Monday, May 16, 2016

Chip is 9 (Part 2): His Taekwondo Journey

This is continuation of an earlier post....

Besides his weekly Taekwondo class, Chip does not attend any other enrichment programmes outside his school hours. It is a deliberate attempt on my part to be very selective.

Chip started Taekwondo back in 2011, shortly after M began his class. While I did not like the kids to quit anything easily, over the years, we had permitted them to give up activities that they tried but did not fancy enough to pursue. I certainly did not think that Taekwondo would be one that they had persevered with.

At first, I was really not that impressed with Taekwondo. I just could not be thrilled with all the patterns that they were practising. But by the time they were Red Belts and started sparring, the lessons became more interesting.

Even in the early sparring lessons, it was pretty obvious that one boy has a stronger instinct than the other during sparring. It could be due to their personalities, with one more eager to win at all costs and the other, whom by nature is always more cautious, hesitant to hurt and be hurt.

Chip has always been, and more often than not, the louder, more confident and aggressive one, despite being physically one of the smallest Junior Black belt members in the taekwondo school. As he started at age 5, and both boys attained their Junior Black Belts together in under 3 years, naturally Chip was one of the youngest in that category.

He might not look intimidating when he was relaxing by the side of the room, waiting for his turn. But by the time he faced his opponent, he looked different. The cheeky grin was gone. The facial muscles tensed. His eyes were focused with a certain meanness. It was always a thrill watching him in action.

Late last year, I nudged E to switch the Taekwondo school to one with a more rigorous training programme after watching in dismay the school performance at a competition. In fact, the change should have come sooner, and our procrastination came at a huge cost in terms of lost time and opportunities.

To cut a long story short, he started at a new school that offers a competitive sparring class for kids who are selected. So in addition to the weekly weekend class he attends with M, he also gets to train and spar with stronger opponents to hone his skills twice a week. The few months of tougher and more focused training were indeed useful and money well-spent.

While my ultimate goal is always to teach him the precious life lesson of 'No Pain, No Gain', it certainly does not hurt that he reaped the sweet fruits of his labour when he clinched the two Gold and a Bronze medals in the recent competitions.

To be continued...

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