One of my Taekwondo students is a little fellow, seven years old, round as a bowling ball with terribly buck teeth. His name is James. When he started six weeks ago his mom warned me that James had all kinds of issues like ADD and mild Asperger’s . It might be true but he just seems like a sweet squirrely, twitchy little boy to me.
As round as James is he always goes hard, tries to kick high (knee level) and punch fast. He gets to class early and stays late and constantly asks me to watch his new combos or made up kicks. James gets so excited that he interrupts and has a very hard time holding still. But he’s a wonderful little boy.
Last week we worked on falling properly. It’s an easy technique that keeps you from getting hurt if your pushed down. I explained to the students they needed to learn to fall and roll, break their fall with their arms and don’t let their heads bounce on the ground. We practiced falling and jumping right back up over and over. Then moved on to a new drill.
Yesterday in class James was twitching around, sizzling with a story he had to share. We all sat down to stretch and I said, “What is it James?”
“Ms. Diana, yesterday on the playground a mean guy pushed me down and I fell just like you taught us. I even used my arms!” He was so excited.
“Who was the kid?”
James shrugged, “I don’t know, just a kid.”
“Did a teacher see it happen?”
“No ma’am but I told one. She told me to stay away from him. But I fell just like you told me.”
“We’ll good job James. I ‘m glad you remembered.”
I thought about James getting pushed down as I drove home that night and as I drank my coffee this morning. I don’t want that kid getting pushed down. And if he does I want him coming up like a freight train. I want him to have the confidence and skills that keep him safe on the play ground. But he’s just a buck toothed bowling ball white belt right now.
Someday James won’t be proud of how he falls down, he’ll be proud of the way he gets back up.