Posted by: Hannah | 10/13/2011

wax on, wax off

Thing #1 is now officially a white belt, part of a local dojang, and loving every minute of Tae Kwon Do. Also, I’m here on in going to call Thing #1 “Harry”. Because he loves Harry Potter, it’s silly to keep calling him a Thing, and I use his real name other places on the interwebs if anyone gets creative and tracks me down.

Behold Harry, 6 year old “Little Ninja” and newly-minted follower of The Way of the Hands & Feet (yes, that’s what TKD means):

Yes, it's blurry. Even standing still, the child is always in motion.

Last night I learned the five tenets of TKD, which is good, because being able to recite them on command in a staccato voice while standing in the ‘ready’ position is one of the items on the first belt-stripe test. I like ’em. I’m thinking of getting them on a t-shirt, or something; Courtesy! Integrity! Perseverance! Self-Control!  Indomitable Spirit!

In the car on the way home last night we practiced them. Once I explained what each one meant, he got loads better at reciting them on command. (Commenting thoughtfully that he has “just a smidge” of self-control. Which is true. Therefore hilarious.)

Only four lessons in, I already see a difference in him. He doesn’t immediately start to cry and run himself down if something is hard, or he fails the first time. At the end of last night’s lesson they had a scissor kick / flying side kick competition. Mess up, and you’re out. He got out on the first attempt both times – but he didn’t cry. He sat with in the out circle and cheered on his classmates. At the first lesson, he *did* cry. But as he told me, “well, I was angry, but that’s no reason to cry. And I’ll get another chance to try next week”.


It’s kind of freaky, really. They do push-ups if they stop paying attention or get caught goofing off. He waves around a heavy padded bat and smacks it loudly on stuff if they aren’t moving fast enough or putting in the right amount of effort. He teases them and is stern with them and encourages them in equal measure, and they LOVE him. It’s exactly the style Harry needs.

This morning his little brother Ron (another HP name! easy to remember!) was picking at him. A lot. But my hands were full with a sick child’s neck to ankle diarrhea (no diaper, naturally, EWWW) and although I could hear the fight going down, I couldn’t get in there and sort it out. So I listened, and winced occasionally, and when it finally went too far I yelled “hey Harry, what are the five tenets?” and I swear to god, that child snapped into ready stance and recited them all. Then he took a deep breath and the fighting just… stopped.

Apparently the secret to raising a high-intensity drama queen is Korean military-style discipline. WHO KNEW?



  1. That’s awesome. I love it. My kids take yoga and I swear it has helped them be calmer. When they are upset, I say (don’t laugh) “Breathe like you’re smelling the lotus flower!” And they breathe deeply through their noses, and they calm down.

    Shudder about the diarrhea.

    • I’ve been looking for a good, simple parent & child yoga DVD for the dayhome, actually. I think with winter coming a nice, gentle bit of exercise would be good for everyone. So, not laughing. Even though telling your sons to smell the lotus flower is HILARIOUS.

  2. I am selling this house and moving to a town where my kids can take Tae Kwon Do. I WANT SOME THAT TAE KWON DO VOO DOO, BABY!!!!

    • It’s insane, how fast the change came about. I am a convert now. Also, Halifax has approximately one zillion TKD Dojangs. You should totally move here and we could be BFFs.

  3. Loved this post. I find that my eldest is particularly resistant to being taught things by us, but soaks up things from others. I’m thinking TKD might be a good program in which to enroll her. 🙂

    • If you can find a good instructor, it’s definitely worth a try. I’d be happy to share the little bit I’ve learned about how to select a good program, if you like. 🙂

  4. I love the new names!

  5. Fantastic! I’m a big fan of martial arts, as you know. They have worked so well for my son. I’m glad you’re already seeing good things with your son as well.

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