Discipline, Parenthood, and Martial Arts


We homeschool our children, and have recently enrolled them in the School of Tomorrow program here in the Philippines. But apart from that program my wife and I endeavor to teach them something that we may need to relearn ourselves: discipline. Right off the bat, I can say that my self-discipline is not so good. 

My habits still control me and I’m still fighting them.

In life, and as a parent for eleven years now, I’ve learned something really striking and stark. You cannot teach what you do not practice yourself. Every time I light up a cigarette, this thought wafts through my subconscious like the smoke that they produce. It nags me to think about their future and what I’m doing to affect that at that very moment. In essence, I am violating the very rules that I have created for my household. And I feel bad because of it.

But nevertheless, I focus on the objective of instilling discipline on my children and try to push on while I battle with my own demons. The very basic tenet that I’ve started is waking everybody up before 5:00 am and having the kids do exercises until 5:30 am. So far, this regimen has been moderately successful with some minor lapses.

I want to do more and I want my kids, even though they’re mostly girls, to have the discipline of soldiers. So I’m also teaching them basic Arnis, a Filipino martial art that involves two sticks. I have some faint memories of the things that I’ve learned in Physical Education classes in high school. But most of the things that I teach them now, I’ve also re-learned via YouTube.

I no longer browse for entertainment and amusing things on YouTube. Rather, I spend my time sifting through the good videos and downloading them as a material for our lessons. I also recognize that I am not really qualified to teach Arnis or any other martial arts so I’m looking into hiring a real martial arts instructor which could also offer his services to anyone interested.

Why Arnis or Martial Arts? 

For me, it’s about the “Tao” or “the Way”. Different cultures, have different ways of life and I want my kids to learn, know and respect that. Every society, race and family has their own distinct way of bringing up their children and sometimes I just fantasize and marvel at the way that the Kung Fu masters bring up their own in the temples of Wudang.  Arnis is a distinctly Filipino martial art so that’s where I started in teaching them. I mix it with Protestant Christian values for them to know the value of faith and compassion together with courage, integrity and honor. That is what I want them to learn and never forget once I return to the soil.

P.S. I am currently searching for Arnis or Martial Arts instructors who would be willing to travel here to Lipa City and teach on a weekend basis. We could negotiate the pricing and the scheme. Thanks.


Creative Commons Image via Flickr


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