Almost precisely two years ago, I talked about Mad Natter enrolling in Taekwondo. While we went for a month, we wound up pulling out until Mad Natter was in a better place to actually participate in the training. After the events at the end of the winter, we figured another trial run was in order. Our park district offered an eight week class at the same dojan we were using originally, so we went for it. Eight weeks shouldn't be too bad, even if everything went off the rails.
The first day was shaping up to be a nightmare. Mad Natter, despite originally being excited about returning to Taekwondo, when the first day of class came... Nope. There was screaming, and fit pitching, and a whole lot of "I DON'T WANT TO GO!!!" This could play out one of two ways - we could say "okay, don't go," and cave on it, or we could say "you wanted to start going again, so we signed you up. It's important that you at least try." We went with option two, with the caveat that if he wanted, he could sit out the class and just watch it with me instead of participating. Sure enough, we got there, and he was right in the mix with the other kids. No problem at all.
That first class was enough to tell me we'd done the right thing. Mad Natter, having come out of hockey, when called to make a circle with the other kids, took a knee. After all, you don't sit on your butt on the ice, you'll never get up! So, as he took a knee, the kiddo next to him took a swipe at him to try to make him sit. Our new Sir saw it happen and called it out - immediately. He told all the kids that they do not hit each other - ever. There are no excuses for hitting in his class. The relief I felt after several bouts of bullying at public play areas was a tangible thing.
Mad Natter has been doing fairly well this go-around. We have to be careful about the timing, as his medication tends to wear off around 5:00-6:00, and his class runs 4:45-5:30. This is fairly evident in his variable levels of concentration and precision. However, even his worst day was leaps and bounds better than his best day the last time we tried, and Mad Natter seems to enjoy this class just as much if not more than the last. He'd still drop it like a hot potato in favor of hockey, but he's more than happy to give this a go, too.
He's learning. He's learning that his actions have consequences. That there are limits, and he is expected to handle himself accordingly. Sir sets a high standard, and Mad Natter, in general, meets that standard. I'm extremely proud of the effort he's putting in, and I'm making a point of telling him what I saw when he gives it his best. He's encouraged by the group dynamic, he's fitting in quite well, and he's having fun. This will just be all around good for him. The question is, do we continue it once hockey starts - because Mad Natter would rather cut off his arms than give up his hockey.