Ok, it’s not quite that bad.
Monday nights are one of two nights when the local SCA gang get together for a little heavy weapons practice (which superficially looks a lot like putting on armor and hitting each other with sticks).
It’s not quite like that, because, see, it’s a ton of fun. And you get to put on armor and hit each other with sticks! (I’d post some pictures of me fighting, but I’m usually in armor and trying not to get hit with a stick. Padded gloves are a little cumbersome for trying to take a selfie.)
Of late, I’ve been bringing the boy with me. They do have youth fighting for the young ‘uns. You’re not allowed to hit hard. It’s touch only. But kids still can get all armored up, grab a sword and a shield and go for it. Why didn’t they have this stuff when I was a kid?
I started taking the boy because he seemed interested whenever I’d pull out my sword (any of my swords, SCA or not). Our youth marshal and other fighters all agreed that this sort of physical activity is good for kids in general, and particularly good for kids with ADHD or on the autism spectrum (both of which my son deals with). Martial arts are often recommended, but, to be honest, taking the boy to karate practice would mean that I’d also have to go. I don’t really have time for that.
But, I’m already participating in the SCA. Why not bring the boy along?
It’s more than just fighting, of course. It’s socializing too – which is a BIG deal for people on the spectrum. So the boy gets to hang out with other kids, surrounded by adults that I trust to watch him. He’s got armor on, so he’s safe if he a little out of control. And everyone else is armored up too, so they’re safe.
And, there is the fighting aspect. He has to learn control. He wants to just wail on the other kids, but the rules are touch only. Ooh. Restraint. That’s something new for him, and a great challenge. Later, as he gets older and learns more control over his impulsiveness, he can start hitting hard, but not until he can control himself.
And while all this is going on, he’s surrounded by adults who I trust to watch over him and in a safe circumstance where he can hit and no one gets hurt.
Plus, he enjoys it enough that it’s a powerful motivator to get him to do the things that he’s most resistant to, like writing sentences, or doing any part of his homework for that matter.
And, perhaps the best part is that it’s totally boy and Mommy bonding time. My husband is not really interested in the SCA or sword fighting. This is definitely just me and my son.
Anyway, we had some fun last night. The boy blew off some steam. I was a little under the weather, so I just took photos while he played. He did really well. He enjoyed himself. And I enjoyed myself too.