Trailer Park Unschoolers

Because you don't need to be rich to unschool!

Their First Martial Arts Class

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So, there’s no photographic evidence of the class, but the boys and Luca had their first martial arts class today.  The classes are in Brazilian Jujitsu.  If you don’t know what that means, I’ll simplify.  It’s grappling, or in overly basic terms, think wrestling.

The classes are really kind of short.  The 6pm class doesn’t start at 6, but ten minutes or so after.  Then they end about ten minutes early so the kids end up running around.  The older class runs a bit longer, but with older kids, I’d expect it to be more serious anyway.  I’d call it more of a 45-minute class for the older kids and a 30-minute class for the younger ones.  Still, I think it’s a valuable experience.

Both classes are structured pretty much the same way.  First they do their warm up.  After the warm up they learn a new technique.  After they learn their new technique they practice it a few times through.  Finally they get paired up practice what they know.  My kids didn’t participate in that part because they’re all too new and aren’t experienced enough, understandably.  However, this will teach them patience, following directions, respect for their instructor and their classmates, and to sit quietly while listening and watching the skills be demonstrated.

Luca was adorable to watch in class.  Luca’s little half ponytail bounced from place to place.  Luca was a little uninspired by the grappling technique, but I think that’s largely because Luca was confused as to what was going on.  There were several points where Luca looked very confused, but still remained seated or standing, eyes forward, listening to the instructions that were being given.  I think it’s definitely a good match for Luca.

Sander, on the other hand, was definitely in a class with kids much too big for him.  The techniques they were learning were much to advanced.  More than anything, Sander kept giggling anytime the other kid so much as touched him.  I think next class we’re going to talk about putting him in with the younger kids.  That group is supposed to be up through age 8, so I think that’ll be a better match, but if Sander is going to be goofing off, we may decide he’s just not ready for classes.

A.J. on the other hand was really into it.  He had a sharp focus for what he was doing and picked it up pretty quickly.  I haven’t seen him that intensely focused on something that involves another person perhaps ever.  He was definitely picking it up quickly and I think he’s going to excel.  He could have found something ideal for his personality.

The best part about it is the classes are both decently large.  There are enough kids in each class that I can see them finding friends fairly easily.  Luca might be the one that has the hardest time, being what seems like the youngest and least mature in the class.  Still, age isn’t necessarily a factor in friendships, and as Luca gets older, undoubtedly younger kids will filter into the class.  It looks like it’ll be a great environment for the kids.

Now for the down sides.  The place is walking distance, but in this weather that’s a little more touch and go than I’d like.  It’s a good half hour walk at Luca speed, which equates to exactly one mile each way.  Two miles of walking with a class in between is a bit much for Luca right now, but we’ll get there.  At Luca’s age Sander was walking about three to five miles every day.  If Sander can manage it, Luca can get used to it too.  Being a mile long walk won’t be fun if we’ve got any kind of bad weather coming up.  I think we can hack it in the rain, but I’m more worried about snow, which is still a possibility for a few more weeks now.  We’ve been known to get snow all the way through March.  It could also be out of our price range, which means we’ve spent all this time working on getting the kids into this just to have to pull them back out again.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed on being able to work something out.  The uniforms don’t exactly look cheap either.  They’ve got nice embroidered patches with the name of the place on it, as well as the Brazilian flag and a few other things.  They look like really nice uniforms, if a little covered with patches for my personal taste.  I prefer a simple, clean-cut look, but the school does what the school does, and it’s standard across everyone, both kids and adults.

I’ll be honest, doing this is going to have to come with some sacrifices.  I’ll have to go out in poor weather.  I’ll have to walk a mile each way until we can afford a car.  I’m going to have to invest in uniforms.  The cost of classes is going to mean our budget has to be cut somewhere else.  Overall, I think it’ll be worth it.  The kids will have a physical fitness element and they’ll be learning some valuable skills.  Undoubtedly you’ll be hearing more of about this as the week goes on.  We’ve got one free week, so we’re going to make the most of it!


Author: Fox

With four kids, who has time for much? We spend a lot of time together, which translates to a lot of knitting time for me when we hang out. We've been trying to get back to our unschooling roots. We watch a lot of videos, play a lot of games, and pay attention to the things we notice in our everyday life. It's been quite the big adventure!

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