Character Chats

Fighting Fairly

Fighting fairly.

Here at True Balance Karate in Downers Grove, Illinois, we have a social emotional learning program called True Character. I’m Master H, Owner and Chief Instructor here at the studio. I have two Master’s degrees in education and we’ve developed this curriculum to meet the needs of our youngest students who are three or four, and our oldest student who is 85.

Today, we are talking about fighting fairly. We started off talking about fairness and defining it. What is fair? How does that look? Last week, we talked about playing games and what does it mean to be fair that way, taking turns and sharing and not cheating and that kind of thing. Today, we’re talking about when we have disagreements, because we will have disagreements. Yes, when you have two people together with two different opinions, there will be disagreements. But we can disagree fairly. We can argue fairly. We can share those opinions, no matter how passionate they may be, fairly.

It involves listening, which may involve repeating back what you just heard from the person. It involves stopping and thinking before you say what it is that you want to say, because when we’re fighting fairly, we don’t want to use hurtful words. We don’t want to just react with our words. We want to make sure that we’re choosing them to describe our opinion, so that it is understood. That will require thought and some moments of breathing before we just start shouting. Fighting fairly does not involve name-calling, no, because that would be taking the arguments or the disagreement in an entirely different direction.

When we are talking about disagreements, because we will have them, we want to make sure that we are doing a whole lot of respect to each other, showing a whole lot of openness and sharing of that opinion. It’s just like when we’re playing a game. It’s just like when we are taking turns. Having those disagreements, fighting fairly, involves those same ideas and those same concepts. I’ve watched it with my own two kids when they’ve gotten into a disagreement or something like that. One will say something and the other, you can just see it on their face, has that I have been hurt and mortally wounded face.

We talk about, what were they trying to say? What should they have used in a different way? We model that same behavior to our younger kids, so that they understand disagreements and conflicts and how to have them in a healthy way, but then how to resolve them as well. Apologies, compromise, whatever that solution looks like for that particular situation. That is what happens when you’re fighting fairly. You want to have that resolution. Even if it’s an agree to disagree moment, you can at least walk away going, “We are still friends. We are still getting along. We have a difference of opinion. However, we can still go and hang out together.”

For our younger kids, their disagreements are like, one wants to play Legos and the other wants to play dinosaurs and they both really want to do that. As adults then, we step in and we show them how to compromise. For our adults, well, just look at the community landscape, stuff online. You can see all of the different disagreements that occur over that, over social media or on the news or those kinds of things, at which point, we have to make sure that we are remembering how to fight fairly. Not name-calling, showing respect, making sure that we think before we speak, we think before we type, we think before we interact because hurtful words can’t be taken back.

No matter how many apologies you make, it’s still out there and somebody has still heard it and somebody’s still been hurt by it. So, if we’re fighting fairly, we’re remembering that our words have an impact. As we go forward and we finish up fairness, just keep in mind that you do have an impact on this world and you can definitely make sure that everyone gets what they need. It just takes a little bit of fairness on your part.

Thanks, and I’ll see you on the mat!


True Balance Karate was founded in 2012 by Master Sue and Paul Helsdon.

We offer kids karate lessons for pre-school children ages 3-6 and elementary age kids ages 7 and up. These lessons are designed to develop the critical building blocks kids need — specialized for their age group — for school excellence and later success in life.

Our adult martial arts training is a complete adult fitness and conditioning program for adults who want to lose weight, get (and stay) in shape, or learn self-defense in a supportive environment.

Instructors can answer questions or be contacted 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week at 630-663-2000. You can also contact us here. True Balance Karate is at 406 Ogden Ave Downers Grove Illinois, 60515 (next to CVS) Check out our Facebook!