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……

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

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

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

Too. cheap to afford……

A friend of mine shared a though worth repeating. “Cheap is expensive! The bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweetnes of a low price is Forgotten.”

So often in our high speed world we seek faster, cheaper, and more convenient. Why pay for the movie/music when I can just download it for free? Why ask an expert, I can just YouTube it myself. Why pay the extra money for a little better quality fabric, or buy from a manufacture that operates in this country?

Too often we forget we are not paying for just the materials, we are paying for the quality, for the experience, for the craftsmanship that is behind a quality service, or good. We are paying for the service, for the care, and for the quality that we expect.

Saving short term, means just that. You will always end up paying more in the long run. When it comes to quality, to buying things that matter, that make a difference in the quality of your life……Spend now, save later!

Joshua Page,

Hickory Academy of Martial Arts

Waiting for Change…….

Everyone wants to make a change in some part of their life. Maybe it’s income, body weight, fitness level, education…the list goes on and on, but everyone wants to make some kind of positive change.

What separates the successful, and those who are struggling, despairing, and complaining is many of us are simply waiting.

Waiting for the right time, the right conditions, for the next holiday to be over, until after the next Birthday, until work slows down, the kids are in school…..again, the list goes on and on.

The truth is there are no right conditions, there is no favorable time, there will always be another holiday, birthday, time constraint…….excuse to keep you waiting.

The good news is that the healthy you, the happy you, the successful you, the you that you dream about and more is out there waiting…….for you to come along and uncover it.

To uncover it a piece at a time through diligent and daily efforts. Through hard work, and dedication, and most of all through staying the course.

We think of change happening in an instant. Maybe it is the age we live in, where everything happens at the click of a mouse or the touch of a screen. In an age of before and after pictures, we never get to see all the in between pictures. Never get to see the struggles, and the time it takes to get to after.

Remember, until we get started….we are just stuck on “before”, and that is no way for you, me, or anyone to live our lives.

Get up, get out, and start moving. Start living……and stop waiting for change.

-Joshua Page

Hickory Academy of Martial Arts

http://www.hickorymartialarts.com

http://www.joshuapage.me