How Far Do You Push It?

As I write this I’m sitting at a dojo watching my kids spar.

Honestly, I don’t know if you call a Taekwondo studio a “dojo.”

You do with Karate, from what I remember of watching Cobra Kai at least, but I’m too lazy to Google it for Taekwondo.

Point is, I hate being here.

Two to three times a week I have to interrupt my day to haul my kids here for an hour, and the only people that hate being here more than me are my kids.

Actually, hate isn’t strong enough of a word. They loathe taking Taekwondo – and never miss a chance to let me know.

Unlike my friend’s kids, who have every second of their day scheduled out with classes, activities, and playdates, my kids don’t like to leave the house.

They prefer their online networks to the real world. Not that I haven’t tried to convince them otherwise.

My daughter did ballet.

Hated it.

Then piano lessons.

Hated it.

My son was in the chess club.

Hated it.

Coding club.

Hated it.

They were good at each of these things, that wasn’t the issue. It was the inertia of getting away from their digital worlds.

But I forced the issue.

They had to do each activity for a year, and if they really didn’t like it at the end of the year, they could quit.

And on day 366 of each of these, they were done.

But not Taekwondo. My daughter is in her 7th year and almost a black belt. My son is in his 5th year and a brown belt.

And they are good. I mean, really fucking good. Like good enough that if they wanted to, they could compete.

But they just can’t wait for the day I let them quit. So far, I’m convinced I won’t let that happen.

This weekend, I wrote about the things you need to instill into your children so they can survive in this world. The things that make them anti-fragile, and less likely to give up in the macro and mortal sense.

Things like a sense of humor, the anticipation of what’s to come, and gratitude. But there are other things too.

There’s a physical element to anti-fragility.

As I’ve said many times before, all I want from Taekwondo is for my daughter to be able to break a boy’s nose with her elbow if she has to.

And now she can.

So how much farther do I push this? When should I just say, enough already?

It feels like I’m close to that point – at least with my daughter.

She’s not a kid anymore. She’s a young woman who knows what she likes and what she doesn’t. What she wants to pursue and what she doesn’t.

But the “dad” in me still can’t let them give up. I feel like if I leave them with nothing else in life, I have to leave them with the ability to defend themselves and others.

So they never feel like they can’t speak their mind or be themselves due to physical intimidation.

I’ve made a deal with my kids. If they become black belts, they can cut back their training to once a week.

I don’t know. Is this me taking the easy way out for my own convenience?

I just don’t know.


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