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Origin Story of Close Quarter Dad

Jan 28, 2021


The reason for creating close quarter parenting is, back in 2006 I began to recognize something that was pretty unique, and I don't know if I would have ever realized this if I wasn't in the unique situation I was in as a martial arts instructor and as a father.

As a teacher here, and the owner of my martial arts school, I started to work with and engage with obviously a lot of kids and had a lot of kids in my dojo.

The majority of my students are adults, but I had a lot of children here and we were able to build the school up to about 200 children and it's a lot of kids, so I'm engaging with a lot of parents.

What I started to realize after a while is the majority of the parents were moms and at first, for the first few years, I just sort of took it as a soccer mom thing that dads were at work and moms were at home and after school the moms took the kids to karate lessons.

Then I started to notice something a little bit deeper as being a dad myself, is that the father's, a few dads were coming in and those dads that came in were highly engaged with me.

Then there are other dads who I never even engaged with at all. I couldn't pick them out of a lineup and some of these kids had been with me as a student for years, had gone all the ways to their junior black belt level.

And then there were other dads who would sit out in the car and there were, I can even remember a number of them who wouldn't actually stepped their feet into the dojo, but would open the door, stick their head in the door and say, "Come on, are you ready? Let's go."

But with me standing right next to their kid would not even, you know, look at me and say hi or anything like that. So in 2006 with my program manager, I decided to do a little study.

I wanted to find out, with these engage dads that I was that would come in and they would stay, they would sit there at the edge of the mat, they'd watch class, they'd be really involved.

Great dads.

What was the commonality that each one of them had?

What was it about what, like what am I not seeing?

And what I quickly determined was that the majority, not all, but the majority of these dads had some type of military law enforcement or first responder experience in their background and I thought that was pretty interesting.

They were either soldiers or sailors where they were cops or they were EMT's, but they had something like that in their background.

Then there was another group of dads that didn't, but they were a minority and I thought, wouldn't it be interesting to see what they had in common?

Now, this is a study that I did over about a year and a half where I had my program manager on our signup sheets on our call logs on our orientation forums, and we do the first class.

And we do an introductory thing. I would have dad or mom written, and then through their files we took all information and we added it up.

I found that the other dads, that minority, they were usually teachers or they were really involved in their church and they were church leaders of some type.

When I put the numbers together, I can't came up with one in 19 of the children at my dojo at that time, this is 2006 up to halfway, 2008 but one in 19 of the children I engaged with their dad, one in 19. The rest of them, I engaged with their mom or I engaged with grandma or something like that.

But one in 19 I had a direct engagement with the dad. Now I didn't do a full blown study and I don't really have the research to back this up.

What my observation was, was that when I would do a personal protection course for kids were getting ready for school in August, I'd do these programs for the children, and it would be the same dads that would come.

It would be those same dads that were highly engaged, that worked in teams in their career that had been exposed to trauma, that had been exposed to children as victims, that when, I mean they work in teams, I mean they depended on other guys in their team to assist them, to stand on their shoulders. Right?

Or they had been involved in communities. And I thought that was really interesting. 

What I took away from that, and what I am seeing now is that a lot of the fathers didn't like the fact that something that they should be doing with their children and they somehow didn't feel equipped or capable of doing, which is providing their children with having what it takes when it counts in their life.

They felt as though that had to be outsourced to another man.

I know some of you are like "Adam, come on really?"

But when a mother would come home and say, "oh, I took Jimmy, I met this great guy, Sensei Adam, his dojo is amazing. And we watched a little bit of his adult class and Joey didn't want to leave Sensei. Adam showed them, you know the Japanese Samurai armor and Joey wants to go to the Dojo on Monday. He loves this guy. This is good."

How do you think the dad felt? The Dad felt inadequate.

The Dad fell as though I'm not equipped for this.

Of course there's going to be some jealousy there.

I'm not saying they were jealous of me, but I'm saying that this is a condition that men and fathers have.

This is why I realized that, you know what? I need to be able to create a program.

I need to create a system and a community of men, of parents, of dads who are enabled and equipped with the information so that they can be the trainers, they can be the teachers, and they can be the models of power in their life for their children rather than having to outsource it.

Now, I know that sounds a little heavy. I know that sounds like, no come on, man, you're going a little too far with this, but I'm not.

Because I know at a very fundamental, natural level that a lot of men are uncomfortable with another man teaching their children how to stick up for themself, teaching their children how to have discipline, teaching their children how to survive.

Because this is an innate human thing that we as men, and we as dads have to be able to provide our children.

I'm hoping that the information in the community and the brotherhood that we're going to have in this program is going to deliver that for you and help you with that, because that's truly what I want.