Black Friday Special!

3 Lessons + Uniform + $100 Birthday Party Gift Certificate 

Value $249, now Only $49!

Gift wrapped for you! Just pick up box from your local school!

661 Views0

Which scary scenario are you agonizing over the most?

Fear of:

– getting sick from Covid

– your child being able to stay masked

– other kids keeping their mask on

– administrators enforcing the mask mandate

– the kids ability to hear and communicate and behave with a mask on

– getting childcare after a sudden school closing or quarantine

– getting everything done without falling behind

– constant absences for every sneeze

– the effect of it all on your child’s mental health

Remember when the fear was more about getting to school on time, making a friend, keeping up with classwork, avoiding bullies, and getting calls from the principal’s office. 

The way we see and scan the world for our kids’ safety has changed. In the martial arts industry, we often get a front-row seat to the fears and challenges parents face on a daily basis. We’re the place where parents go to help boost their kids’ confidence if they’re inactive, disinterested, screen-addicted, unmotivated, struggling with focus, or getting in trouble in school.

Here’s what we’re seeing: In states where school already started, instructors are reporting an overwhelming number of frustrated parents who can’t take it. They are struggling to get their kids to school and manage their homework and balance the new set of fears with their work and life schedule. Perhaps most terrifying is that they’re feeling helpless to parent their child with the child’s behavior in assimilating and adjusting. Routine things like making dinner and packing a water bottle for school are turning into breakdowns. 

 This is going to be a challenging start to the school year. With all of the disruption from the pandemic, combined with the typical chaos of a transition, the goal for the first few weeks is to be supportive to your child as they navigate their way through the next stage of their education. 

One parent in Philadelphia shared this sense of dread over the start of the school year: 

“I will deal with days where I won’t be able to help or be too paralyzed or exhausted to help. All of these days are ahead of me and I have to accept this,” wrote Mental Health Clinician Leslie Rivillo, whose child has not skipped a beat in martial arts training. “Check in with your people, give them some grace and help if you are able to do so. Give yourself a bit of grace as well, this pandemic will last well into 2022 and we have to try to make it for ourselves, our families and our communities.” 

Another parent responded: “I realized our entire year is going to be constantly making these decisions and keeping our kids home at the slightest sniffle. It’s just all so stressful and I’m so angry we’re still here.”

 Imagine a kid with a severe illness who could not go to school or see classmates for a year or two during the most formative time of social development. And now that kid has to wear a mask to try and communicate. That’s ALL of our kids. We want kids to get into a rhythm and be enthusiastic about their education. Our plan is to be patient with their adjustment in the first few weeks. 

Here are 7 Black Belt tips to help you get through:

  1. Don’t panic – Panic is defined as “sudden uncontrollable fear or anxiety, often causing wildly unthinking behavior.” When you feel yourself start to panic, make the decision later. Breathe and wait. Do something different. Walk away.
  2. Make your word of the year “Grit” – Every hard day is an opportunity to develop grit. Don’t want to? Understandable. But every time your child sees you show grit, it builds up their reserve of grit as well. It sets the example that they can keep going. Grit is staying focused on your long-term goals even when it’s difficult or challenging. Vow that when things get tough, your family will choose grit over quit. I choose grit over quit. Recite it.
  3. Do not take your child out for special events like mini-golf or ice-cream that first week. Just let them sleep and relax and digest their day. They don’t need more exciting moments that lead to meltdowns. They need to reflect to have a full tank for the next day.
  4. Stick with as much of your healthy routine as possible. Extracurriculars and hobbies help them develop important skills and coping techniques outside of the school setting. Don’t quit martial arts or tutoring or therapy or swimming or chores or dance. Doing so will often take away an experience that is important for their growth.  
  5. Give your child space to process their day. They might need to sit in their room or listen to music or watch TV or even complain about dinner. Don’t escalate a temporary emotional reaction. Give them space to experience their day, and stick to what’s good for them. Don’t let them quit something that’s good for them. The same way you shouldn’t give them ice cream for dinner to appease a hard day, don’t take away stress-relievers like martial arts because they said they didn’t want to go. Remember you are their safe person and they can be emotional and dramatic and let it all out with you. 
  6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your martial arts instructor can help. Your relatives can help. Your peers can help. 
  7. Take it one week at a time. You don’t have to solve every problem the first day or first week. Your child doesn’t need straight A’s and four after-school activities this week. Do an assessment of what worked week by week and you’ll see improvements. Just wait until next week or the week after and see what fits and benefits your family.
627 Views0

My Dad didn’t have to ask what was wrong, he knew the drill when he heard me wheezing.

We’d head to the dining room, unpack the bulky nebulizer, plug it in the wall, put the droplets in, and wait for the mask to “fog” before I strapped it on.

My Dad would sit with me with his eyelids bobbing up and down.

“Deep breaths” he’d mumble, and I’d do that on repeat until my panting slowed.

I’d often pretend to be Darth Vader as the “fog” blew from my mask.

My dad would pretend to laugh.

As a kid, I had pretty bad asthma. It got so bad one time, I was even hospitalized [pictured].

Anywhere my feet went, my inhaler went too. If I stayed at a friend’s house, my nebulizer would be in my bag.

But my parents never let me use asthma as an “excuse” not to do something.

They told me that I needed to “workout” my lungs to make them stronger.

Not sure if that’s true, but I internalized that sentiment.

Now that I’ve been working with kids professionally for over 8 years, I’ve noticed a trend.

Parents often come to us because they want their kids to build discipline or confidence…

But right when the kids give them any resistance..

karate is too hard

karate is boring

I don’t like sweating

I’m out of breath

Parents give up.. they don’t want to deal with the whining, so they let them quit.

But what they fail to realize is the best lessons aren’t learned when things are fun and easy.

Life’s greatest lessons are taught when things are DIFFICULT and HARD.

And that’s what my parents taught me by putting me into karate, and making me stick it out, even when I didn’t feel like it- even when I was wheezing and struggling to catch my breath.

I’m grateful they didn’t let me quit or use my asthma as a reason not to do things.

P.s. I’d later go on to grow out of my asthma, which I’m very grateful for, and my Dad grew out of pretending to laugh at my star wars jokes. Can’t win ‘em all.

619 Views0

Recently I heard this incredible story I had to share.

Before he became a famous NASA astronaut, John Glenn was a fighter pilot in the Korean war.

One day, when he and his commanding officer were flying low near enemy territory, his commanding officer’s plane was shot down, and Glenn saw him evacuate and parachute down. He didn’t know where his fellow officer landed exactly, so he decided to circle the area and wait for rescue helicopters.

Help didn’t come.

And here’s the insane part, Glenn continued to circle the area, even though his fuel was running so low he wouldn’t be able to return to his base.

Talk about commitment to your friend.

But as crazy as this sounds, this was his plan. He did a calculation in his head of how much fuel he had left and how far he was from base.

He stayed circling the area as long as possible, and as his fuel levels neared zero, he shot straight up to 40,000 feet, and when the engine totally cut out as he calculated it would, he glided all the way back across the ENTIRE span of North Korea to his base in South Korea.

We can barely figure out how much change I’m owed at the supermarket, and this guy is risking his life on a dizzyingly complex mid-air calculation in the hopes of saving his friend.

But it gets crazier.

When he landed, he didn’t just sigh of relief. He got back into another plane and flew back to search for his friend.

Long story short, he never found him. His commanding officer survived and became a prisoner of war and was released after the war.

This had me thinking, Glenn never prepared for his specific scenario, but all his training in the past gave him the tools he needed to make the right decisions when it came to the moment.

This is exactly what karate does.

It gives kids the tools they need to succeed later in life, so they can handle life situations they don’t expect, but will inevitably happen.

Whether it’s the confidence to stand up for him/ herself when getting bullied, or the ability to focus on a test when there are lots of distractions, karate creates the character that kids need to thrive under pressure!

Parents can’t prepare their kids for every scenario that can happen, but they CAN help their kids prepare for unforeseen circumstances by training them in life skills so they can figure it out on their own!

It takes a village to raise a kid, and we love being part of that village.

598 Views0

Oftentimes parents feel pressure to be “perfect,” even though no parent is (sorry Mom 😇), but there are always small adjustments you can make as a parent.

These 2 simple words can drastically change your child’s…

– Self-esteem: specifically how they perceive challenges

– Discipline: to get things done the FIRST time you ask

– Confidence: sticking with difficult tasks they don’t feel like they are good at or don’t want to do.

The best part is, you can make this change right away! It’s simple and easy to implement.

So here are the 2 words: Yet & Get

Let me explain.

Next time your child says “I can’t do it” when it comes to doing school work, riding on a bike, or even practicing a karate piano, simply add in the word “yet” to the end of the statement.

“I can’t do it yet” means something way different.

It insinuates that you will be able to do it soon, with time and effort, and that’s one of life’s most important lessons that kids often miss, and parents aren’t sure how to teach.

Kids need to learn that failure is part of success. It’s not a destination, it’s just a speed bump. In order to reframe how your child sees challenges, make sure you always add the word “YET.” As a parent, be careful that you use the same language with yourself too!

Just because you can’t do something now, doesn’t mean you never will. So next time your child says “I can’t..” have them include the word yet at the end.

Okay that makes sense, but what about word #2: Get

Well, imagine if you didn’t have a car, and there was no public transportation, so every day walked 3 miles to work. There are two different ways you can frame this situation. You either “have” to walk 3 miles, or you “get” to walk 3 miles. This small change makes a huge difference. To you, having to walk 3 miles to work might seem like an inconvenience, but to someone who had a step-count goal every day, they “get” to walk 3 miles.

The situation doesn’t change, but your perception does.

Saying “today you have to practice your karate” is way different than “today you GET to practice your karate.”

“Have to” sounds like a chore, “get to” sounds like a reward.

One of my favorite quotes is “small hinges swing big doors,” and this tiny little adjustment is that small hinge that can open big doors for you and your family!

But don’t wait until later to apply this, let’s be real, you’ll probably forget.

Let’s implement this today so we can boost your child’s confidence NOW! (and yours too😉)

588 Views0

Isaac started martial arts three years ago. He was 4 and active and his parents wanted to find a way to help him interact better in pre-school.

“Someone suggested karate as a great way to funnel aggression in a positive way,” said mom Ada. 

His first few classes were tenuous as he bounced around. He had to be redirected to sit still or wait his turn. At times, he was nervous to get on the mat without mom or dad. 

“He very quickly fell into the routine of class and really started working toward those stripes, belts, and patches,” mom Ada said. 

What really helped his progress is when mom and dad reiterated the lessons at home. 

“We saw what Ms. B was doing and we used a lot of her tools at home to add some focus, responsibility, chores. If she suggested something, we started using her language at home. Particularly that first year we saw a lot of progress in his behavior,” she said. 

The confidence he gained at martial arts was spilling over into his behavior at home and performance at school.

“It gives him something to look forward to that he’s excited about. I remember when we were doing the tournaments and getting those medals he’s been super proud of. It’s given him those benchmarks to say: this is the level I achieved,” said dad Craig.

Succeeding in his first few classes was just the beginning of a series of challenges along the way.  Virtual school started. The family adjusted to new routines. Isaac resisted Zoom classes because he was already online all the time and missing his friends and his typical little boy life.

Now Isaac is on to his next challenge: the basic class for older kids. Isaac can get frustrated because the moves are more difficult, the class goes faster, and he’s now one of the younger kids in class again.

For many of his classes on Zoom, mom or dad is standing next to him helping him as an onsite coach.

“I’ve seen him grow in confidence. … I love the way you guys are sticking together with him,” said instructor Mr. Tim.

Isaac’s parents see each roadblock as a stepping stone that got their son to a new level. What kept them motivated to keep going is the welcoming environment. “Instructors are taking the time to get to know the parents as much as the kids. Perseverance, working hard, I think those are wonderful goals to instill in young kids. There are so many positive benefits,” said dad, Craig.

620 Views0