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Connor Seely Testimonial

(written by Lisa Seely, mom)

We found Silent mind by going to a talk at the Kent Library that involved a Shaolin Monk. My son was 4 at the time and was mesmerized by him.  He began pretending he was a Kung Fu master and wanted to move to China and become a monk.  He even started eating Chinese food at this time.  However, we had already signed a contract for Tae Kwon Do and were becoming very involved in that discipline.  Connor studied Taekwondo for 4 1/4 years and became a 2nd degree black belt (2 poomse).

We spent 4 to 5 days a week at our previous school.  When we first joined it was all about the discipline and the martial art.  After we started getting involved in competitions and demo team, we began to become disillusioned with it due to the lack of support as a team and my kids getting beat up because there were no coaches to support them.  For example, Connor got kicked in the head at the age of 6 because they matched him up with an 8 year old who was allowed head shots.  Something a coach should have stopped.

Also it became about the money and passing kids through the belts when they were obviously not prepared.  As with all competitive sports, parents got way too involved and badmouthed each other so that the kids became overly competitive towards each other when they should have been friends and a team.  My older kids, now hate it and refuse to continue to train and learn.  They became bored because there was not much new skills taught besides a new form and they only wanted to go to demo team.  And the worst part for my older son is that after 4 1/2 years, he could not stop a sucker punch from a bully on the playground.  A gold medalist in competitive sparring and he could not translate the competition to real life.

The training at Silent Mind is more about real life situations.  How to read your attacker and try to defend yourself.  It is not about just kicking the chest or the head, but moving so that you can read someone who fights dirty or with a weapon.  All the forms he learned previously were just by rote.  Here at the Silent mind, Connor learns how to apply the forms.  The training encourages learning about confidence and respect of yourself and others.  It is practiced by Sensei Tim and the other teachers and shows through to their students.   The kids are all friends and encourage each other.  The first day Connor tried a class, the other students were very welcoming and told Connor “good job” with a new skill.  Instead of taking out his knee because he was winning the practice sparring match (yes this really happened, not referring to the Karate kid movie), the kids at Silent Mind support each other and build each other up.

I never hear bad talking between the parents or the students.  Connor sometimes is tired and doesn’t feel like going after a long day of school.  He even falls asleep on the way, but once he gets there, he perks up and smiles with his friends.   Connor really enjoys the weapons training and learning the forms.   He is finally learning the Kung Fu stances he saw when he was 4 years old.

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