I am going to start saying I teach Leadership Kwon Do to theses unassuming folks (in a polite way of course)! I picture the blank look that will follow so I will undoubtedly explain as follows. You know the kind martial arts style that makes you walk through life’s ups and downs with your chin up. I teach secret techniques that inspires your family and friends daily. The style of martial arts that gives you the drive to be better than you were yesterday. It’s the self reliant kind of martial arts style that gets you out of life's difficult situations that other people would hide from. Or my personal favorite the martial arts style of leadership that gives you the courage to follow your dreams. At this point the confused person in front of me or on the phone will say “oh thats cool, my second cousin on my aunts side did (insert mispronounced something here) martial arts. The next question they always ask is how much are your classes? I politely smile on the inside because free would still be to expensive for both of us. Reread the above and tell me what you think these lessons and this style of martial arts is worth? I would say priceless but then again maybe I teach the wrong “style” of martial arts for you.
*Author note: From time to time I do get this question from serious enthusiasts or thorough parents, but for the most part it’s from tire kickers. Those are the parents looking for a Groupon type activity and not looking for the life enhancing benefits of martial arts for their child. If your reading this than you already know about Leadership Kwon Do.
I have a very male energy about me and that can be a bit intimidating at times. On the inside I am just a big soft hearted guy. I love what I do and love the people that appreciate my efforts. I struggle in non martial arts settings to connect with people and thats alright. Most people never pull back the curtain understand that it took a lifetime to do what I am able to do today. I truly do mean a lifetime and that's not just an expression. I have spent the last 40 years learning and applying my craft, I have traveled thousands of miles to learn and compete, I have slept in my car and on the floors of strangers to learn, I have spent more money than I care to remember to educate myself to become a better teacher, I have broken many bones and bled to learn from some of the greats, I have been taken advantage of financially and intellectually by others, I have taken countless notes, spent money on programs and things I never used, I have spent 15- 20 hours a day training to learn new material to pass on, I have been up all night to help grow my school and provide the best lessons possible, I have had students pass away, I have spent holidays away from my family, I have worked two and sometimes three full-time jobs to get by, I have had to start over many times to be where I am today. You see I believe in you. I don't teach an "activity" or ancient mystic art. I teach faith. All the lessons I have learned have been about faith. Faith in myself is the deepest lesson I have been given through martial arts. I have give up so much to give the lesson of faith to you. Sometimes I have gone with out just so I could give to you. Faith and time is all I have ever had and is all I can ever give. The vehicle is martial arts of course but the values and the lessons took a lifetime to learn. In life we are lucky to meet people that believe in us. When we find those people we need to learn as much as we can while we can. Things change and people change. Faith in yourself should never change. I hope ego and pride won't steal your faith. I will keep trying to teach my lessons learned. I hope you do too.
This is one of my favorite topics to challenge parents on. Now before you go and leave a bunch of comments about the importance of education and such, I ask that you open your mind for one minute. I agree that good grades are important. I would also challenge you and say that pulling your child out of activities that support positive and life changing improvement is not a punishment, but a failure to see the long game. Martial arts and the lifetime benefits of a role model is much more valuable to the success of your child in life than any bad grade your child will ever get. Here's why and see if you don't agree. Believe or not by the time your child is a teenager you are no longer the primary influence in their lives (it's their friends, media and their social life). I agree that you have to turn in your assignments, behave in class and participate in classroom discussions, those are a given. Grades on the other hand are individual and some students just can't grasp the concept taught at that time. Some students excel, some students get by and others are left behind. When it all shakes out in the wash, some people go to college and some work for others and a few start their own business. Which one is right and which one is wrong has nothing do with you as a parent anymore. Instead we are only their for guidance and support. Hopefully you kept your child surrounded by and involved in activities that prepare your child for life. Positive role models in your child's life will outlast your child's days in high school. The challenges your child will face in life will take a different skill set than they were taught in a classroom. A positive role model is a priceless advantage you can give to someone. Times will get tough and when they need to remember a life lesson to support them on how to get through it. Parents you will be glad that they had someone positive to look up to when this time comes. So the next time your child's report card looks a little dire remember that it may not be the best idea to remove them from a positive environment as a form of punishment.
So your son or daughter is having the best time ever with their friends outside and they hear those dread words. "Time to get ready for Karate!" All of a sudden the castles and dragons they built all day collapse, the adventures hit a brick wall, and the best day ever gets a cold bucket of make believe water thrown on it. All because of stupid Karate. The next statement by the child is time tested to get parents to given in and is "I don't like Karate anymore its boring" followed by the ever pliable parent way of thinking "well I don't want my child to things they don't like, even though I think it's really good for him or her." And so ends another martial arts students brief time in something thats really good for them followed by the post regret. Flash forward and in 15 years when we meet again the child now and adults says "you know I wish I wouldn't have quit I would be a Black Belt by now" statement. Now I wonder if the parents allow their child to apply that same logic to school (The teachers hate me, its boring, I try so hard but I still get bad grades) or to a job or vegetables, house work, relationships and on and on. Remember the other day when you were complaining about this generation of kids and how they don't do this or don't respect that? Well welcome to the mess you have enabled to a certain extent (insert sarcasm and loving smile). In fact we all have to certain degree including me forget to hold our ground from time to time. So you get where I am going with this right? Quitting isn't the answer nor is forcing them to do a healthy, positive, life changing activity like Karate. So what's the solution? About an hour or so before whatever the activity or event is start a countdown. You have 45 minutes until we leave for (insert whatever your going to do -Grocery Shopping-Sisters Ballet) Karate. Now that alone works pretty well but to go Master Level you need a bit more cunning. About 30 minutes before you get ready to leave you pick a chore your child hates and struggles with. You make them do it for that 30 minutes until it is done perfectly and correctly. No skimping or letting them off the hook by doing an okay job (I mean come one your getting a chore done)! If it takes longer than 30 minutes than of course they must keep doing the chore and another dreaded chore in place of going to Karate. Now when Karate is the saving grace from picking up dog you know what in the back yard in 85 degree temps for an hour its easier to get them to want to go. You could change it to reading, doing dishes, taking out garbage, vacuuming or cleaning the bathrooms. The choice is always theirs and they learn the value of budgeting time, doing chores (without pay) to help the family and perspective on things that positively impact their life. You won't get that from any other sport or activity, trust me. It doesn't take long to mold positive behavior but I can take a lifetime to correct the negative ones.
The other day I was struggling with a few things going on that I had no control of. I decide that I wanted to have this pity party all by my self and invite all my drama to free rent in my head. I knew I had to break the cycle and do something about it. Yard work always seems to be my biggest stress reliever so I decided to take on an epic rework of the yard. This included completely gutting and rebuilding the flower beds, painting, sprinklers, organizing the garage, dump runs and so much more. After 8 hours a day for a month the mammoth task was complete. I must say the Zen of being focused on a physical activity definitely did the trick. The yard looks great and the free rent I was giving to my drama is now a vacant lot with an amazing view. Just FYI I can now sit back and enjoy my summer look out hammock!
Its amazing how many people talk a good game but have little to show for it. Everything is about them and what they do or have done. In fact they barely remember your name or who you are and will gladly refresh your memory on their accomplishments at a moments notice. Do you know a person like this? I know plenty and often give the old nod and glassy eyed look as I hear more about nothing. Those people need to step up. If you step up then you are more engaged in what the other person is all about. Finding out about them not their stuff is really a great deal of fun. Its often said that small minds talk about people, events and gossip, while great minds talk about ideas. I think that their is some truth in that statement and no doubt that we all grow when we go forward in life together. So next time you meet a "Me Me" person interject an idea of serving others for the good of all and see if they follow you down this path to growth or get left behind. The company you keep either elevates or deflates the person you wish to become.
Its easy to be our own worst critic but difficult to be our greatest ally. When you have the opportunity to build yourself up or tear yourself down most people take the easiest route and go negative. If we loved ourselves unconditionally for the unique and awesome person we are the ability to love others freely would be simple. There will never be another you. There will never be another right now. There will never be a perfect moment or a "if only" that will make everything better. It is is all on your shoulders and whatever awesome sauce you bring today, I hope you brought enough for the whole class. Start small so you can go big and acknowledge your progress on your new adventure in learning to love and accept yourself. If you don't think you can do it your probably right, but if you believe the opposite than your right as well. The choice will always be yours and yours alone.
I think I may have heard that statement a million times in my teenage years, but they were right. In my recent Facebook post I talked about the power of meditation. Now before you roll your eyes or tune me out make sure you google famous people that use meditation. I'll wait.........................and there you go. If you have a lame excuse why you can't spend 10 minutes a day on meditation I think you should hang on to that excuse with all that you got. There are probably bigger problems to tackle then, stress reduction, physical and mental health, more energy, being kinder, letting little things go, loving your family more and so on. In fact I would guess that what ever you are facing keeps you successfully stuck in a painful yet comfortable situation and meditation would only move you beyond that comfortableness. Just food for thought. I will now remove my tongue from my cheek and get off my soap box so I can meditate.
I used to get jealous of others success when I was younger. In fact I used to think that successful people were super smart, or even worse they were given their "success". As I have grown as a person I have learned that their is enough success for everyone. In fact if some else can do it that means so can I. To even take it to another level, I have become excited to see other people grow and reach their dreams. Another persons success means that the only thing to ever stop me will be me. If you really are passionate about what you do and it provides a benefit to others than you have a great start to following your ambitions and dreams. Their are plenty of good ideas and services left in the world and the energy you bring to them will set you apart. Being jealous is never a good option, but the lessons we learn from our short comings are. As the old adage goes life doesn't happen to us, life happens for us.