The Case for Kindness….

Imeboysn the Immortal words of Patrick Swayze from the classic film Road House (ok maybe classic is a stretch) “Be Nice…Until it’s time Not to be nice.”
Great advice, but it begs the question. When is it time not to be nice? When exactly is enough…enough? When do you have the Green Light not to be nice?
We see people making the decision to “not be nice” daily. Just think about the last time you were in traffic….especially when there is road construction going on, or a slow driver…..in the left lane. Or maybe in the drive thru when you have to do the dreaded “drive up and wait for your food”, even worse…..when your Netflix is being slow! Did you make the decision not to be nice one of those times?
Of course you did, we all do, and probably….most likely….more often than not…..it didn’t help at all. It probably didn’t make you feel any better, and it defintly didn’t make anyone else feel great either.
So the answer to when is it time “not to be nice” is……never. There is always a chance to smile, always time to breath and take a second to respond the right way, to push aside all those unhelpful things and to just be nice.
It doesn’t mean you can’t be honest, or genuine. Or that you have to be a door mat for people to walk all over.
It means that even when the answer is no, or when you have to relay bad news, or you are on the receiving end of some good old fashioned “ugliness” you can always be nice.
Kindness is the one commodity that increases the more its used. It is that secret ingredient that makes everything taste better. It is the invisible beauty product that gives your face and your personality just a little more glow. It is the medicine that heals in a way that is hard to see, but easy to feel. It is the gift that makes the giver and the receiver feel like they both got something priceless.
Not Convinced? Then I challenge you to take our 50 Day Kindness Challenge it is a simple program, its free, and if it doesn’t work we will triple refund you (did I mention its free). 
bookNeed More Help? Simply Download our free “50 Days” Book to get ideas and step by step instructions and challenges to reach 50 awesome acts of kindness.
 
What you will find is the power of simply being nice….to be nice, and you will feel the clam and peace that comes from letting go of all those “not to be nice” moments, and you might even help some one else do the same……
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3 Ways to Handle Criticism….

One thing that never seems to be in short supply is criticism. People always have an opinion of things you can do better, if you don’t believe me….just ask them!
In fact learning how to ask for advice, and what to do with that criticism can be one of the most beneficial, and most difficult things we can do to help us grow, develop, and succeed in Martial Arts and in Life.
Here are three quick strategies to help you figure out what advice to keep, what to sweep, and how to keep it all in perspective.
1) Choose the right voices: When accepting advice, always make sure to consider the source. For example if you want advice on how to be a better martial artist, you should probably ask someone who is good at martial arts. Always seek expert advice, it will save you time, effort, and decrease the amount of time it takes you to improve. One tiny piece of advice from an expert is worth more than a book from a novice.
2) Act on good Advice: When someone who know what they are talking about gives you some good advice the worst thing you can do is……Ignore It! Don’t worry if you have, we all have done it at some point or another, and more often than not it is not on purpose. That is why you will here your teachers say some things over and over again, some ideas an concepts take time to soak in, and our understanding of them will deepen and broaden with time. Do it now, understand it later, revisit it after that, and understand it a little better each time we do.
3) “Chew the Meat and Spit Out the Bones” In other words take what is useful and let the rest go. When you get criticism that is anything but constructive, or you get criticism that is just meant to hurt or bring you down…….simply discard it. More often than not the bad things people say about us, have nothing to do about us. In fact the more a person talks about you, the more we tend to learn about them and their perspective on life.
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To review: Criticism is a good and necessary part of success, just make sure you find the right voice, you act on it, and you let everything that isn’t useful, or is hurtful or harmful roll right of your back!
-Get up, Get Out, and Get Moving!
Joshua Page, Hickory Academy of Martial Arts

Just Jump…..Why You Should Start Martial Arts Now

“As soon as I get in shape…..When my schedule is not so busy…..when I have a little more money……as soon as I start my diet……when I get a little stronger.”

 

We have all heard these or said these before starting our martial arts training. They are the little things we tell ourselves and others about why we can’t train…..and they are all natural.

 The truth is we know deep down that we really want to train, but the thought of walking into an Academy just plain scares us.

 

The good news is…..you don’t have to be! Training in a good Academy will not be a scary experience, will not require you to be an Olympic athlete, and it not just affordable…..but you can’t afford not to do it!

 “AS SOON AS I GET IN SHAPE”………They only way to get in martial arts shape, is by doing martial arts. No other exercise can duplicate the movement and coordination you develop on the mat. More importantly it is one of the only forms of exercise that lets you develop at your own pace, that focuses on perfect technique, and smooth repetition.

 “When my Schedule is not so Busy”…….The truth is, our schedule is never going to slow down. Life has a way of piling up responsibilities, events, obligations. We have to make time for ourselves, to remember we have the power to create the lives we want to live. The great news is you can stay consistent, make phenomenal growth, and reach your goals by setting aside a few hours each week and sticking to it.

The Average Adult spends 3 Hours a day in screen time……..imagine just investing that much time on yourself over the course of a whole week. We create time for the things we value!

 “I Can’t Afford to Train.” The cost of training might seem expensive at first glance, but training at most Academies only costs between 3 to 5 Dollars a day. Less than the Starbucks you picked up this morning, or the First Run Movie Ticket you bought this weekend, less than a night out on the town…..and that is just the short term.  Consider the long term cost…..your insurance copay is probably more expensive than 3 to 6 Months of Training. Medication to treat preventable illness and injury, the cost of injuries that could be avoided by training, just the feeling and benefit of having a healthy body outweighs the cost of class. You literally cannot Afford to Train!

 Training at a Good Academy is like becoming a part of a Positive, Caring, Team. Where each person is dedicated not just to self improvement, but to helping you improve too! The atmosphere is positive, the classes are challenging and fun….and it is kind of place that you look forward to coming back to.

 Don’t wait………Jump. Jump into training, into a new life, a new year, and a journey that will last a Lifetime!

Ready to Jump, Find a Great Academy Here: http://www.carolinabjj.com

Make Someone Cry Today……

You should make at least one person cry today, in fact you should go out of  your way to make them cry. However you should not make them cry the easy way, through anger, fear, shame, or anything that makes someone feel like they are “less”.

Your aim today, your mission, your purpose is to affect at least one person in a way that brings them so much joy, peace, compassion, and love that their tears are the consequence of their gratitude and appreciation.

Those tears are a reflection of not just a full heart, but of an overfilled heart. Those tears are physical evidence of an emotional experience. 

So many people are going to cry today because of what happened yesterday, and of what they are afraid of will happen tomorrow. They will shed precious tears over things that can never sustain them, bring them healing, bring them closer to joy.

You have the power, in the simplest of ways, to bring them those things they need to move forward, to live in the “present of the present”, the gift of today. 

Today, walk in a way that brings other to joy, speak in a way that brings others peace, give in a way that shares your love and kindness. Live in a way that tells the story of your life in a way that will inspires other to do the same.

Make someone cry in the best of ways, in the most simple, and most difficult ways. Not only will their lives be changed, but your heart might just begin to overfill as well.

-Joshua Page,

http://www.hickorykarate.com

“Finding the Right Ears” Help for Kids Being Bullied

Quick Video for kids and families dealing with bullying, with a quick tip to get help and get through a bullying situation.

1 in 4 Kids are a victim of Bullying in the United States, many of which feel alone, like they are to blame for their situation, and like they have no one to talk to.

This video was made to offer some hope, encouragment, and direction for those kids and thier families.

We are comitted to helping as many kids, not only in our comminity of Hickory, NC but anywhere someone might find this video.

Find more information: http://www.hickorykarate.com

“Tired of Losing….”

IMG_4080.JPGThey say winning is a habit, and they are right. There is a mindset, lifestyle, routine, and expectation that comes with being successful.

Small victories have a way of accumulating, and building momentum that you might not see, but that are necessary to lay the foundation for bigger success down the road.

Unfortunately, losing is a habit too! Big failures are made up of tiny, seemingly insignificant failures months, years, and decades before they might even be noticed.

That last repetition that you skip, that last round on the pads, or in the ring, that extra cheat day on your diet, that one time you decided to just skip class, all have a way of forming a pattern, a behavior, a culture of…..giving up, of losing.

Tomorrows victory, is paid with today’s sacrifice.

Focusing on the big victory can make it seem impossible, can be discouraging, can make you want to quit. Sometimes it is imperative to take a step back, and focus on the small tasks, to details, to win the smallest victory, to win 10,000 small victories……most likely they will make the big victory just another day in the life of a winner!

-Joshua Page,

http://www.hickorykarate.com

The Power of Small Victories

halliead-001.jpgIn martial arts….and in life in general, we have a tendency to look at the big picture, the destination, our big goals and can’t help but be overwhelmed sometimes. 

All of our doubts and fears begin creeping in and it is easy to become discouraged, lose focus, or just plain lose the drive to continue.

When the destination seems to far away, the goal to big, or the mountain is just to tall to climb, that is when we need to focus on the power of small victories.

After all, what is any huge accomplishment, but a collection of many, many small victories.

The Black Belt that just walked into class…..they didn’t earn that black belt from one grueling black belt test. They earned it from 10,000 regular classes, from 10,000 small victories. From those days they didn’t feel like coming to class, but did anyway. From that time they had a bump, or bruise, or small injury…..but they came anyway.

They reached their destination by taking each mile, each hill, each obstacle step by step.

Each small victory has a way of accumulating as you go. Of helping you gain traction, gain momentum, building speed as you go. Like the old steam powered trains that started painfully slow, and gradually build up steam and momentum until they are rocketing down the tracks unstoppable towards their destination.

The question is not will you reach your goal today, are you equipped for your dreams right now? The question is what step, no matter how small, can you take today? What small victory can you accomplish this very day to keep you on those tracks, moving just the tiniest bit forward, or maybe just from keeping you from rolling back? It might seem insignificant now…..but 10,000 days from now it may be the moment that made all the difference in your entire life.  

So get up, get out, and get moving….and win SMALL today!

Joshua Page, Hickory Academy of Martial Arts

http://www.hickorykarate.com

Why Every Child Should Study Martial Arts……

You have seen it a million times, on TV, Movies, Plays, in your neighborhood….at Halloween. A cute little kid all decked out in his karate uniform, white belt tied around his waist, punching, kicking and jumping in the air at some invisible person with a big smile on their face.

It reinforces just how popular martial arts are. In fact martial arts can now be seen on television weekly in the form of Mixed Martial Arts Competition, and even the addition of Karate to the Olympics in 2020.

All this popularity begs the question. Why should anyone, especially a child study martial arts?

Here are 5 reasons that help to answer that question:

  1. “There is no confidence, like self defense confidence” Knowing how to defend yourself not just physically, but verbally is an essential skill for children. Especially, with 1 in 4 children being bullied in America, and an estimated 160,000 kids that skip school to avoid being bullied every single day in the United States. Kids who know how to defend themselves are much more likely to stand up for themselves, and much less likely to be targeted by bullies.
  2. “No One Sits on the Bench at the Dojo” Martial Arts is unique in the sense that kids are a part of a group, but they still get to progress at their own rate. The stress and demands to preform and deliver for a team is eliminated. A child is free to make mistakes, and to learn from them without being singled out. Also, they get to play every “down”, with no time spent on the bench watching everyone else play.
  3. “Chivalry is Not Dead” Manners, Self-Respect, and Respect for others may seem like a lost art with children, and adults these days. That is not the case on the mats at the dojo. There is an emphasis on self-respect, they way you are dressed, how you keep your uniform and yourself clean, how you present yourself at the dojo, the respect you show others in your words, and in your actions towards them. Yes Sir, Yes Mam, Please, and Thank You, are all alive and well in the hearts, minds, and voices of children taking martial arts.
  4. “There are no Keyboards at the Dojo” Children are ever increasingly talking to each other from behind screens. From texting, to FaceTime, to Snapchat, to tweets, the list goes on and on. Martial Arts Classes are a great place for face to face interaction. For children to work together directly. To learn the art of communication, to see face to face how to work with another person.
  5. “It Takes a Village” Parenting is every bit as difficult now as it ever was. Raising Happy, Safe, Respectful, Helpful, Leaders of tomorrow is too much for even the best parents to do alone. Family, Friends, Teachers, Mentors, and Martial Arts instructors are vital in helping reinforce the values that you are instilling at home. A Martial Arts Teacher or “Sensei” influences not just the way students defend themselves, but he or she is imparting lessons on self-confidence, leadership, kindness, and motivation every single class.

This list is just the tip of the iceberg about why martial arts for children is an amazing resource, about why every child should learn these lesson, but all these words don’t mean much until you see it in action.

We urge you to take your child to a class, but not just any class. Find a Facility that is clean, and instructor that is knowledgeable, that is a Blackbelt of Skill and Character. Someone who you trust to teach your child more than just how to fight, but how to live.

Joshua Page,

http://www.hickorykarate.com

http://www.joshuapage.me

“Sensei Does 25”

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We play  a game at the end of class with this big red cube. It has exercises and challenges for the students on each side, except one……one said is for the Teacher. It boldly states Teacher does 25. 

Our students love it, they love to see the Teachers drop down and give 25 pushups. Its a great chance for the Teacher/Sensei/Professor/Coach to lead by example, to humble themselves, and remind themselves and their students that Blackbelt is a Verb, and not a Noun. That it is a state of action, not a state of stagnation.

I have seen this cube at a few martial arts schools, and even saw a few with the Teacher Does 25 taped over…….It breaks my heart as an instructor, a student, and as someone who loves martial arts.

Teacher does 25 is a mindset, and a culture that is sorely needed in the martial arts community, in our communities, and our country. 

Leadership is defined by action, by holding to not just the same standard you hold those you lead to, but exceeding that expectation, in the hopes that those you lead might do the same.

What opportunities for growth and leadership have you “taped over”?

My challenge to you is to rip that tape of today, that sting is much less than that of keeping it on.

Joshua Page,

http://www.hickorymartialarts.com

The Person most likely to Attack You!

Mass shootings, car bombings, riots, and genocide are words that we hear all to often in today’s world. 

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We are faced with some pretty harsh realities every time we turn on TV, the radio, online…..pretty much anywhere we get our news these days.

It is easy to get caught up, to begin to worry about who is sitting behind you in the theater. About that noise you thought you heard. About that stranger walking too close to you in the parking lot……but……

The reality is right now, statistically speaking, is the safest time to live in all of recorded history. For the most part we come and go through our daily lives in relative safety, without the threat of injury, dismemberment, or death from our fellow man.

The sad reality is that we are more likely to get attacked by ourselves than anyone else.

Our heart is more likely to harm us than anyone else. The killer hiding downstairs is the refrigerator! Filled with type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure….and some Tupperware with some  new strain of fungus growing steadily.

quickreliefWe are more likely to be harmed by our device, induced insomnia. By our inability to sleep and decompress without some show, movie, or podcast blurring in our headphones than anyone hiding under our bed.

We are more likely to sabotage ourselves with self doubt, with apathy, and just plain laziness then have someone tamper with our brake lines.

The good news however is that we are our best defense against……..ourselves. Here are a few tips of keeping you safe from YOU!

  1. Turn the devices off! Take time to be connected to people not the internet. To be surrounded with silence every once and a while. IMG_0994To get lost in nature more, and online less. The truth is we are designed to be a part of the world around us, to engage with people, places, and things, and without the aid of a screen.
  2. Trash In, Trash Out! You literally are what you eat. Pick foods that make your body feel good, even if the don’t make your mouth feel good. Buy foods with an ingredient list as small as possible, and made from ingredients that you can pronounce without a chemistry degree. Eat to enjoy the next ten years of your life, and not the next ten minutes.
  3. Invest in Yourself Everyday! Your success, your joy, your health is not a result of major change over short periods of time. It is made from small, incremental changes that we stick with over time. That crash diet…..is going to crash in a few weeks, but the decision to eliminate carbonated drinks will pay dividends for your entire life.

These are just a few, but they are more than enough to get you started. Good luck, and GET UP, GET OUT, and GET MOVING!

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-Joshua Page,

www.hickorymartialarts.com