Friday, July 18, 2014

Karate Gus

We headed to karate on Tuesday and we were all excited, well maybe not Hugh, but Gus and I were excited. We talked on the way there, about listening, giving a good effort, and responding with "Yes, Sir!" each time he's asked a question.

We arrived at 3:50 (ten minutes early, as instructed). Gus was taken to the mat, shown to face the flag and bow, and then where to go for checking into class each week. Then he was instructed to sit on the floor and wait for the class to begin.
A quick picture for daddy at home before leaving for class

Sitting with a new friend while waiting

One by one, the other kids arrived and there were like 20 total kids. It was a HUGE class and I was honestly surprised at how many there were. They called each child's name and had them stand, say "Yes, Sir!" and then run to their circle on the floor. And every child followed directions, except for Gus.
This is Mr. Burns

Not THIS Mr. Burns

When Mr. Burns called his name, he just stayed there on the floor.  Mr. Burns asked him if he needed time to get ready and Gus said he did. So Mr. Burns continued with the warm up, while Gus sat there. It totally pissed me off, because I knew Gus was just playing around. However, because they don't know him, they just let him sit.

Every five to ten minutes, Mr. Burns would ask Gus if he was ready, and each time Gus said no. :-/

At Karate Atlanta, they have a parent meeting on the third class to explain the program and costs. Mr. Yu (program director) was coming around to each parent and explaining the meeting and setting up times to meet with him. He totally skipped over me.

Class ended and just as Mr. Burns was wrapping things up, he was able to get Gus to come to him and show him a few moves. It wasn't great, but at least Gus got up at the very end.

So we I left his first class feeling deflated. I was partially embarrassed, partially confused, and partially annoyed with the whole situation. I wish that someone had talked to me ahead of time so I could have told them that Gus can be somewhat stubborn when starting something new. He needs someone to come directly to him and, not exactly "baby him" but sorta. I was confused because when I asked him if he had fun, he said he did. I was annoyed because he just sat there and didn't get anything out of the experience.

I will say that he did have to poop as soon as we arrived, and I think he felt rushed and uncomfortable with me in the little bathroom with him (he usually poops in private). 

So on Wednesday, I sent an email to Mr. Yu to ask him about meeting about the program and shared that Steve would be coming with me on Thursday, and asked if we could meet Thursday. His reply totally caught me off guard. He said they weren't sure if karate was a good fit for Gus yet, and until he participated a few more times, they didn't want to schedule anything.

So when we went to class on Thursday, we had just been at the GA Aquarium all day, and Gus was SO MOODY. He was just overly tired and stimulated, and we had been going since 7am. I was certain that it was going to be another disasterous class.

We arrived and Gus followed all procedures. He sat and waited for class to start and made a few new friends. This class, there were only six kids (not sure what happened to all the others) and it was much better.

Gus initially said he didn't want to participate and I thought, "Here we go again..." but it only took a few minutes and Gus said, "Excuse me, sir... I'd like to help you!" And Mr. Burns was excited for Gus to join the class.

This first class is called the "Tiny Tigers" and they're all white belts. He actually doesn't get his belt until he's earned it... and we're told it's the third or fourth class. Because his first class was horrible, I don't know if they counted it or not. I know when we left class on Thursday, Mr. Burn's said something about getting his belt next week, so we'll see.

Gus was on fire! He was such a great listener and doing all that was being asked, that he earned his first "High Five Award!" He gets one each time he does something outstanding and after five, he turns them back in for a special stripe on his belt!!

Gus finished the class with the rest of his peers and at the end, he even went up to Mr. Burns and thanked him. It was really sweet.

Mr. Yu came over to me and said that he wants to see Gus participate in one more class, and then we'll set up our meeting. I told him that we only have the two classes next week to work with, because they're on a modified schedule (5pm class instead of 4pm) and Steve will be able to join us. Otherwise, Steve will not be able to come.

I am most impressed with how great Mr. Burns is with the kids. He is so hands-on and patient and really good with kids. Gus was very comfortable with him and warmed up to him immediately. I love that he was given "homework" for the week. He has to practice some moves and then there's a whole check list that he has to complete in order to be ready for his belt. 

I love that karate is not just about being respectful twice a week for 30 minutes each time-- it's all encompassing and they expect him to listen at home, do chores, and be respectful at all times. I really like the values and core components.

I'll be sure to post how he does next week and you'll see pictures of him earning his belt if/when he earns it!!


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