By: Sensei Thad Campbell – TSMMA Feasterville
There is nothing cooler than watching a young student blossom before your eyes. When you can see a young kids focus and determination turn into Self-Confidence, it makes the job of teaching students anything but work. Tyler’s transformation in the last few months has been exactly the kind of rewarding experience that has me still teaching martial arts with enthusiasm after ten years on the mat.
When he first started you could tell Tyler wanted to train. His focus for a new student was fantastic. He would stand at attention and listen to each and every part of class and that focus translated into way better than normal technique for a new student. When he would learn a new technique he would be determined to do it right, and if we fixed something he wasn’t doing perfectly he had the dogged determination to persist until it was done correctly. That’s not the most common attribute for a nine year old to possess.
While there was little to critique about his training the one thing I’ve seen grow the most in Tyler is his belief in his own ability. At the beginning of his training he didn’t always look us right in the eye and when he walked in the school you could tell he didn’t quite look like he felt comfortable.
One of the great aspects of training students in a mixed martial art is the street wise application of the techniques. You can’t fool a young kid. They know what a bullying situation looks like and they know whether what they’re learning is going to help them.
Thus when Tyler began his grappling class and started to pick up those techniques, you could see that growth in his confidence immediately. Even better was the more recent transition to Kickboxing Class, which he made look easy. He has translated his technique from Core class without a hitch and is using it against other students intent on stopping him.
It is so much fun now to watch him walk into the school now. He hasn’t gotten cocky or stopped having the level of intensity, in fact he recently earned the nickname laser show for that very quality. Instead he walks in with the look of a student who knows he belongs and is ready to prove again every class.
I was very proud to promote Tyler to his High-White Belt!