Sunday, October 3, 2010

Show me how you do that!

Teachable moments show up at the most unexpected times.

My eldest daughter is eight and she loves to play “karate”. What that has historically meant is that she attacks me and then we end up wrestling. But this year, my wife and I wanted to enroll our four year old son in martial arts. The problem with that was cost. MA classes in our area are ridiculously expensive. So after a confab with another parent feeling the same way, I volunteered to teach my son and hers. Then my daughter decided she wanted in, and her best friend (the sister of the other boy) also joined. So now I have a class of four. But I digress.

While goofing in the basement today, my daughter tried to hit me. And I responded the way I always do; I parry her attack, grab her arms, and “kick” her in the legs. But instead of just attacking again, today my daughter says, “show me how you do that!” This was new, because she has never asked how I do something. But since I am actually teaching her now, I guess she felt it was appropriate to ask. How could I let such a teachable moment slide past?

We took moment from goofing and jumped into our horse stance. I then had her show me a middle block. I then had her punch at me. I blocked. Then I had her punch again. This time, I used the ‘advanced’ interpretation of the movement and parried her punch and followed it with a strike to her arm. I showed that when are playing, I parry and grab with one hand and then instead of striking her arm with the other hand, I grab it. I SO wanted this to become a lesson in the old adage that “a block is not a block”, but I figured that was too much information at this point. Patience, instructor, patience. It all comes in time (a teachable moment for me as well).

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