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.
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

Getting a Reward

Rewards, trophies, bonuses, titles are all powerful motivators.

Companies use it to drive productivity, schools use it to improve grades, parents use it to encourage good behavior. 

Rewards are great, and they work well…..but they are only the first step in reaching your potential, in reaching the high levels of success and happiness. 

When we start to see past the rewards, past the carrots dangling in front of our faces, we begin to see the action is the reward. 

That eating healthy is its own reward, exercising is the reward, that self improvement is the reward…..that doing the right thing is the reward….then we will not need the trophy, the carrot, the promise of something good coming our way. 

When we seek to do the right thing in every interaction, every opportunity, we make room for ourselves to be successful, to be happy, and to be blessed with infinitely more than a carrot on a string. 

-Joshua Page



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.

Enjoy the Moment….

Life seems to have a tendency to go faster and faster. To speed up as we grow up. To fly by us, without letting us grab a firm hold on exactly how much of our life has speed past our grasp. 

When those few still moments float by, when those magical minutes arrive, grab them. Hold onto them, live every second of them. Those few seconds my very well be the brightest, warmest, and most real of this ever swirling life.

-Joshua Page,



Carrying the Flag: Leading from the Front

We all say the right things most of the time, speak the truth, give good advice…..most of which is overlooked.

In large part this is the case when our actions don’t sink up with our words.

Our actions have a way of leading from the front, giving the visceral example that put meaning to our words, that create the spark to fire action.

What you say will fall on deaf ears, will be forgotten, will be misunderstood. What you do will followed, and emulated….even by those who you don’t know are watching.

Lead from the front, carry the flag where you want others to follow.

-Joshua Page


10 Commandments of The Dojo

Joining a Martial Arts School, or Academy can be a little confusing (kind of like your first service at a Catholic Church) when to stand, when to sit when to talk, when to do anything!

With this in mind we developed the 10 Commandments of the Dojo to help get you in the door, on the mat, and through class without having a panic attack, or more importantly without doing pushups.

1) Be Clean: Wear a clean uniform to each class, wear your shoes or flip flops when you are off the mat (especially the bathroom), and no shoes on the mat. Jiu-Jitsu Students make sure to take a shower after each class.

2) Be Respectful: Treat everyone at the Academy the way you wish to be treated, use control and care when drilling, when            sparring, and make sure to address the Instructors with proper manners and respect.

3) Do your best: Give your best effort, your best enthusiasm, and energy in each class. Our classes are designed to be challenging, and to stretch your limits. Stay focused and positive and you will advance and thrive during our training sessions.

4) Be consistent: Stay on a regular training schedule. The more you can come to the Academy on the same days on the same times each week, the more likely you are to be successful. Make sure not to miss class as much as possible, 80% of success is just showing up!

5) Stay Connected: It’s called the internet people! Bookmark your Academy’s website, follow their facebook, instagram, twitter, etc. Be involved in the events, seminars, and happening in the life of your Academy. Stay Connected!

6) Train at Home: Get the most out of your program by training at home each week. Warm up, stretch, stretch and STRETCH, and then review your basics. Make sure to go over some of the skills, and drills you enjoy doing, make home training enjoyable. (did we mention to stretch)

7) Be Responsible: Wear your complete uniform and belt to each class. Bring all your required gear to each class as well. Make sure to label your uniform, belt and gear if you do manage to leave it at the Academy. Remember you are responsible for you! 

8) Test on Time: Be consistent with your training to stay on track for belt testing. Listen more than you speak in class, watch the higher belts, find ones that motivate and inspire you. Ask your instructor for feedback, and for drills to help you through problem areas. Finally, just be patient…..the journey is always more important than the destination.  

9) Be a Leader: As you begin to climb the belt ladder and gain more experience, remember to lead a positive example and be helpful to all the belt rank below you and all of the students who are younger than you. Become a role model for others to follow!

10) Share: Pass on the benefits, the healthy lifestyle, and positive life skills you are learning by inviting friends and family to class. The highest compliment you can pay your instructors, and the Academy is to refer someone to start training. Share the joy of training, and become a martial arts mentor them on the mats each week.

A Simple Hello

We have been doing talks on kindness, and bullying over the past few years. We have it down to a science, student involvement, impactful stories, ideas, and strategies to become mindfully kind, to deal with any kind of bullying situation. What I am trying to say is we are motivated and prepared for each opportunity to change lives, but in spite of all this I have to say I was completely caught of guard from our last school talk.

We have a young student that came to help with our last talk, he told me he would like to share a story about kindness. I said of course, and we put him into our schedule for that day. I thought he was going to share a story he had read, or heard somewhere, but when he spoke he started speaking about a girl in his class, and the impact that this simple hello would have on both their lives I was awestruck.

Watch his story below and see the impact that we can all make everyday, by simply being kind…..

Ham and Eggs with a side of commitment…..

The Hickory Academy Minute is an ongoing series of quick talks to help you take your training on the mats and expand it into your everyday lives. This Minute is dedicated to commitment.
Enjoy, and share it with someone else who might enjoy it too!

-Joshua Page,

Passing the Buck

Passing the Buck, or passing the blame, passing the responsibility, or obligation, and duty seem to be the easy way out. Seem to be the accepted way in today’s society.
However when you pass the buck, you pass up the chance to learn, to grow, to figure things out, to make it right, to make the very changes you want to see in the world.

When you pass that up, you pass up the person that you could, should, and are designed to become.

-Joshua Page, http://www.hickorymartialarts.com


Class cannot be bought, it cannot be replaced by personality or skill. It is as evident as the nose on your face, and is readily brought to the surface in times of adversity.

Class is not about how much money you have, where you come from, what your “pedigree” is.

Class is the the reflection of ideal you live your life by, the morals that guide your feet, and the company you keep by your side and in your ear.

Simply put your class, or lack of it represents everything you stand for, or fail to stand against.