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Old 09-17-2010, 08:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Question - we went to observe a karate class that our neighbour's son attends. Our neighbour was full of praise for the teacher and apparently had checked out 3-4 others before choosing this one. I saw that the teacher was very competent and had good rapport with the students. He did however, slap anyone who was distracted. It was not a painful slap but I wonder what I would tell my daughter if she should ask me about it - it is okay for a teacher to slap to get kids to pay attention, as long as the slap does not physically hurt? This does not sit well with me. On the other hand, the entire world is not going to follow my ideas on nonviolent communication. Does this mean that sometimes we have to adjust our expectations?

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Old 09-17-2010, 08:03 PM
 
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No way is that ok with me, and I would not put my child in the care or teaching of someone who does it.
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Old 09-17-2010, 08:11 PM
 
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This wouldn't be okay with me. At all.

My kids are 8, 5 and 2!
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Old 09-17-2010, 08:46 PM
 
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Absolutely no way! My son is involved in martial arts and there would be nothing of this sort going on, in fact not even raised voices. Martial arts are as much about respect and discipline of self as about being tough and strong. This is a bad message and not within the teacher's remit. I don't know what you mean by a slap but it sounds bad news to me.
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Old 09-17-2010, 09:11 PM
 
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No way! I would not let my child take a class where the teacher slapped the kids. Even if it doesn't hurt it's certainly not a respectful way to communicate.

And what is it teaching the children?

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Old 09-17-2010, 09:32 PM
 
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This goes against everything DS and DH have learned in martial arts. Their instructor teaches the skills are only used in self defense. The underlying concepts are self discipline, self control and respect. An instructor slapping a kid goes against the principles I want my son learn. That aside, no adult should be hitting a child.
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Old 09-17-2010, 09:48 PM
 
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Uh...no. I grew up with mean and scary ballet teachers. Even with all the mean stuff they did do to us (forcing us into splits while we cried), they never laid hands on us.

I have a lot of friends that are professional martial arts people. The vibe in their studios has always been pretty serious, but mellow. I've never seen an atmosphere where slapping kids would be accepted/tolerated.

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Old 09-17-2010, 10:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by hedgewitch View Post
Absolutely no way! My son is involved in martial arts and there would be nothing of this sort going on, in fact not even raised voices. Martial arts are as much about respect and discipline of self as about being tough and strong. This is a bad message and not within the teacher's remit. I don't know what you mean by a slap but it sounds bad news to me.
Yes, this. My 3 and 6 year olds, as well as myself, train in martial arts, and our sensai would never *ever* lose control with one of his students and strike them, or even raise a voice. That speaks very poorly of the instructor if he does not have enough self control to avoid striking a child. Self control, respect, and only using physical contact when the situation absolutely warrants it are all huge parts of martial arts training.

Heck, even during full blown sparring, there is no violent contact--everything is very self controlled to the point where in the course of a 90 minute class of full sparring with adults, you *might* get 1, maybe 2 bruises because of a block.

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Old 09-17-2010, 11:26 PM
 
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We've had two taekwondo instructors and neither of them slapped or tapped kids to get their attention. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that it isn't normal.

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Old 09-17-2010, 11:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, glad to get these responses.
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That speaks very poorly of the instructor if he does not have enough self control to avoid striking a child.
I dont think he sees this as a lack of self control. He thinks that it is an acceptable way to discipline a child.

I should say that the kids did not seem to mind this and got along well with the instructor. However, it goes against what we do. We have never raised our voices in order to dominate (in fact I find it more attention-getting to lower my voice) and never slapped, lightly or otherwise for the purpose of "discipline" and I would not like to introduce my dd to such a practice.

Karate can wait.

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Old 09-17-2010, 11:47 PM
 
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Uh...no. I grew up with mean and scary ballet teachers. Even with all the mean stuff they did do to us (forcing us into splits while we cried), they never laid hands on us.

I have a lot of friends that are professional martial arts people. The vibe in their studios has always been pretty serious, but mellow. I've never seen an atmosphere where slapping kids would be accepted/tolerated.
My martial arts teacher was known for forcing stretches too...but he never slapped. He was more into the "silent intimidation" technique. Like, kid isn't paying attention, he stopped talking and just stared until everyone was staring...

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Old 09-17-2010, 11:51 PM
 
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That's absolutely not something I'd ever consider acceptable, and there's no excuse for it. My son studied aikido, and the children paid attention because the instructors were competent and respectful enough to capture their attention with no coercion. - Lillian

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Old 09-18-2010, 12:15 AM
 
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I think slapping people of any age for any reason is not appropriate.

It's extra awful as a way for a teacher of a hobby to keep the kids' attention.

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Originally Posted by Lillian J View Post
That's absolutely not something I'd ever consider acceptable, and there's no excuse for it. My son studied aikido, and the children paid attention because the instructors were competent and respectful enough to capture their attention with no coercion. - Lillian


I would not ever want my child in any extracurricular class where "discipline" was the response to wandering attention. If my kid can't pay attention, after a couple gentle reminders, I remove him from the class so he doesn't disrupt it. I would not allow him to be "disciplined" by an instructor of anything, beyond being calmly sent out of the class.

Slapping children is totally out of the realm of acceptable.

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Old 09-18-2010, 03:05 AM
 
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My martial arts teacher was known for forcing stretches too...but he never slapped. He was more into the "silent intimidation" technique. Like, kid isn't paying attention, he stopped talking and just stared until everyone was staring...
Oh same here. Our ballet teachers never actually physically forced us into splits. But they would thump their canes on the ground, raise their voices at times, and get the class to mock you if you wouldn't hold a split despite trembling/hurting/crying. Good times.

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Old 09-18-2010, 04:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by cheery View Post
It was not a painful slap but I wonder what I would tell my daughter if she should ask me about it - it is okay for a teacher to slap to get kids to pay attention, as long as the slap does not physically hurt? This does not sit well with me.
A good martial arts (or other) teacher should be able to manage the class without using physically or emotionally abusive techniques. The good martial arts teachers I've seen have had a presence that inspires respect without having to resort to abuse.

However, to form a true opinion, I'd really have to see it. A truly gentle "slap", without the intention of causing pain or humiliation, might not be a dealbreaker for me if the class otherwise seemed good, though I have a hard time comprehending it as truly necessary, either.

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Oh same here. Our ballet teachers never actually physically forced us into splits. But they would thump their canes on the ground, raise their voices at times, and get the class to mock you if you wouldn't hold a split despite trembling/hurting/crying. Good times.
Honestly, this kind of thing would bother me more than a non-painful slap.

In the end... if the lessons being taught, either directly or indirectly, are contrary to what you want your child learning about themselves and appropriate ways to interact with the world, then the class is probably not a good fit for your family.

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Old 09-18-2010, 04:42 PM
 
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Much of what a good martial art teacher should be demonstrating/modeling is a respectful, centered, grounded, and dignified demeanor which automatically elicits attention and mutual respect. To slap someone - especially a student, and a smaller person - even symbolically, is not in keeping with any of that. - Lilian
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Old 09-18-2010, 04:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ocelotmom View Post

However, to form a true opinion, I'd really have to see it. A truly gentle "slap", without the intention of causing pain or humiliation, might not be a dealbreaker for me if the class otherwise seemed good, though I have a hard time comprehending it as truly necessary, either.
I agree with this.
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Old 09-18-2010, 05:40 PM
 
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nope. i would find another class. there are TONS of martial arts studios out there, if your dc is interested you can find something good. i would also ask my friend if they were aware of this.
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Old 09-18-2010, 05:47 PM
 
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You're also more than welcome to ask questions at any reasonable studio! You can explain to the teacher that this is something you're not quite comfortable with, and ask him to explain his intentions, and then see how the answer sits with you.

This also sends the message (especially if you choose against that studio!) that the slapping may be something that isn't ideal or universally acceptable, and gives an otherwise good studio a chance to reconsider and make improvements.

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Old 09-18-2010, 06:48 PM
 
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I would not leave my child with anybody who would slap them. No way.

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Old 09-18-2010, 06:57 PM
 
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Definitely NOT ok. I wouldn't entrust my child to someone who believes slapping is fine.
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Old 09-18-2010, 06:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by NightOwlwithowlet View Post
This goes against everything DS and DH have learned in martial arts. Their instructor teaches the skills are only used in self defense. The underlying concepts are self discipline, self control and respect. An instructor slapping a kid goes against the principles I want my son learn. That aside, no adult should be hitting a child.
Almost all of the above.

I have a few friends who study martial arts and not a single one of them would use even a non-painful violent action to get someones attention.

And yeah, hitting a child is wrong no matter how painless it is.

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Old 09-18-2010, 07:08 PM
 
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No. Not ok.

What happens when he gets REALLY frusterated with them?
Does he slap them harder?

My kids are all in martial arts classes, they love it. Their instructor is awesome, he really connects with the kids, but he works them, and expects them to pay attention and do their best. When they start messing around he makes them do push ups (like 10 - not a cruel amount). It works, no need to smack them.
Needless to say my DS (6) is developing some darn good upper body strenth from all the extra push ups
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Old 09-18-2010, 08:57 PM
 
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I don't know. if it is playful, neutral or doesn't hurt or is not insulting I don't have a problem with it. I don't see how a touch, regardless of how it is done is automatically violent or abusive. We are a family who uses lots of physical communication. We shove, smack bottoms, thump, wrestle , squeeze whatever. Some is neutral, some is playful some is for correcting. None of it is violent or abusive though. None of it hurts. I guess I would have to see it and see how the kids felt about it.

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Old 09-18-2010, 10:01 PM
 
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Martial arts are as much about respect and discipline of self as about being tough and strong.
yeah this.

My dd has been in Judo for 3 years & there have been some kids who never listen, act up & a slap would never happen.

They have done pushups or sit ups or are asked to sit out for a couple of minutes, all after a talking to from the sensai's. Alot of these kids end up quitting after a few weeks or show up sporadically.

Quote:
I don't see how a touch, regardless of how it is done is automatically violent or abusive.
A touch is not the same as a slap. A touch on the shoulder to get attention is 1 thing, a slap is not okay & goes AGAINST MARTIAL ARTS BELIEFS. In fact is disrespects the Martial Art.
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Old 09-18-2010, 11:44 PM
 
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She says "slap" which has bad connotations but also said it doesn't hurt. Is it still a slap if it doesn't hurt or is it a tap on the cheek? is that automatically bad because he is touching their face. I guess I would have to see it. I don't really consider it a slap if the intent and result is not pain. If it is just a touch on the cheek then it is just his way of touching them. My dd *has* to have physical contact in order for someone to get her attention. I suppose someone could look at me and think I was abusing her, if they didn't know us . And she is not a small child. She is 14 and quite free with her opinion. if she minded the way I flicked or swatter he she would tell me. quite loudly and quickly.

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Old 09-19-2010, 12:27 AM
 
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Like I said in my earlier post, my 8 yo does martial arts. He has severe ADHD and SPD. He often doesn't pay attention. I have seen instructors tap his shoulder, call his name, make him run laps, do sit ups, push ups, and stop the class until he pays attention. There are times I've gone and sat in my car because his lack of attention so frustrating to me. Never has an instructor slapped, humiliated, or disrespected him.

It's a kid, it's sport/hobby, and at least be fun or enjoyable part of the time. We are a very physical family, we wrestle, cuddle, sit on each other's lap, we are constantly touching. DH and DS are constantly sparring, wrestling, and pay fighting. The important word here is family. We are a family, no one else should cross the boundary. I don't spank or hit my kid. If I did, no one else would touch my kid that way.
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Old 09-19-2010, 03:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by ocelotmom View Post
You're also more than welcome to ask questions at any reasonable studio! You can explain to the teacher that this is something you're not quite comfortable with, and ask him to explain his intentions, and then see how the answer sits with you.

This also sends the message (especially if you choose against that studio!) that the slapping may be something that isn't ideal or universally acceptable, and gives an otherwise good studio a chance to reconsider and make improvements.
This is a good idea. Not something I would have thought of doing. I have to learn!

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Old 09-19-2010, 07:12 AM
 
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It would depend on the slap.. was it a soft tap on the shoulder. Sometimes when I was in martial arts it would get a bit loud (even during instruction time) and the teacher would either tap us on the shoulder or put his hand on our shoulder to get our attention. It was a big studio and had two classes going on at once so it was loud. Only time I saw him slap someone more then a gentle tap was when he was trying to get the attention of someone in full protective gear that couldn't hear him and even then it was a slap that wouldn't have hurt anyone even without gear on. During these classes though it was all adults/teens. With the young children they 1) kept class size really small and 2) ran only one class at a time so that it was easier to keep track/be able to hear and get kids to pay attention. I couldn't imagine the teacher even gently tapping a young one on the shoulder because a gentle tap to an adult could knock a child over and I know the instructor would never have hurt one of his students (he was this little old Asian man who just adored children).

I think it would disturb me just because it was a child's class. If I saw a teacher tap (not forcefully slap but gently tap) a teen/adult on the shoulder it wouldn't bug me but doing it to a child would.

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Old 09-19-2010, 11:29 AM
 
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Slap? As in the face? I can't even picture this.

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