Martial arts is an activity that is endlessly valuable for young people because it instills discipline, boosts self-confidence, and encourages physical activity — among many other benefits. I did not train martial arts as a child, but I salute all the adults who make martial arts part of their child’s education. This important sacrifice that parents make means that they will be spending time at the dojo with their children. Unfortunately, some parents do not know how to correctly conduct themselves in the dojo.
I must mention that there are many great parents who are supportive and respectful in the dojo, which is a place where respect has a central role in the learning process. Some parents have never stepped into a dojo before they first brought their children to class; although they mean well, they do not know how to properly conduct themselves. It has always shocked me that many parents didn’t give the same respect to the Sensei, or the dojo, as the students!
Even more surprising is how many dojos have honor codes hanging on the wall for the students, but none for the spectators who so desperately need one. Spectators can distract the students, undermining the instructor’s hard work, and inhibiting their growth as a result. It is amazing how often this happens and this got me thinking that there was something missing in many dojos.
I have been training in martial arts since 2007. During, those years I have witnessed a lot of inexcusable behavior by parents. What I have observed in those years has compelled me to create this sorely needed guide on parental behavior.
So, for all you instructors out there looking for a code of ethics to post on your wall, or website, here is an infographic that can help. This is intended to simplify the rules so parents can be thoughtful spectators, who help to make it a more positive atmosphere for everyone involved.
Note: Parents or spectators, please take the time to click on the infographic to enlarge and read it.