I refused to spend $75/mo on yoga classes for myself.
However, now I am considering dropping $150/mo or $1,800/year on a sport for my son (and my daughter in the future): Martial Arts.
How is it even possible? Let me explain to you why.
I called up a couple of martial arts academies and were given the following fees for toddlers’ classes:
School 1: $179/mo, 30 minutes/class, twice a week –> $35.8 – $44.75/hour or $2,148/year
School 2: $149/mo, an hour/class, three times a week –> $10 – $12.42/hour or $1,788/year
School 3: $209/mo, 30 minutes/class, twice a week –> $41.8 — $52.25/hour or $2,508/year
All of those schools are within two miles from our house and offer trial classes at a discount.
I need to check out the quality of each school, but given the price alone, I’m leaning towards school 2.
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One might argue that in a modern society, our brain is much more important than muscle, and that we should use our intelligence, not physical strength, to get ahead in life. That I totally agree with.
But you might also agree with me that life is not so simple. People get assaulted, bullied, and attacked every single day whether it is a kid getting bullied at school or a person getting mugged in broad daylight.
As a parent, I want the best for my kids and want to protect them to the best of my ability. However, I can’t always be with them 24/7.
There are times when they will be alone and need to protect themselves whether it’s a school environment, an alley in a dark area, or on the street.
I myself am not sure if I can even protect myself if I get attacked by another adult, let alone protecting my own children. If there’s one thing I wish I could have done when I was little, it’s learning martial arts.
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Bullying at school
We are Asian, and of course our son looks unmistakably Asian. I know America is a diverse country and is less racist than other more homogeneous societies like Japan or Australia. But racism still exists.
Even without racism, bullying still exists in school. It’d break my heart if our son came home from school one way all bruised and sad because some bigger kid had bullied him.
I could go talk to the principal and that boy’s parents, but will it help at all? If it did, bullying wouldn’t exist.
Violence is not always the best solution, and we should use our brain and manners to deal with other people in a difficult situations. But I also know that not every kid knows and understands that.
I want my son to know martial arts not to beat up other kids or become a bully. I want him to understand the importance of using tact rather than violence to deal with other people.
And when it is impossible to avoid a physical fight simply because other kids don’t leave him alone, he should have the strength and courage to stand up for himself.
I would expect my daughter to do the same. But based on my experience, while boys like to use strength to settle a fight, girls like to use words (aka gossip and rumors) to hurt other girls.
I know because I was a victim when I was in middle school. Words sometimes can hurt you more than violence does.
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I grew up knowing what it’s like to see domestic violence in a family.
Domestic violence is particularly rampant in rural Vietnam where the level of education is low and domestic violence is still seen as a domestic matter rather than a criminal offence.
In the US, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have suffered severe physical violence by an intimate partner. That means that our daughter has a 25% chance of being a victim of domestic violence in the future. That percentage, in my opinion, is disconcerting.
I don’t want to experience domestic violence and definitely don’t want my daughter to go through it.
Men tend to be stronger than women. That’s why in most domestic violence cases the husband is the attacker and the wife is the victim.
I can’t change the fact that our daughter will be a woman one day and will hopefully get married. I have no control over who her husband will be.
I can give her advice on what makes a man marriage-material. But I can’t predict whether he will be good to her and will not turn violent one day.
What I can get a handle on, however, is that she will learn how to defend herself both intellectually and physically.
A good sport
I am all about doing sports for free, so martial arts being a good sport is a marginal benefit. In other words, self-defense is the most important reason why I want my kids to learn martial arts.
But it is also an added benefit that it’s also good for their health. My kids will be able to develop coordination, respect, discipline, and self-confidence. It is also a good environment for our kids to be more social and make more friends.
When I told Mr. FAF about the price of martial arts classes, he asked me if we could watch some free YouTube videos and teach our kids instead.
I actually had thought about it myself. After all, in order to save money, I quit yoga classes after finishing the intro month ($30) and looked up some YouTube videos to do yoga myself.
However, martial arts is totally different. I want our kids to learn it from professionals in order to do it right. I don’t want them to have any unfortunate injuries just because they learned the sport from their parents who have never done martial arts their whole life.
Our son is currently 3.5 years old, and those schools only accept kids 4 years and older, so we will need to wait until next summer for our son to enroll and another 4 years for our daughter to start martial arts.
For me, martial arts is not simply a hobby or a sport. It will become a lifetime survival skill that will help our kids protect themselves in dangerous situations when Mr. FAF and I can’t be there to protect them.