Thursday nights, my ten-year old son does tae kwon do, and I go to boxing.
Simon quotes his teacher as saying, "You learn these moves so you never have to use them." I questioned that line of thinking, being the one who pays for the class. Practice something for nothing? Come on.
At this point I should quote a martial arts authority on the spirit of the warrior and preserving peace and all that, but as I said, I've got boxing tonight, and that's what's on my mind.
In boxing, you hit and get hit. You try not to get hit, but in order to hit, you have to come within range of your opponent, and you will get hit. If you stay away, you'll never accumulate the points needed to win. You practice both offense and defense--how to punch, and how to parry a punch. You have to enter the fight, bring the fight in, and do your best to dominate.
When Simon read the family Christmas letter I wrote last month, he turned bright red. I was sure this was due to my mentioning his hygiene as lacking at this age, but no: he couldn't believe I used the words tae kwon do. This is the equivalent, he's been told, of tapping a bully on the shoulder, or taping "kick me" to his back.
Whereas boxing is more along the lines of pushing through the swinging door of the local watering hole with guns drawn.
George Foreman said recently that boxing changes a kids' character for the good: "They stop being followers and they become leaders. You don't have to be heavyweight champion of the world, but it instills in you something about leadership."
I'm sure this is true. But I prefer that I be the one entering fights, and my son learns defense. Next stop is figuring out why I prefer to fight, period. But for now, there's dinner to be had and gloves to be packed.