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

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“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

 

On Slipping….

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“Daddy I slip a lot less when I hold your hand.” 

 

My Son was talking about the rocks we were walking across, but he reminded me the importance of being connected to the things that keep us from slipping, and keep us moving along the right path.

Life is too complex, too difficult, and just plain too tough to get through without having to hold onto someones hand from time to time. Without having to lean on someone, or something to get you down the trail. Without having to be part of a group for direction, comfort, and safety during our trip.

IMG_1503The question is, whose hand are you holding, what are you leaning against, what group do you travel with. 

Life brings us the opportunity to strive for perfection, to seek out the best in ourselves through the help of others, to allow us to be guided and lifted by those who see the destination ahead, and not the side trails that look promising but lead to nowhere.

 

Chose the hand you hold carefully, choose the things you use to prop yourself up, surround yourself with people concerned with the destination, and the ones who walk the right path, even when it is not the easiest path.

Most of all even when no one is around to help you, when Daddy has already reached the end of his trip, you still have a Father who is always there to guide you, to hold you, to put you on the right path, to hold your hand and let you know everything is going to be just fine.

Safe travels, God bless, and Thank you to the people who hold my hand when I need it.

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Joshua Page, Hickory Academy of Martial Arts

3/30/2016

 

 

 

On Mastery and Martial Arts

“As a martial artist I get the opportunity to work and study with some truly amazing people, I also get to meet some people who are truly amazed with themselves. I met one of the two today. Which prompted the following observation: Any self proclaimed Master, is most likely a poor judge of character. True talent, true knowledge, and skill needs no proclamation. Real Mastery is usually marked by humility, generosity, and kindness.”

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The greats, do not need to tell anyone they are great. It is evident in the way that the speak, the way they move, the way they instruct on the mats. More importantly, it shows in the way they treat others, the life they live, and the example they set off the mat.

To become a Teachers Teacher, a true Master, like Helio Gracie, like Rickson Gracie, like Pedro Sauer, like Gichin Funakoshi, requires a commitment, vision, and effort that very few can ever conceive, and even fewer will ever achieve.

Anyone can claim greatness,  but the lack thereof is readily seen in their actions. There is no way to talk your way into a set of skills that are gained through a lifetime of effort, to fake the deep level of understanding that comes through years of study and dedication. Simply put you can’t google your way into mastery.  

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Manners and Martial Arts

IMG_0893Good manners, common courtesy, and respect seem to be in a bit of a decline in recent history.

With the advent of social media, and the power of anonymity it provides, it is easier than ever to say and do things that you might not do in person. In a society that seems to be speeding up exponentially, people just don’t seem to have the time……..for patience.

Popular culture is bombarded with examples of this type of behavior, even our Presidential Debates have taken on a decidedly “Jersey Shore” feel to them. Most of the popular shows, movies, and media are filled with topics, and language that are anything but respectful, courteous, and kind.

As we go speeding through our day, inundated with bad examples, running eternally late, tethered to our devices is it any wonder why manners seem to be in short supply?

In fact manners might be considered one of the great challenges ours and future generations face. Why is that you might ask? Because manners….how you speak to others, how you treat others, how you act to the people we meet, the people we love….and those that we have trouble dealing with is in direct relation to the amount of self respect we have for ourselves, for the respect we have for the people around us, and is a direct reflection of the morals, and principles that guide our lives.

Can you have good manners, and be devoid of solid morals and guiding principles? Of course you can (See: Eddie Haskell), but you cannot have solid morals and guiding principles without having good manners.

Yes Sir, and Yes Mam are the building blocks of something far more important…..Respect.

That is one of the most powerful lessons Martial Arts teaches us. Having an environment, where it is the rule, and not the exception to use manners sets the stage for mutual respect. Having an environment where there are high expectations or consequences for what comes out of your mouth, fosters responsibility. Being held to a high standard of behavior on and off the mats, is a great way to build a leader.

From bowing on the mats, to shaking the instructors hand, looking classmates in the eyes and thanking them for a good class, bowing to an opponent before you fight and hugging them after the match is over, respecting the hierarchy of belts, and being expected to demonstrate and perfect required lessons/techniques, to helping new students…..the list goes on and on and on. Martial Arts is one of the few places where manners are expected, morals are not just taught, but displayed by the teachers and high ranking students, where respect, kindness, humility, and perseverance are celebrated, encouraged, and taught…..one on one, without screens, without phones, and without apology.  

-Joshua Page, Hickory Academy of Martial Arts

http://www.hickorymartialarts.com

Being a Nail to Become a Hammer

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Everyone is prepared to win. To accept victory. To hold the Trophy. 

Not everyone has wrapped their brain around being…….well……just plain whooped. 

It takes the right frame of mind to accept that today was not your day, that no mistakes were made in the judging, no excuses can explain away, no amount of denial will erase the fact that today you were the nail, and someone else was the hammer.

Most people react to being the nail by quitting whatever it is that they happen to be a nail in. That might be a karate, or jiu-jitsu class, it could be a sport, it might even be a class at school, a subject of interest, or even a relationship. 

To them being a nail is too much of many different emotions, like embarrassment, like failure, like they are inferior, like they are weak, like many different things that just makes their stomach churn.

What they fail to understand is that being a nail is the only way understand how to be a hammer.

As we begin to deal with what the hammer throws at us, we first begin to understand how to survive adversity, we begin to be toughened by the hammer, we have a chance to calm down in the face of it, and start to see when it is headed for us.

We start to be able to resist it’s force, we begin to find it’s patterns, to understand it’s movement, to know how the hammer does what it does.

Compared to the newer nails we hardly even look like a nail anymore, we certainly don’t act like one. We have been forged by the hammer, not driven away by it.

We are ready to become the hammer, to keep the new nails in check, and shape them the way we have been shaped.

We will teach them how to become a hammer by being a nail because we understand the process through our own experience, through our own perseverance, and through our own time as a nail.

Wherever you are in your journey remember it is a never ending cycle. Sometimes you are the hammer, sometimes you are the nail. Either way, just be glad they haven’t put you back in the tool box yet!

-Joshua Page

http://www.hickorymartialarts.com

Moments in Time

Life is meant to be shared, more meaningful when it is. Sometimes it is for years, sometimes for just moments. 

The beautiful thing is no matter how brief or long these moments are, their impact is not mesured by how long they are.

The most brief moments, the most casual words, the slightest smile can make ripples that follow us our whole life, that can change the very flow of someone’s life.

Treasure your day to day interactions, make a point to give a nod, a pat on the back, a hello. Share more than just space with the people we met. Make a sincere connection, an honest moment, a true exchange of caring with no expectations or agendas. 

Don’t miss a chance to make a brief moment in time last forever…….

Test of Time

Everyone is always excited to make progress, get the promotion, to see themselves advancing.

Operating a martial arts academy this is evident every time belt testing or stripe reviews roll around. Everyone wants to know if they made it, if they are on the list, everyone wants to be testing…..and if they are not……they are bummed, some are let down…..and some are even mad!

We once have a student, who had not met his requirements to test, ask if he could be on the list, and after he was reminded he had some more work to do, screamed “but I deserve to test!!!”….and quit when we stuck to our guns.

The lesson I hope he learns, and that I hope all our students learn is that the test is not the test…..time is the ultimate test. 

On a long enough time line black belt will happen for anyone bold enough and persistent enough to keep coming to class….the test takes care of itself through daily effort and dedication. 

Can you put in the time, can you stay the path, can you be resilient to setbacks to disappoint, can you outlast your timeline and expectations? 

If the answer is yes, you might just be able to past the importance test, the test of time. 

Joshua Page,

Hickory Academy of Martial Arts

http://www.hickorymartialarts.com

In the Pursuit of Happiness…..

Happiness eludes so many people. Billions are spent in the pursuit of it. New products, procedures, and prescriptions are invented each day to help us achieve it.

Yet so few are able to find it, because it is not hiding behind money, possessions, or obsessions, but buried in the service of others.

Focus on bringing joy, and find it delivered to you ten times over in the process.