout”, your child will transform into the best version of themselves.
“Not everyone will be a martial artist for life but the impact of earning a black belt will last a lifetime.”
I recently had the opportunity to read Black Belt Parenting, The Art of Raising Children for Success by Solomon Brenner. An experienced martial artist and successful school owner himself, with the help of experienced educators and child psychologists, Mr. Brenner has compiled an extremely helpful read for any parent (with kids in karate or not)!! Highly recommended! I share some of his points below.
Mr. Brenner recommends taking “should” out of the conversation with your kids and I couldn’t agree more!
I have seen parents give control of their daily lives over to their children by allowing them to decide what is best. In this scenario, everyone suffers. Parents, trust your own wisdom. Leave less room for uncertainty, especially in these uncertain times. Take “you should go to class” out of the equation and phrase responsibility and commitments with “you will” and “you must”. The decision is made by you, the experienced and wise parent. Clearly, this applies to many areas in life – homework, chores, etc. … apply it freely! “Before you can go with friends … you must finish cleaning your room!”
“Keeping the peace in the short term has its costs in the long run.”
Your child’s future is purchased by his or her present actions. Remember this when you strive to outlast your child in an argument. Building reliable habits, routines, standards, and activities provide security and stability. This structure gives your child a sense of well-being and makes for a smoother running household. Of course, things can happen outside of your control, leave room to adjust but stick to your guns!
Skirting responsibility now becomes a natural response to future problems and challenges. Quitting is a learned response. Quitting due to boredom, laziness, fear of failure, etc. allows current emotions to bar the way to future achievement. When your child rebels in any area, he or she is looking for your guidance; for a firm and a loving hand. If quitting or acting out due to these emotions becomes acceptable in the home, it becomes a learned response for life.
As adults, we understand that successful people give 100% even when they don’t feel like it. Keep this in mind: feelings won’t change your actions but your actions will change your feelings. Who hasn’t felt better after a workout, a great class, or achieving a goal?! Your child feels the same way!
Parents, it is not your job to be a friend, to let your child make the rules and decide what is best. There will be plenty of time to be your child’s friend when they are adults and have shared some of your life experiences on their own. They will thank you for your discipline then. Parenting is the most difficult and the most rewarding job there is. When we don’t maintain the boundaries and never say no, we are in effect quitting on our children. Remember always, discipline is love.
When your child earns a black belt at US Budokai Karate, you have set the bar high in every way for the rest of their life. You have stayed the course and will have the enjoyment of reaping a lifetime of reward!
Interested in your own copy Black Belt Parenting buy on Amazon here!
Congratulations to all our past “Black Belt Parents” and, to all our future “Black Belt Parents” we are here to help your child reach their potential!
by Susan Warzek
Renshi Susan Warzek, 7th-degree black belt
Hanshi Russ Jarem, 8th-degree black belt
Established in 1980 by Master Instructor, Hanshi Russ Jarem an 8th degree Black Belt, US Budokai Karate and for pre-school children ages, 4-6 and elementary age kids ages 7 and up are designed to develop the skills needed for a successful in school and later in life.
US Budokai Karate Adult Karate training is a complete adult fitness and conditioning program for adults who want to lose weight, get (and stay in shape), or learn self-defense in a supportive environment. A place to develop mind, body, and spirit.
The US Budokai Karate is centrally located in the Capital District Area in Saratoga County, New York at 215 Guideboard Road, Suite 5, Clifton Park, NY 12065.