Thursday, February 9, 2012

Karate – Yame

Yame is the Japanese word for stop. In Kai’s karate class, Sensei often says it when it is time for the kids to end a particular drill.

My son has never really liked going to karate class. But we kept sending him because we thought it would be good for him. And, for a long time, it was.

When Kai first started karate, he was not able to follow his school teacher’s instructions. So, we weren’t very confident that he would be able to listen to and follow Sensei’s instructions at karate class. When he was able to, we were pleasantly surprised.

Sensei’s tough approach was quite a change from the gentler approach of most of Kai’s female therapists. But it seemed like it was just the prod Kai needed to accomplish more.

But lately, Kai has not responded well. He is not motivated in the class, and then talks back to Sensei when he gets on Kai. Kai has set a terrible example for the younger students. And it is embarrassing for my wife and I, as the other special needs kids in the class all seem to enjoy karate and take it seriously.

Last week, Sensei spoke to my wife just before the class was to begin. If Kai acted out, he would have to leave the dojo. He would not be permitted to stay.

During warmups, Kai got upset. He started throwing around the equipment. When he refused to clean up the mess he made. Sensei asked him to leave.

My wife brought him home. She was really frustrated. We both were, although I wasn’t there to personally experience this last incident. Things had become really bad as all of the other kids were taunting Kai about what a bad job he did.

Kai lost privileges that day. But we had to decide if we would continue sending him.

During some of the tough times we’ve had before, I’ve encouraged my wife to persist and keep Kai in the class. But I think it’s now time for a change.

There’s no excuse for his poor attitude.

But I don’t think forcing him to continue attending karate will change his attitude, especially with Sensei apparently losing all patience with Kai, and with the other kids joining in to deride him.

In sports, sometimes a change is needed to revitalize a team that has tuned out the old coach. Maybe that is the case here.

And so, we will say “yame” to this karate class.

Personally, I will miss taking him every Saturday morning. The friendships I had with a couple of the other dads provided the only adult conversations I regularly have with anyone other than my wife. And though I would have liked to continue to attend the Karate Dads’ Club, I am putting my son first.

Hopefully we will find another outlet to teach Kai the discipline he was learning through karate, one that will also provide good physical exercise.

But I’ll miss my buddies at the dojo.


  1. Sorry to hear about the change. However, I think your decision was a correct one. There are many sports out there that I think Kai would like. It could be an adventure just exploring all the opportunities. I hope you find one that Kai really takes could make all the difference in the world. Perhaps a more solitary sport like long distance running or biking...or power lifting...or something along those lines. He could then compete in meets and otherwise train at home.

    1. I like your ideas. We've been doing a little running... starting off at one mile, a couple times a week. Would like to do more... challenging trying to find the time. Sometimes he runs well, but other times he whines about it.

      I am planning to introduce him to lifting soon. Hopefully he will enjoy it.

      And though it is often hard for him to participate in group activities, we think it is important for his development to get exposed to those situations.


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