Sifu Adam Volpe

Parent’s Column

When I speak to people who don’t train in Kung Fu, I often get asked “You must get hurt a lot” or “I don’t think my child would like all of the fighting, he’d get hurt”.

I often see a student show up to class with an arm wrapped in a bandage or limping on one foot. My first reaction of course is to ask what happened, but I don’t assume it happened in Kung Fu class. Most of the time the injuries occurred at home, at the park or while a student was playing another organized activity outside of the Waterloo Kung Fu Academy. The student’s response is typically, “Oh, this happened playing soccer” or “I tripped walking up my stairs.”

You might think most injuries would come from sparring or doing self-defense in Kung Fu but in fact very few injuries occur in these activities. Statistically, martial arts have way fewer injuries than hockey, basketball, football, soccer, gymnastics or any of the physical activities students participate in.

If I had to guess, I would say the reason we don’t have a lot of injuries in Kung Fu can be summed up in one word: Mindfulness!

In Kung Fu, we train our students a lot about body awareness; paying attention to how their bodies move, their breath and their thoughts. When you’re really mindful and aware of your movements and actions, you tend not to over-strain your body, have control of your movements in sparring and you can catch yourself before getting hit or falling in Kung Fu.

Additionally, unlike many sports, we wear protective gear when sparring in classes. When we do see someone getting hurt in class, it’s usually limited to bumps and bruises that are minor and will heal in a very short time, not injuries that require a visit to the emergency, doctor or other more involved medical attention.

Bumps, bruises and injuries are part of the human experience, and we all get them now and then. Fortunately, in Kung Fu, they’re usually just a temporary nuisance, and we heal up and move on quite quickly. We also hope that students see it as an opportunity to learn from that experience and not simply put it behind them or get upset about it. But honestly, I can’t help it: when I see a student with a new injury from their latest hockey game, soccer match or from rollerblading, I always grin a bit and give the same advice: Stick with martial arts – it’s much safer.

A Few Rules for Parents and Students

With renovations complete here are a few guidelines to keep our Academy safe, clean and functional:

  • While wearing wet/snowy footwear, please stay on the lobby floor mats.
  • Non-students are welcome upstairs or can wait on the grey flooring (no wet boots) in the lobby, which is designed for safety and durability. The laminate under the gateway is reserved for students.
  • There is new a monitor in the viewing room upstairs. Please observe classes from inside the waiting room to keep the top of the stairway safe and clear and the class free from any distractions. Please do not stand at the railing at the top of the stairs.
  • Garbage, recycling and lost and found bins are in the main lobby.