Stranger danger is a phrase I am sure we have all heard by now. We teach our kids not to talk to strangers. But who is a stranger? I tell my students that a stranger is someone that mom and dad don't know. That is simple. The parents can then take that lesson home with them and talk about people they know and who it is ok for their child to talk to. Safety is another topic we incorporate into this lesson. What happens if you get separated from mom or dad when you go out somewhere? We just told our students not to talk to strangers! So we give them a list of a few good strangers they can talk to that can help them. The 1st scenario I always go over is what if you get separated from mom or dad in a store: wal mart, target, or even at the movies. We teach our students to go to the person behind the cash register. That person definitely works there and they can assist you in finding mom and dad. This is just part of all the safety and stranger awareness lessons we go over during our classes.
Its is back to school time. It is an adjustment and it can be tough sometimes. That is why we are here to help. In each of our classes we always talk about a mental part of our training. Focus, self control, self discipline, concentration..... The list goes on. The important part is that we have to talk about how we use this at home and school as well. That is where we want to hear the students are using these skills. They are obviously going to use them in class with us, that is our job :) But furthermore our job is to encourage the same behavior at home and school. So mom and dad are working with their kids at home to stay focused and use self discipline, in school their teacher is helping them stay focused and... Lets be honest if I tried to list everything the teachers are helping the students with, this would be the longest blog ever so you can just insert your thought here haha. And here at karate we are encouraging the same behavior. As a team we are making sure these children are going to be the best they can be.
If you are like me you probably search for something that you and your family can do together. I would like for you to think about martial arts. Moo Sa karate has its classes structured for family classes. This means it is broken up by rank and everyone over the age of 8 trains together. There are some pluses and minuses with this way. But what I love to see is moms and dads training right along side with their children. When I give a lesson about self discipline or perseverance the children know mom or dad is right there hearing the same thing, and it kind of makes the kids almost have to use it at home. They are held accountable because they know mom and dad heard me telling them to use this at home. On the other side of that just because you are an "adult" doesn't mean you are perfect. We can still use coaches and sometimes it is nice to be reminded that even tho you are tired you can still get done what you need to get done. As adults it is good to have that reassurance that you can get past whatever problems you are having. You are a martial artist, you will persevere, don't give up. Who wouldn't love to hear that every day. On top of all this parents and their kids are learning the same blocks, punches and kicks. So at anytime dad could go practice some self defense with his kids, or mom could practice some forms with the kids. There is something you share now. I truly believe "The family that kicks together, sticks together."
I am very excited to announce that the beach workout is set for Sunday September 9th. It will be in Ocean City New Jersey on the beach at 5th street. All students are invited. This is an awesome opportunity to train with some of the best martial artists around. Master Coleman sets this event up every year and it is always a blast. Master Z will also be there with his students. This is a great time of year to do it because it is not to hot. The boardwalk is just a couple hundred feet away. Each year after the training we relax on the beach and then go to the boardwalk.
All students should wear the moo sa summer training t-shirt, black shorts, and the karate belt. The shorts should pretty much be black. If there are designs or something thats fine. We just want everyone to look as uniform as possible. You can purchase the Tae Kwon Do Shorts that master quillen is so fond of if you would like. They are only $17.
Leaders are very important. They guide others around them not just by authority or words but by their actions. In our classes we are developing leaders and they might not even know they are becoming a leader. We teach our students that they don't decide to be a leader its the people around you that decide to follow you or allow you to influence them. My students might not always know that by answering really loud in class or fighting to keep their stances down in class might be seen by the other students and encourage them to do the same. For example maybe a student is having a hard time learning a new form and they see another student practicing the same form and doing it over and over and over again to try and get it right. This simple action might encourage the student having trouble to get up and start practicing also. Of course this is not a guarantee. But I think we can all agree if everyone came in before class and just sat down then no one would be motivated to get up and practice. Just remember you might be a leader and not even know it.
Confidence is made stronger by experience, The more times you do something the more confidence you have with it. First lets define confidence. Confidence is believing in yourself and having an I can attitude. How do you gain this belief in yourself? You have to do a task again and again and again. Each time you do you gain more confidence. You are more sure of your ability. The same is true with mental tasks as well. The more times you answer a question or see information the more sure you are that you know the answer. The tricky thing with building confidence is taking the first step. Take breaking boards for example. I know when students are able to break a board. I just have to get them to believe it. They will hold back on the kick because they are afraid to hurt themselves. But once they get over that fear they are golden. We start by using plastic re-breakable boards with foam on them to get the students used to it. Then we advance to the real ones. Once they gain confidence with the easy board we give them one that is just a little more challenging. That small step seems very achievable to them. This is just one way to help build out students confidence.
Self Discipline is a topic we have been talking about recently. Self discipline is doing what you need to do without being told. This is something we use in class all the time. We talk about the ways we use this in class, but more importantly we talk about ways we use this at home. There are a few very simple ways our students can use self discipline at home that would help their parents a lot. One thing we help remind the students to do is put their shoes away at home. Another simple thing is to make sure you throw your trash away and when your done eating put you plate in the sink, or whatever your mom and dad tell you to do with it. Maybe you put it in the dishwasher or if you are using a paper plate you would throw it out. Every family is different but there is always protocol. One other way I have mentioned in class is to CLOSE DOORS BEHIND YOU AND TURN OFF LIGHTS WHEN YOU DONE. I don't think I am the only parent who has to deal with that hahaha. But my job is to try and back up the parents by reinforcing these habits here in class.
An awesome speaker I recently discovered is a man by the name of Eric Thomas. I life a lot of his stories and motivational material. His story about the lion and the gazelle is fantastic. I have a video below for you to watch because I can not even do it justice with just typing. You have to hear it from him. These are the kind of lesson we teach our students at the moo sa black belt academy.
Recently we have been talking about having a "I Can Attitude". This is a important lesson our students learn during their training. We try to help students understand that they are capable of amazing things in life. It might not be easy at first. But nothing is easy at first. One very common thing that happens is I will be working with a student on trying to kick higher and ill say kick this target. They reply with I cant kick that high. So I help them stretch a little and get them super focused and they kick the pad. A few moments ago they thought they couldn't, but now they believe they can. So if they can keep that attitude in life they will be set for life.