When you were eight years old, had you been doing any one thing for five years? Well, Sam Seylar, is among a small group of eight years old that can say, “I’ve been doing KARATE FOR KIDS for five years!”
Fred and Kelly Seylar, Sam’s parents, were keenly watching him grow when they decided to enroll him at BABIN’S KARATE FOR KIDS. “He started the terrible 2’s at age 3”, Kelly commented. And Fred and Kelly had been thinking of using karate to help him control his behavior so when Sam turned 3, they enrolled him.
Fred and Kelly quickly learned how to use the TINY TIGER weekly homework sheet, the Babin Bucks, and the patch / star reward system. “That homework sheet immediately nipped his behavior. I simply told Sam that if he did not listen, he would have to stay after class and talk to Senior Master Babin. Well, he was petrified and humiliated to do that and his behavior changed quickly.” Although Senior Master Babin’s bark is worse than his bite, Sam didn’t want Senior Master to know that he was misbehaving at home and quickly learned to meet his parents’ expectations. He earned all his TINY TIGER patches and his KARATE KID ones, all the way up to black belt.
Like all successful KARATE FOR KIDS families, the Seylars have attended lots of tournaments. As a TINY TIGER, Sam earned many trophies and hegained confidence and self-esteem. “His friends would come over, see his trophies, and say ‘Wow, you’re in karate!’ That made him feel proud and good.” Mom said. He gained coordination, too, and even rode his two-wheel bike with no training wheels at age 4. “We often brought our friends to watch competitions, and they were always amazed at how these young children sat still ‘like a master.’”
But tournaments have also been a big motivator for Sam: “We never left the event after the TINY TIGER competition. Sam always has to stay to watch his idols compete throughout the day, people like Donald Garcia, John Meyer, Zac Birdwell, and Nick Babin. He was always inspired after watching male black belts that were older than he was. It has given him people to look up to and goals to strive for.”
And Sam has learned from tournaments that he is not always “the best.” Kelly says “He has learned to accept evaluation by the judges and to commit to work harder in order to do better.” And because Sam is an only child and does not have any brothers to wrestle with, “the personal self defense he has learned both in class and at tournaments has really been beneficial to him”, Mom said.
Experts agree that children thrive within structure; kids need boundaries. The Seylars have learned how to use the structure of KARATE FOR KIDS to help with school work as well: “When we started KARATE FOR KIDS, we set the goal to become a black belt. It has not been easy. So when Sam has a difficult assignment to deal with at school—like reading 10 books in a month–we just ask him to break the goal into smaller parts, just like we do in karate. Sam likes to achieve, so he relates to this structure well.”
Sam is very confident, very social, and has lots of friends. Mom and Dad have helped him organize his life by creating blocks of time for karate, school work, and free time with friends. This approach helps Sam reach goals, develop self discipline, and have fun!
Mom says, “I always tell people to get started now. What an accomplishment to say Sam is eight years old and has earned a black belt. I tell parents to stick with it; as a parent you will be so proud!”