With summer winding down, everyone is turning their attention toward the new school year. While parents may be anxious about getting their kids off to a good start for the school year, kids have their own anxieties about making new friends, dealing with peer pressure, and possibly having to deal with bullies. Most parents know their kids may experience some form of bullying they really aren't sure what to do about it.
Bullying is receiving a lot of attention nowadays. The statistics are that up to 85% of our kids experience verbal, physical or cyber bullying. Kids who are bullied are more likely to experience depression and anxiety, have increased feelings of sadness and loneliness, have changes to their sleeping and eating patterns, and may even lose interest in activities they used to enjoy. We now also know that many of those effects can last well into adulthood. What most parents don’t know is that most kids are unlikely to tell their parents they are being bullied. This is true for our students at 3T Karate in San Antonio as well.
During this block of martial arts instruction we will be working with our karate students on how to handle the issue of bullying. Before we can equip our kids karate classes with the skills to handle bullying they first have to know what it is and what it is not. Very often we find, especially with our younger karate students that they misunderstand what bullying is. They often believe that if someone says something mean to them, calls them a name, or just disagrees with them in general that the person is being a bully. It is very important to make the distinction that for something to be bullying it must be:
3) happen repeatedly
We recommend discussing this with your kids so they understand the difference between normal social interactions where people disagree and actual bullying. While eating dinner or driving in the car we recommend asking your children questions and having discussions about these interactions. Ask questions like…
If someone cuts in front of you in line one time is that bullying? (No)
If they cut in front of you every day in line is that bullying? (Maybe)
What if they get mad at you and call you a name during a game? (No)
What if they go out of their way to find you and call you names in front of other people? (Yes)
Is it bullying if they hit you or push you? (Yes)
Is it bullying if they make fun of the clothes you are wearing? (Maybe)
Before we can give our karate kids the skills and strategies they need to handle bullies at school, they first need to be able to identify when bullying is actually happening. Sometimes people just behave badly. That doesn't make them a bully. If they do it repeatedly with the intention of being hurtful, that's a different story. Learning to discern between bad behavior and bullying is an important distinction for kids in their social skills development.
During our karate mat chats next week we will be teaching our martial arts students the Talk - Tell - Tackle strategy. Tune in to next week's post for more information.
PENNY L. PITASSI
It's a tough world out there!
Kids today face peer pressure, bullying, high expectations and uncertainty.
They need a healthy outlet that benefits both the body and the mind. That makes training in the martial arts a perfect activity for kids of all ages.
3T Karate has fun, exciting and rewarding children’s martial arts classes in San Antonio. Here are just a few of the reasons kids today should learn martial arts:
Children develop confidence through self-knowledge, attaining skills and practice. Through the vehicle of martial arts, they will get to know themselves better, especially their strengths and weaknesses, and learn how to work individually and in group settings. Martial artists learn that true confidence comes from the inside.
While some kids are naturals, martial arts isn’t always easy at first. It requires discipline, practice and patience. Kids who stick with martial arts will develop greater patience when it comes to cultivating new skills and working towards their goals.
The precise, intricate and powerful movements of martial arts help kids develop strength, flexibility, balance, coordination and agility. The more active kids are at a young age, the more they will develop healthy habits that will stick with them throughout their life. Regular exercise bolsters nearly every aspect of health and wellness, including healthy weight, strong bones, flexibility, resting heart rate, metabolism, mental health and more. And just as important, Martial arts can help kids and families combat the obesity epidemic running rampant in the United States.
It is important in life to learn to meet challenges head on. Kids who give up when faced with a problem won't get very far in the world. On the other hand, kids who can take a hit – whether it’s physical, mental or emotional – and learn to get back up and try again will develop greater resilience and coping skills.
Martial arts teachers will require respect from even the littlest of kids. This is part of a centuries-old tradition where knowledge is passed from teacher to student. Students learn to set aside their ego in order to learn more from their elders who have learned from those that came before them. Likewise, martial arts instills a sense of honor – respect for rules and etiquette, following a code and showing humility.
Let's face it – kids today are pretty distracted (not to mention their parents). With screens and schedules, our society is busier than ever. Fortunately, at 3T Karate, our children's martial arts programs offers an ideal solution. Kids will learn to focus on one thing at a time and to bring a sense of deliberate attention to their activities – this will benefit them in school and in life.
Contrary to what some people believe, learning martial arts teaches kids to avoid violence, using it only as a last resort for self-defense. At 3T Karate in San Antonio we teach conflict resolution, how to face challenges (including bullying) with non-violent solutions. We also teach our students to look for and see the best in others and to always show respect.
Learning to set, follow and accomplish goals can help kids in their education and on into their careers. 3T Karate in San Antonio is the perfect place to learn how to set a goal and to pursue it. Whether it is a certain color belt rank or a particular skill, martial arts provides a systematic way of learning more about the importance of goals for kids.
Until kids learn to control their minds, they can't control their bodies – and vice versa. Martial arts puts it all together, teaching kids how to breathe, how to connect and how to move mindfully. All of these lessons are incredibly valuable outside of the school, as well.
What it boils down to is that any child – any person, for that matter – of any age can benefit from learning martial arts. Regardless where you enroll your child to learn martial arts, kids can learn so many lessons that will help them throughout their lives – strength, patience, perseverance, wellness and focus, just to name a few.
Begin your child's martial arts journey at 3T Karate with a FREE first class or a 4-week Trial Special that includes a FREE martial arts uniform (a $49.00 value). To get started, please call (210) 441-8319.
At 3T Karate we focus on developing 5 vital skills necessary for the physical and mental development of our pre-schoolers.
Sounds obvious right? Tell me something I DON'T know ! Well, yes, every parent understands that Self-Discipline is Vital, but not everyone understands exactly what Self-Discipline TRULY is which means they don't really know how to help a young child develop it.
Self-Discipline is NOT the same thing as "Authority" Discipline. When a child "Misbehaves" and a Parent, Teacher, or other authority figure helps correct the child, that's NOT Self-Discipline. Although very important to a child's development, correction and redirection don't necessarily instill Self Discipline of their own accord.
What the Authority figure chooses to focus on DURING the correction or redirection DOES help instill Self-Discipline. That's why at 3T Karate you will never see us "shaming" a child. They might need a correction, but it's vital that they don't feel like they're a bad kid - helping them understand the best ways to act and WHY, rather than just correcting without compassion, will produce kids who stop and think before acting, which is what we all want!
Some kids are REALLY independent out of the gate, and others need some coaxing to be able to do their own thing. However, even with the most outgoing of children, there are just some things they don't want to do. So how do we get our kids to pull their own weight - help with chores, put their OWN SHOES away, etc? How do we build Independent Motivation, especially for things that aren't super fun for kids? In our classes we sneak "hard work" in between the fun drills in class. Before they know it, your Preschooler is ASKING to do more pushups or crunches - they'll WANT to sweat and kick and block. Really, we're cheating.
We're using the body's natural endorphins and a really high energy class structure to mask the hard work, and present it as fun. What happens is that your child will be smiling, sweating, and in an elevated state (good attitude) when they're doing difficult things, which is essentially like practicing for life.
While it's obvious that your child will someday be a functioning adult, it's NOT a given that they will be physically capable, and have a grasp over their body and it's capabilities. Starting your child EARLY, having them begin to learn simple things like toe-touches, blocks, jumps and kicks helps to build and nurture pathways in the brain. The later you start, the more difficult it will be for the brain to create those new pathways.
You can see evidence for it everywhere. The kids who are more active - playing outside, running, jumping, and involved in activities seems to be more naturally coordinated, while the kids who prefer to stay indoors and play video games struggle with basic physical obstacles. Start them NOW learning about their bodies, and they'll be able to use it really, really well for the rest of their lives.
This is pretty close to Coordination, but it's even MORE important. One of the things we're crippled with as elderly humans is a lack of flexibility. You see it every day. Some older people really struggle to even be mobile at all. However, those who stretch their muscles on a daily basis do more than just keep them flexible; they promote healing, growth, and prevent injury throughout their lives, which leads to an old age of peace and happiness, instead of immobility and struggle.
At 3T Karate we certainly don't stretch Preschoolers past what they're comfortable with, but we teach them the motions and purpose behind the stretches, and create an atmosphere where stretching is "cool", so that they'll be very likely to continue it as they grow up.
If your child completely and totally misses out on all of the 4 previous Skills, but is a CONFIDENT human being, they'll be just fine. Confidence is Vital, but it's also not intrinsic. We see a LOT of Preschool age kids, and every one of them benefits from our classes, because they're never told they "can't" do it. They might notice that they can't do some move or challenging drill RIGHT NOW, but we discuss the problem, find a solution, then help them work through it. It's here that preschoolers learn that "stick-to-it-iveness" that is the foundation of confidence.
They learn that challenges don't equal failure, and that application of motivation and purpose gets them what they want. In our classes it's a completed drill or successful kick - in life it's that college acceptance letter or big job. Confidence is the most important thing tey need and we have the most powerful platform available to help develop it.
Responsibility - If It Is To Be It's Up To Me !
During Block 4 we are working on the attribute of Responsibility. Responsibility means owning one's actions and words. Very frequently we forget how powerful our words can be. Why is it so important for us to take repsonsilibity for our words ? Because...
1. Words can HURT or words can HELP ! Your words can cause people to feel good about themselves or can hurt thier feelings. Everyone says things that are mean sometimes. But often we say casual or cavalier things that hurt people's feelings unintentionally. For example... one of your friends comes over to your house and spills some food on the floor. They apologize but you say "I can't believe you did that again!" On the surface this doesn't sound like a mean thing to say. When you look a little deeper this little sentence tells that person you expected them to be sloppy and clumsy. On the other hand, if you said, "That's ok... everyone spills things sometimes. Let's just clean it up." That would be helpful and make the person feel better about their mistake.
2. Words tell people who you ARE and who you AREN'T ! People who lie are liars. On the other hand people who tell the truth are honest. If you lie people will know you as a liar. If you tell the truth people will know you to be honest. People who talk about others behind their back are gossips and will be known as gossips. People who refuse to talk about others behind their back are demonstrating integrity and that is how people will think about them.
3. Words tell people if you are IGNORANT or SMART! When people use cus words or racial slurs they demonstrate their ignorance. It shows that they haven't taken the time to educate themselves in order to have the right words to use when their emotions get the best of them or to understand other cultures or things or people that are different from themselves. On the other hand, if you take the time to educate yourself you will almost always have the right words to express yourself in any given situation.
So... here is a way to THINK before you speak. Ask yourself
1. T - Is it TRUE ?
2. H - Is it HELPFUL ?
3. I - Is it INSPIRING ?
4. N - Is it NECESSARY ?
5. K - Is it KIND ?
If it isn't the above things, then perhaps you s hould exercise your personal responsility and hold your tongue. You and only you are repsonsible for the things you say !
This is an excerpt from Karate: Technique and Spirit by Tadaki Nakamura.
Mei Kyo Shi Sui (A bright mirror calmly reflects the world, but is not changed by it.)
We should always keep ourselves bright, shiny and spotless, like a new mirror. This is not an easy thing to do; we may shine a mirror very carefully and find that we have missed a spot; or, we find that, within a few hours, dust and dirt have undone our work. Under pressure of work and our families, we may neglect to keep ourselves bright and clean. Obviously, this is what we should always do in respect to our bodies and our physical appearance, but I am now talking in spiritual terms. The Japanese word kokoro means mind, sould, spirit or inner being. We must keep our kokoru like a shiny mirror.
When we train in karate we are training our spirit. It is easy to deceive ourselves into thinking, "Oh, I'm terrifically hard and strong." We may become physically strong, but as long as the spirit is weak, the person is weak, no matter how great the power of the body. In these talks, I often come back to the same themes, which may sound simple, but it is my experience that students must be constantly reminded of them.
Look at little things: how we stand in class, how we pay attention, how well do we do little tasks like cleaning the dojo. If we maintain a joyous attitude, we will do little things well. If we do not keep our spirits bright, then we cloud and cover our spirits with our problems, our worries and our fears. Then, when we come to the dojo, this will be written on our faces and reflected in many little things, such as how we stand. As we cloak and cloud our spirits in anger, fear and frustration, we can isolate ourselves from other people. I can see some of my students literally shrinking under the self-imposed weights they put on their spirits. People will shrink from us if we have walk around with a tightly drawn, angry face. Soon, a person's training will not be enjoyable, and the dojo will not be a special place for him or her.
On the other hand, if we keep our spirits like a shiny mirror, then, even if we have troubles and problems -- as we all do -- we can still smile and be calm and enjoy our training. If people learn that we had problems at one time and gave no hint of them and maintained a strong, calm spirit, they will admire us and gravitate toward us.
Karate is for training the spirit. We are not here just to learn techniques or to become physically strong. I know that all my students will achieve those two objectives by the process of coming to class over a period of time. As I look around the room today, everyone looks strong and healthy. We are here today for one overriding objective: to train the spirit to become calm and strong.
Shi sui -- stil water. Even if the calm of a pond is disturbed by someone throwing a stone into the water, the stone sinks and disappears; the stone sends out waves that disturb the surface, but these are soon dissipated and there is no trace of the disturbance. A strong spirit handles adversity like this. We must strive to develop equanimity and steadiness.
I want my students to approach life's challenges in a certain way. When you are confronted with a problem, or a challenge, or an important decision, first of all be calm like the still water. As yourself, "What is the problem here?" "What can I do about it?" Be realistic and do not give yourself impossible tasks. Do one small thinkg toward solving your problem. Proceed one step at a time. Be consistent, and always move forward, even if it's very slowly. Soon, the challenge will be over, and your spirit will have prevailed. This is the spirit of karate which I want all of my students to achieve." ~ Tadashi Nakamura
The ultimate goal of karate is the inner development of the whole person. Developing all aspects of ourselves, our mind, our body and our spirit is essential to achieving our potential as people. Often we focus a great deal of attention on developing our bodies and our minds but often neglect our spirit. But peace and happiness comes through the spirit. A three-legged stool cannot stand and be steady if one of the legs is shorter than the other. And so it is with ourselves as well. If we neglect any of the legs on the stool we will always be trying to regain our balance.
The most important task any of us will ever undertake in our lives is the raising of our children. Creating an environement and a moral structure where they can grow into the potential that God has planned for them. There is so much for them to learn. We have "skills" to teach them such as cooking, cleaning, laundry, finances, etc... In the big scheme of things these are fairly simple... we decide upon age appropriate tasks and teach them to do those things we feel are necessary for them to find their way through life. The bigger task, and the one requiring the most thought and deliberate parenting, is what are our most important values and how can we develop those character traits in our children for them to live out those values. Most of us only have some vague idea of the outcome we are trying to achieve... we want them to be honest, kind, generous, strong, motivated, etc... but haven't ever really decided on a plan to obtain those outcomes. That part takes Deliberate Parenting. Deliberate parenting takes time, energy and effort. How will you know you've succeeded ? When you see who your grandchildren grow up to be. We aren't just raising our children. We are raising the next generation of parents. What we do or fail to do will affect our families to the 3rd and 4th generation.
This is what 3T is really all about. How do you help someone internalize the values and character traits and pass them on to the next generation. The bible says... raise up a child in the way he should go and he will not depart from it. What an awesome task and privilage we have been given. This prayer that Douglas McArther said for his son epitomizes what I hope to accomplish with my own sons and what I hope 3T will help you accomplish for your sons and daughters.
Build me a son, 0 Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak; and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be pround and unbending in honest defeat and humble and gentle in victory.
Build me a son whose wishes will not take the place of deeds; a son who will know Thee -- and that to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge.
Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those who fail.
Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high, a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men, one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.
And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, and the meekness of true strength.
Then I, his father, will dare to whisper, "I have not lived in vain!.
-- General Douglas MacArthur