By guest author Matt Klein
Many martial arts schools teach children as a sidelight to their main focus: adults. They are not that interested in children, and only do it because it represents a sizable chunk of their school’s income. Children are routinely thrown into adults classes or treated as “miniature adults.” A school that can focus on the needs of children will be very successful, as there are few that get it right. To be a successful martial arts school for children, it is important to recognize how teaching them differs from the teaching of adults.
(Credit: Patrick J. Lynch)
As a professional software developer, I often ponder the similarities and correspondences between programming and martial arts. A style of martial arts is ultimately just an algorithm—executed in wetware rather than with integrated computer circuits—and there are many interesting correlations to be found between these two outwardly distinct disciplines.
Within both fields, the need for testing is widely acknowledged.
The correct practice of martial arts develops physical health, emotional maturity and intellectual acuity. In this sense, it is one of the world’s oldest personal development disciplines.
Whether you enjoy martial arts, or any other activity for personal growth, you need to measure your results at regular intervals; otherwise, as time passes, you are likely to drift away from your original goals. As Taijiquan master Wang Zongyue allegedly wrote, “If you are off by just one inch at the start, you will deviate by one thousand miles in the end.”
But how can you accurately gauge your progress in a complex and personal pursuit?
Let me tell you a dirty little secret about black belts. They have no particular meaning at all.