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:
- “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.
- “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.
- “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.
- “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.
- “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.
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.
Mass shootings, car bombings, riots, and genocide are words that we hear all to often in today’s world.
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.
We 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!
- Turn the devices off! Take time to be connected to people not the internet. To be surrounded with silence every once and a while. To 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.
- 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.
- 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!
“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.
The 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.
Joshua Page, Hickory Academy of Martial Arts
Good 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
The other day might have been great, it might have been a complete wash. There might have been tears, there might have been angry words, there might have been many things we wish there weren’t.
However the other day……is over. No matter how good, bad, or ugly is gone. Make no mistake you might still be paying a price for that day, still be recovering from that day, but there is no reason to be tied to that day. To carry the weight and the emotion of that day into today. To cloud our interactions, or productivity, and our joy with something that happened yesterday….well it sounds like something you would have done the other day.
Let today be a turning of the page, a reason to smile again, a day to celebrate…after all today you just broke your record for most consecutive days lived! If that’s not a reason to be happy today, then you might need to re-read this post, enjoy TODAY!
Hickory Academy of Martial Arts
Some days you might feel unimportant, like a small piece in a big watch. However, even the smallest piece is needed to keep time, and that directly or indirectly it influences all the other pieces in that watch. It is the same with our acts of kindness, and moments of giving. No matter how small, or seemingly unimportant, they are all compounded, and multiplied, passed from person to person, from generation to generation. They will live on long after we are gone, written on the hearts and minds of those we will never know. Be bold, be kind, change the world.
I had a “Hallmark Moment” the other day. Sitting in a beautiful country inn, surrounded by happy people, a beautiful day beaming in through the windows, illuminating a breathtaking flower garden with children running and playing.
As I was soaking it in, I noticed bees buzzing from flower to flower….something I have seen thousands of times before…..something I never really stopped to consider for how amazing it is.
A plant that somehow over the course of time developed itself to produce a nectar the bees would be drawn to, a nectar whose purpose is to get the bees to land just so the plants pollen will collect onto the bee, and have the chance to be transferred to another plant, for the possibility of pollination. For the chance of making a new plant, to help continue the cycle of life for future plants….and for future bees.
What is even more intriguing are all of the millions of other wonderful connections that can be traced back to this one phenomena, of all of the connections that this one particular “every day” occurrence lead to.
It leads me to believe.
There is no every day, no ordinary, no run of the mill. That this world and everything in it are here for a purpose, that we are all designed with a purpose, with a connection to the world around us, as a much needed piece in an ever-growing puzzle.
That just by being yourself, being true to who you are, can and will send ripples through the entire planet. The we are all designed with a purpose, and a reason for being.
Find yours today, and start living the life you were born for.
Just in case you were thinking about slacking, laying low, skipping out on your goals this week.
Remember this, “winning” and succeeding is not a one time thing, it is not a big event, not one pivotal moment. It is an every day thing, it is a habit, it is in the decisions and actions we make from moment to moment.
Champions are “winning” one second at a time, through continued effort, continuous discipline, through continuing to strive past our own limitations, or own negative self talk, past our doubt, and fears, and the judgments of others.
DEDICATION is not a personality trait, it IS A VERB….something that is breathed into life by being put into ACTION……