Sunday, March 13, 2016

Karate for Kids

Karate has many benefits for children.  Focus, discipline, self-discipline, balance, coordination.....I could go on and on about why children should learn karate.

I want to share this video of this little girl from Japan who is a national champion and as you can see has many attributes that she has gained from training in Karate.

Karate is not entirely about punching or kicking, or fighting.  Karate is about equipping a person with the tools to face themselves, to rise to the challenges, to gain the confidence to live life fully and a bonus of this training is self-defense both mentally and physically.

It has been proven time and again, that when a person (children included) has confidence, they are less likely to be victims of bullying or attacks.  Why?  Because they have been equipped with the tools to handle situations that might come to visit in their lives.

When a child is equipped with the physical tools of self-protection, chances are they will never have to use it.  People sense self-confidence in others.  The way your child walks, talks and carries themselves tell potential bullies if they are a victim or not. Bullies look for easy targets.  "A master reveals it in his every action."

Ok, now you know there are many benefits for learning martial arts as a child.  So now, what?

If you have decided to enroll your child in a martial arts program, you must first look at the instructor. Make sure the instructor is a legitimate teacher, with verifiable certifications.  What is the teacher's lineage for teaching the martial arts?  Who did they learn from?   Go visit the school, both the kids classes and the adults.  Pay special attention to the attitudes of the instructors and students.  The student's attitudes will reflect the teacher's attitude if they have spent some time training at the school.  If you have seen the original movie The Karate Kid, remember the Cobra-Kai students and the way they acted?  It was a direct reflection of the teacher's attitude.  The teacher was a bully and then so the students became bullies also.

Make sure the instructor is of good reputation and good character.  This is of utmost importance!  A martial arts instructor will have an influence on your child, and you don't want that influence to be a negative one.  Check the instructor's background and make sure they are not criminals or sexual predators.  Talk to other parents from the school, and hear what they have to say.  There is a martial arts saying, "It does not matter what the style is as long as you have a good teacher."  I don't know who said it but there is a lot of truth to the quote.  I hope you understand me on this point of finding a good teacher, I can not emphasize it enough.

Remember if you have questions or would  like to discuss martial arts/ self-defense related topics, email me at and I will help you with that.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The True Battle

The True Battle

    It has been said that the difference between successful people and unsuccessful people are that the successful people are willing to do what the unsuccessful people are not.

Many people have battles in their lives.  You might think that your battles are against other people who would do you harm, or people who try to take advantage of you. I believe the "True" battle is within yourself.

If you think about it, honestly think about it, you will know I am right.  We sabotage ourselves, we fail to reach our goals, we become complacent in our lives. Why?  Because we are our own worst enemies.

So what is your battle?  Obesity? Self-doubt? Fear of being attacked? Whatever your obstacle is in your life, you can overcome it.  It is not always an easy battle to win, and you might have to go to great lengths to overcome the obstacle, but it CAN be done!

So where do you start?  What can you do today to overcome your battles?

1. Decide.  Make the decision that you want to overcome the challenge.  A decision is a powerful thing.  According to results coach, Anthony Robbins, change can happen in an instant once a decision is made.  Note the word decision comes from the Latin root meaning "Cutting off".  So when you make a decision you "cut off" all other options or possibilities.  How powerful is that?  It is like drawing a line in your mind that you will never cross again.

2. Get clear on what it is that you absolutely desire.  This is an important point.  The clearer you are on your goal and what it is that you desire, the more your brain engages and helps produce the results you are seeking.  Use your power of visualization.  See what it is you want to achieve....close your eyes and actually visualize it, and see yourself succeeding at it.

Let's use an example that happened to me.  When I was 15, my Sensei (Japanese word used for martial arts teachers) had us participate in a martial arts demonstration at a local mall.  I was not the kind of kid to get up in front of crowds, it terrified me.  On this particular day, Sensei wanted me to break a brick in front of the crowd.  He told me exactly how he wanted me to do it.  He told me to use a 'floating palm heal'.  My heart dropped and I became frightened.  I had broken boards before, but not bricks.  Plus, I used hard strikes to break them, but to break a brick with a floating palm heal, a technique which is considered a soft strike, seemed absolutely impossible.

I went to Sensei and told him I didn't think I could do it.  He told me to meditate on the brick, to see my hand floating up in the air, and my palm floating down, not only striking the brick but going all the way through the brick because the target was actually the floor beneath the brick.  He also said to breathe.

It was my turn to go up on stage, and the brick was there waiting for me.  I put my hand on the brick. It was cold and hard.  I closed my eyes and visualized my target, the floor beneath the brick.  My palm became very warm, and in my mind, it was turning red hot.  My hand floated up to just above my head and then floated down swiftly, smashing all the way through the brick.

The crowd roared with applause.  My Sensei smiled, put his hand on my shoulder and said "See?  I told you - you could do it."  That power of visualization helped me achieve many things in life, and I am quite sure if you look back in your life, you probably can remember visualizing something you completed with success.

3. Take action immediately.  Define what actions you can take immediately to put yourself on an active path toward your goal.  Don't put it off, not even for a second.  Take action right away.  It will force you to focus and will create the desire for lasting change.  If you procrastinate on taking action, the decision to do so will itself be an obstacle that you will most likely put off indefinitely.

The decision to overcome an obstacle in your life is not an easy one.  Diamonds are not formed without some type of outside pressure.  The same is true for you.  The best "you" is inside and is waiting to emerge.  You must face challenges in your life that will help bring out the "best" part of "you" that is created when you achieve your goal.

So what are you going to do?  Are you going to surrender?  Surrender to your old habits, old ways of doing things?  Or will you go to battle... the true battle of defeating that voice inside of self-doubt, fear, or insecurity? Much like my Sensei once told me, I'm telling you, YOU CAN DO THIS!

Keep after  your dreams. You can always contact me at with comments or questions, or if you want to join my email list for updates on future blogs or offers.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Cool Kids Make the Difference

I wanted to share an article with you from the January Issue of Security Magazine.  The article describes how a study was conducted over the 2012-2013 school year, at 56 New Jersey middle schools. Researchers mapped out the social network of the school, to determine the top "cool kids" in that school.

The "Cool Kids" were provided training in anti-bullying and social media along with resources to help spread the message of anti-bullying.  According to the article, the schools saw about a 30% reduction in reports of student conflicts.

This may be a fantastic solution to help reduce the bullying problems that we see in our nations schools and on social media.  Instead of doing generalized, "blanket" education or propaganda, target specific students that are influential in the school and have them help spread the message of anti-bullying.

We, parents and teachers, already know that peer influence is the highest form of influence that exits, and according to this research we should be utilizing this to our advantage.

Here is the link to the article: Study Says Cool Kids Can Curb Bullying

Here is the link to the study: Changing climates of conflict: A social network experiment in 56 schools

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Art of Breathing

Inhale 1...2...3...4...5, hold 1...2...3...4...5, exhale 1...2...3...4...5, then repeat over and over.  This is a beginning level of breathing.

This type of breathing will cause relaxation.  It can cause a calming sensation to come over you as well.  In the martial arts breathing is used in different ways for different results.  Exhaling forcefully when you block or throw a punch or kick or breathing a certain way during a kata (martial arts forms) can strengthen and harden the body.

In this video you will see Mr. Miyagi teaching Daniel the "basics of life"....Breathing.  What you are seeing is an easy technique (that anybody can do) of body, breath and mind coordination.

Try this now.  Inhale your breath deeply as you can as you pull your hands in to your body, and as you exhale slowly your hands go out away from your body. (special note* breath using your diaphragm.  When you inhale you should see your belly extend out, and when you exhale you should see your belly fall.)

Try this for about 2 minutes and work your way up to about 5 minutes.  Don't force anything let it be natural movements and breathing.  If you can't get it right away, that ok...just try again.

In another post I will elaborate on other types of breathing, such as breathing to strengthen or harden your body.

If you have any questions or comments feel free to contact me.  You can send an email or join my email list for future updates, newsletters or resources.