Matthew and Nathan

Matthew and Nathan

Matthew, age 9: From Trouble with Learning and Focusing to Becoming the Student of the Month and an Assistant Leader

Nathan, age 6: From trouble even standing still and listening to becoming a very focused and motivated little boy.

My story of how P.S. Academy training changed my boys lives.

August 20, 2011

My name is Leanne Peters.  I have two sons at P.S. Academy- Matthew who is 9 and Nathan who is 6.  They started Taekwondo last September when we moved here from Texas because Nathan, my younger son, wanted to try it and I found the class through the Naperville park district.   I decided to let both boys try it since it was convenient to have both boys in the same class and Matthew wanted something to do also.

Both boys enjoyed the class from the beginning.  They especially like getting the uniform, punching, kicking, and being encouraged to use a loud voice, but I was surprised by how excited my kids got after breaking their first board.  It really inspired them to want to do more with Taekwondo.  We went to a the board breaking seminar and for the first time saw different poomsae’s being performed,  black belts breaking boards, which was truly remarkable, and then all the kids were given instruction and a chance to do it on their own which they all did successfully!  It was a very fun day and they were so excited and proud of themselves when they accomplished the break.  Since then there has been no stopping them!

For Nathan, the biggest change in him has been an improvement in discipline and focus.  When Nathan started at P.S. Academy he could not stand still and he liked to goof around to try to make people laugh.  He still does, but he has learned through practice that he can absolutely stand still and that part of being respectful to others is listening and not being goofy all the time.  He has come a long way in the last year and his goal now is to be a 9th degree blackbelt like Grandmaster.   And since it is his own goal, it is nice as a mom, to be able to say “Is that how a blackbelt would behave?” and get a change in behavior!  

The greatest change I’ve seen has been with Matthew.  Matthew has always been a good kid.  He has dyslexia which requires him to work twice as hard as everyone else to read and produces much frustration for him.  It also makes it difficult to know left from right quickly.   Learning his first poomsae was a challenge for Matthew because the movements were new, remembering which way to turn was hard, and the memorizing the sequence was difficult for him, but Matthew was given lots of encouragement during class which kept him wanting to work hard at it.   Grandmaster and Ms. Hyong both took the time to talk to Matthew and myself to figured out what methods would work best for Matthew to learn, which for him happened to be standing directly behind and following exactly, and then made sure all the instructors knew how best to help him.   The longer he has been at P.S. Academy the more I think he has grown in confidence and focus.   He was nominated Student of the Month in May and was very proud to have that honor.  He enjoys being a role model for the newer students and this shows by his actions in class especially how he can focus, be respectful, and that he is confident in himself.  He joined Black Belt Club a few months ago which has really focused Matthew on his goals and how to achieve them.   Each week there is a focus that helps the kids learn about setting goals, reaching goals, and believing that they can achieve their goals.  It gives them a chance to learn and has been extremely beneficial for Matthew by setting the stage for helping him learn to set his own goals.  One of my proudest moments was when Matthew came to me at the end of 2nd grade with a book report (like he had each quarter) and on his own had broken it down into parts that he was going to work on each day so that he would be done on time and would have time to practice it before it was due.  He stuck to his schedule and got 49/50 points!  I was so proud of him.

It is amazing after a year to see how all the little pieces of movements, goals, and confidence have built on each other and have resulted in a much more confident person.     

The instructors at P.S. Academy were always so nice, patient, and helpful.   They always take time to tell the boys what they were doing that was good each time in class and all that wonderful positive reinforcement really built their self confidence.  I love that both instructors and the students regularly tell each other “You’re Awesome” when they do something correctly.  It’s an environment that teaches kids to be their best and to build each other up.  You can see that Grandmaster, Ms. Hyong, and everyone at P.S. Academy really cares about the kids and helping them succeed both in Taekwondo and in their daily life.  

Leanne M. Peters