HMD Academy is non-competitive. There is no actual winner or loser sparring going on. It focuses mostly on promoting self-confidence, self-esteem and self-reliance. X-man has inherited a number of my issues regarding these concepts. He is unsure of himself. He tells himself he can't do something. He doesn't think anyone really likes him, and he often says that without me, he'd feel very much alone.
I knew right away when that kind of stuff started coming out of his mouth last year that I needed to try and nip it in the bud, but he didn't believe me... Curiously, at the same time, HMD had an informational table at the movie theater, and I got to speak with Ms. Kayla about the program. Lots of people think of martial arts as fighting, but in reality, at least at HMD, it feels a lot more like mixing dance with yoga. It's about personal achievement and focus. But there is some shouting, and a whole lotta push ups. :-)
X-man practiced TKD 3 hours a week, including class time. He's gotten so frustrated with it that he's tried to kick his teacher or broken down in tears in the middle of class, AND he's gotten so happy about it that he's several times, much to the surprise of his teacher, full on hugged him when he's mastered something he's had trouble with.
We set a goal. Each week we practice. When he finally achieves the goal he feels good about himself, and we set a new goal and move forward.
I'm very proud of X-man for sticking with something like this for over five months.
X-man in his ready stance with Master Hyong.
I know it's fuzzy, but you can still see the total proud look on his face!
Here he is -- my banana belt!