Carlos is a middle school student in a private school. He wakes up at 5am, does his morning routine of semi-ligo, and says goodbye as his mother is about to sleep and checks on his 3 year old baby sister.
His mom, a team leader in a nearby BPO, just came home from her odd-hour job to prep his daily baon, hotdog na pula (because hotdog na pula is life!) and pancit canton.
His dad – well they don’t know where his dad is nor do they care.
He leaves his house and walks to the LRT station to join the daily exodus that Manila folk have come to call normal. He arrives at school, fist bumps his pares, then prepares for class like normal middle school kids. The daily grind.
Like normal middle school class hierarchy, there are the alphas and there are the other kids; he is an alpha. During lunch break he always pesters Patrick, a tall lanky glasses-type who rubs him the wrong way; he takes his lunch, and drinks-off from his water bottle without permission. He never really verbally abuses Patrick or call him names, he just takes things like tough guys do.
Five years ago, Carlos got held-up by two street thugs as he exited Betty-Go station. They were kids, around his age and size, but they were jacked. He panicked, froze on the spot not knowing what to do. He had no choice but to give up his phone, wallet, and ego. He had to deal with that.
Patrick doesn’t mind. He’s a rich kid, single child. Shy, yes. Awkward, very much so; always having off comments on conversations with his classmates often times rubbing bad vibes. Oblivious, obviously to everyone since he genuinely believes that he can deal but the son of a beachfront hotel chain mogul just has it made.
He lives in a fancy house in BF Homes, has more maids than family members and French Bulldogs combined, and has just about every PC and PS4 game there is. Limited Edition. His mom and dad are owners and executives in a resort chain found in Boracay, Palawan, Siargao; if it is in the Philippines and it has a beach then they have a resort there.
Constant travel is part of their daily grind but they have built up the fortune and luxury to afford to raise a child without them being physically present.
That is why Patrick goes to school everyday from the south in his assigned SUV with his kuya driver and yaya. It’s always drive through breakfast and lunch, because he likes his burgers and apparently Carlos does too. He thinks Carlos is his friend; he’s just a difficult friend who likes burgers, he says.
His other classmates though, are just users. They let him come along to gimiks with the pretense of basta libre mo kami. He couldn’t say “no” because they are all his friends, he thinks.
Five years ago, Patrick went to Japan with his Family. The stayed in Tokyo, went to see Disneyland and took a picture with the Gundam statue. Good times.
As parents, we do the best that we can with what we have to raise our children. But often we are subject to circumstances that prevent us from preparing our loved ones to deal with the harsh realities that may and will come about in this world.
Working 9 to 5 (pm/am), dealing with clients 24/7 in different places and generally trying to put food on the table and keep up with our responsibilities prevent us from properly giving our children all the guidance needed to deal with situations that they will encounter, both good and ugly.
Yes, we have school to teach and nurture our kid’s abilities and intelligence and we have religion to guide us within our beliefs. But what about the other intangibles? Situations that cannot be learned through books?
Taking on a sport, or a simple self-defense or martial arts class, like Karate, can go a long way into a child’s well being and development.
Karate is not just that thing that we saw in that movie with the fancy balancing kick. Nor is it that style that that popular MMA guy used to knock out another MMA legend. It is a discipline. It instills discipline, in its forms, repetition, and learning to strengthen one’s foundation physically and mentally. It develops an awareness of one’s strengths and weaknesses.
Carlos could have beat up those thugs! LOL JK, I kid!
More realistically, he could have had the presence of mind to not give up. To call for help, talk his way out of the situation, or just physically out run them; more options will come to him at that moment as long as he has the presence of mind to identify them and the ability to follow through. To assess the situation and to choose the best course of action and avoid conflict is the best form of self defense.
Patrick would have the confidence and awareness to be able to deal with people.
Kids are sometimes harsh when you’re a bit different. Knowing when to say no, stand-by and back-it will gain the respect of your peers and possibly become actual friends with them.
Identifying and reading situations can help you deal and communicate better with other people on a daily basis. The bullying banter can then become terms of endearment, genuine bonds are possibly formed.
What regular classes of Karate can do for your child is to give him or her the discipline, confidence and ability to identify options not just in a quarrel, an actual fight, or a self-defense situation, but also in everyday interactions and life in general. Karate is not just a means for self-defense or a martial art to beat-up bad guys but it is a way of life.
Also, kids think it’s cool! A child who adapts such a way of life will have the confidence and ability to walk this world with no fear of being beaten-up, bullied, or taken advantage of will be a happy child.
Sempai Mario Sebastian
About Sempai Mario Sebastian
Sempai, Assistant Instructor