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Parents: Martial Arts is More Than You Think

I saw a social media post recently that was a letter from a parent responding to someone asking them why they pay for martial arts lessons. The parent’s response was so great that I wanted to highlight it. (I don’t know who the author actually is, so I apologize for not giving proper credit to the author). The parent responded that they don’t pay for their kids to do “Martial Arts” and that, quite frankly, they could care less about “Martial Arts”. When asked what they were paying for then, the parent responded with this:

  • I’m paying for those moments when my kids become so tired, they want to quit but don’t

  • I’m paying for those days when my kids come home from school and are “too tired” to go to their practice but go anyway

  • I pay for my kids to learn to be disciplined

  • I pay for my kids to learn to take care of their body

  • I pay for my kids to develop confidence

  • I pay for my kids to learn to work with others and to be good teammates

  • I pay for my kids to learn how to deal with disappointment, when they are not promoted to their next belt and have to work harder to achieve it

  • I pay for my kids to make and accomplish goals

  • I pay for my kids to develop a healthy self-esteem

  • I pay for my kids to learn that it takes hours and hours and hours and hours of hard work and practice to create a champion, and that success does not happen overnight

  • I pay for the opportunity for my kids to make life-long friendships

  • I pay so that my kids can be in a training hall instead of in front of a screen

  • I could go on but, to be short, I don’t pay for martial arts – I pay for the opportunities that the martial arts provide my kids to develop attributes that will serve them well throughout their lives and give them the opportunity to bless the lives of others. From what I have seen so far, I think it is a great investment!

I love how this parent put it, and I really think they captured the true essence of why we as instructors teach. It doesn’t matter what style of martial art you decide to train in (they all have different things to offer), the important thing to consider is how will the journey change myself or my kids for the better. Yes, self-defense in and of itself is very important, but the lessons learned, the difficulties overcome, and the triumphs experienced all help to create strong and caring people. This is the reason we teach. Every one of my instructors have had an impact on me, and I can honestly tell you the lessons Taekwon Do and my instructors have taught me have helped to mold me into the person I am today. I know Taekwon Do and my instructors will continue to shape me because we will always be students.

If you’re already training, awesome! I challenge you to focus on more than just techniques and look at all the other amazing benefits you get from your training. If you’re not training, start! Find a school that has great core beliefs and the instructors from the chief instructor down to the assistants, all work hard to train the whole person, not just the body. These schools may not be the biggest, flashiest schools in town, but they most certainly are the best. Talk to the instructors, students and parents and see what they have to say. You can tell when you’re talking to an owner or instructor who is just about the money. While the money component is important to keep the school open, the real passion should be around the art and teaching others. Remember what this parent said above, it really is a great investment!

Steve Holly is the co-owner and Chief Instructor at Family Kicks Taekwon Do in Lewisville, NC. If you would like more information on his school, or if you have additional questions on finding the right martial arts school, you can email him at or you can visit his school’s website at

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