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July 2016

Benefits Kids Get From Sparring In Martial Arts

It might seem counter-intuitive that allowing kids to hit and kick each other would actually teach them how to self-control and self-discipline. Because we are doing sparring in the advanced classes this block I wanted to talk about some of the not-so-obvious benefits associated with sparring.

  • Benefit #1 - Sparring Teaches Physical & Mental Toughness

    Ok... so this one is sort of obvious, but... still worth mentioning. Kids need to learn to take a hit. They also need to learn how to hit. Why? It teaches them to overcome their fear. Fear of hitting and of being hit. Learning to overcome physical fear is a way of developing courage in our kids -- especially when it is a controlled environment, with helpful and supportive coaching. Learning to take a physical hit develops their confidence and translates over to mental toughness. When kids learn to deal with physical confrontation they also begin to learn the mental toughness necessary to deal with verbal and emotional abuse as well as dealing with disappointment and failure. Life can pack a punch and hit hard sometimes. The mental toughness to get back up and keep going is an important life skill.

  • Benefit #2 - Sparring Teaches Kids How To Deal With Stress

    There is something scary and overwhelming about someone standing in front of you trying to kick you, punch you or knock you down... even when you have protective gear on and referees standing by. Kids need to learn how to handle and deal with stress and to not collapse when under pressure. During sparring kids learn to deal with that stress. They learn to breath and stay relaxed, to be calm and composed even when challenged under pressure. This translates over to dealing with stress from parents, academics and even social pressure from their peers.

  • Benefit #3 - Sparring Teaches Self-Control & Anger Management

    Aggression is a natural part of life. Watch your 2 year old have a temper tantrum and you immediately realize that anger is inherent in all of us. Unchecked aggression can be destructive. Sparring teaches kids how to turn on their aggressiveness and assertiveness and then reign themselves back in and turn it off. They learn how to flip the switch between being emotionally charged to being calm and controlled. Learning the self-awareness to stop at the appropriate time keeps kids out of trouble, especially as they get older and bad choices can have life-changing consequences.

  • Benefit #4 - Sparring Teaches Kids Good Sportsmanship

    Culturally and at school our kids are learning that "everybody is a winner". The truth is life doesn't play by those rules. In life there are winners and losers. Sparring teaches our kids that there are winners and losers but also allows us to teach our students to win with grace and humbleness. It also teaches our students that losing means there are still lessons to be learned and that we must work to make ourselves better. A winner cannot win if he doesn't have an opponent against whom he can demonstrate his skill. The loser has an opportunity to learn and to do better the next time. If you lose, don't make excuses... on that day or in that match the other person was just better. Deal with it. These are skills kids need for life. If they can learn to approach competition with both honor and humility (when they win and when they lose) they can do the same in life.

  • Benefit #5 - Sparring Teaches Kids To Improvise

    In the sparring ring things rarely go "as planned". Sparring is dynamic and unpredictable. Your opponent rarely complies and does what you want them to. It requires kids to take the things they have learned and improvise to make things work. They learn the physical attributes of balance, speed, timing and accuracy. Those physical skills have mental, emotional, and social counterparts. When students gain confidence in their ability to combine and create in the ring, they can take those skills and apply them "on the go" in life situations. The confidence gained here cannot be faked. It is confidence gained through competence. It is the kind of confidence that helps kids know they can handle bullies or stop aggressors, or that they can handle that algebra final exam, or anything else life throws at them for that matter.


April 2015

Kids And Video Games: Things You Should Know

Just as the parents of teens and older kids should know about online safety and social networking on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram... parents of younger kids and tween should get informed about video games before making making decisions about how much time their kids spend in front of a computer or TV screen. The web site discusses the 8 following things you should consider when deciding how long your kids should spend playing video games :

  • Violence And Agression

    While it would be an overstatement to say that video games are the primary cause of violent or antisocial behavior, studies show that violent games can be a contributor to the problem. Just watching violent movies can lead to more aggressive behavior in kids and exposure to violence in video games can contribute to aggressive behavioral issues.

  • Childhood Obesity

    This issue isn't a media construction. Kids really do need more exercise and less time sitting and eing couch potatoes. Yes.. more and more games requires kids to move around and be active, but for the most part, when kids play computer and video games, they remain sedentary. When sitting repeatedly replaces more traditional forms of exericse, kids are at greater risk for obesity.

  • Addiction for many kids, games beget games

    When they play regularly, they want more and more, and they have a harder and harder time accepting "no" when parents tell them to turn off the games. As in so many areas with our kids, it's important that they practice dealing with limits and boundaries.

  • Motor Coordination

    Here's one of the definite pros of video games. Hand-eye coordination and visual motor skills can improve when children play video games. A recent study showed that children who spent more time playing interactive electronic games were actually more competent in "object control skills" -- like kicking, catching, etc.. than those who don't play the games.

  • Educational Benefits

    Another benefit is that many video games actually teach kids. Math facts, reading, geography and all kinds of other skills like critical thinking and problem solving can be enhanced by the right kind of game experience.

  • Safety & Privacy

    Identity theft, cyber-bullying and all kinds of other dangers lurk and time kids go online. Online video games can pose a threat to kids who can't protect themselves. For those who don't have an adult supervising their game playing, these dangers are much more signifcant. Realize that any time your children are on the internet, they can send and receive information that can lead to real and significant dangers. My comment: Our mat chats discuss safety issues students that reinforce what parents are teaching about safety at home.

  • Variety Of Activites & Experiences

    The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents limit screen time to an hour or two each day. That's the key: limiting. Kids brains need to be exercised in other ways as well -- by playing outside, being creative, reading, participating in team sports and other group activities, taking part in community service and even by figuring out what to do when they are bored.

  • Age-Appropriateness

    This is perhaps the most important question to consider when it comes to which games and how long you let your kids play. It's important that we do our research and make decisions about what we're ready for our kids to know about -- and what we're not.


January 2014

Attitude - Shisei

by Hanshi Terry Bryan at 9:43 AM

In defining what is the most important element to success in any endeavor, you would be hard pressed to find anything more important than attitude. This week we will discuss the basic principles of developing, maintaining, and demonstrating the proper attitude in order to shorten the process of goal attainment.


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