I know super controversial but not the way I am going to talk about it. Regardless of how you feel about the history of Thanksgiving it's important to know that how we perceive it toady in our current culture is a bit askew. The fact that we have to have a day of reflection to remember our blessings seems odd to me. If it's a time to gather family together and celebrate the beginning of the holiday season that seems odd to me too. I firmly believe that we need to live in the present. Tomorrow as they say is never promised. If you are not living daily with gratitude and spending time with your loved ones often then it's time to reflect on what's important. Value isn't a reflection of worth. The priceless memories I have stored in my noggin are probably the simplest most spontaneous moments that just happened because I was engaged and present in the moment. If your trying to create a memory you should rethink your position. Creating is done because the thing you desire is not present. Living is what we do effortlessly because that's what we are here in this moment to do. Think about the moments you share and make those the memories that endure. I hope you have a day that you are grateful for because of the priceless interactions and joyful celebration of just being together not because the calendar said so.
In our area there are some awesome martial arts schools. We are pretty lucky to have so many talented people in such a small area. I know that people often want to compare one school to another and have that sort of pride about where they train. It's a slippery slope though. We all teach the same kicks, blocks and punches for the most part. I would even dare to say that we all try and teach the same values that make martial arts so great. Every now and then I will hear some rumblings of students that are unhappy and glad they found us. That to me is really cool in the fact that they love martial arts so much to continue it just wasn't the right fit. Just remember there is plenty of room for great schools in Spokane and each one has something to offer. Schools will come and go and that's for variety of reasons such as lack of business skills, ego, poor customer service and so on. Don't judge anyone on technique or about teaching instead get back to me in 20 years and see what sort of people were produced from their martial arts training.
I have been very blessed to have some great mentors and coaches in my life. Now some were amazing people and martial artists and others were well, were not so good. They each taught me lessons on what was possible. Both groups the good and the bad had a positive contribution on my personal growth and development. Sometimes when you have something in your life that is so opposing to your goals you can't help but to work harder to move on from it. Sometimes you learn more in a single lesson than in a year of training. It goes like that. We look for the home run each time we get a chance to shine. Instead we should look for lessons in our failures and our foibles. Those are the lessons that sting the most but move us forward to what we really wan. Either way we still learn.
I remember the days of doing a potluck dinner after each belt testing and that was pretty cool. After a while we did bowling and movies but they were really hard to organize. About 5 years ago we decided to try something a bit different and try a nerf themed game night. We ran secret missions and had target practice and it was awesome! We since expanded those ideas to other types of monthly events and every now and then friends can attend. Many karate schools use these type of events to network for new students. We instead use it as an event to build a stronger rapport with our students and parents. I look at it as our students are family and not a source of limitless connections to other potential students. It may not make sense in the world of business but it does make sense when I know that what I am doing is more than an activity and is something special. We have two more camps before the end of the year! You should try one they are so much fun!
Our students are pretty special to us. In fact they are like family and we treat them as such. When a student comes into our class and signs up their first assignment is a task sheet that teaches them responsibility around their home. Parents love this idea and we love it because it teaches gratitude and responsibility right off the bat. Those are values everyone should share and appreciate and it makes sense to start there when teaching martial arts. I hope that making them aware that this activity is very special and involves much more than just kicking and punching from the start has an impact. When we teach class the goal is to bring out the best in the student and making them aware that they can do whatever they want in life through hard work, integrity and dedication. This is requires a lot of fun and a positive attitude throughout this goal setting process. I often smile to myself as I watch our students grow and gain more confidence in who they are and their abilities. To me that is great part about marital arts and the best part of being a teacher.
This is one of the toughest question a parent has to answer. The majority of parents that I have had to talk to or call about bullying my daughter were shocked. The parents listened to what happened to my daughter during the conversation 90% of the time they apologize, have their child apologize and it never happens again. Now please understand that when I call a parent that means we have worked on this issue as a family for a bit. We have let our daughter handle it and we have given her advice and when it gets to this point of calling it means that we need to have this stop immediately. Like I mentioned above that usually take cares of the situation and we each go along with our lives. My daughter is not engage or tease (she wouldn't) the child that was being inappropriate but instead they are given a fresh start. To some folks we may look like we are being naive but it's quite the opposite. We are doing what's right when other people may be wrong. After all we all make mistakes and sometimes they warrant a second chance......sometimes. Very rarely do we have a child come to our school that is a bully. When a bully does enter our school we lay down the rules about martial arts the first class like we do for all students. At that point if they really love being in class it is their responsibility to show me that they deserve to be there and that the past is just that, the past. When a child won't change they work themselves out of the program pretty quickly because personal growth and responsibility can not be hidden from me for long. Our success for changing peoples lives has little to do with me and more to do with the person that wanted to change. Since I believe that love and kindness are the cure for almost everything a child may struggle with I lead with the option of better choices for a better life. So if your child is a bully the most important thing you can do is to be honest with yourself and not make excuses for inappropriate behavior so you can help fix it and not add to the problem. Until next time Master T
For the month of October we have put out 3 different sources of material each week on bully prevention. We are also working in class on non violent methods of handling bullying Many of those posts have been shared and passed along to those in need. We even did an interview with a Spokane Valley teacher to give a different perspective on how they are handling bullying in school. The reason for not knowing what to do or how to handle bullying effectively are being answered by many people across the country everyday. Join us to make our community stronger and end senseless acts of physical, emotional and verbal abuse in school and in life. We stand strong and we are ready to help anyway we can. I'm curious to hear your stories on what your doing to help. Make others aware and end the silent suffering by commenting below. Take care, Master T
The whole month of October is dedicated to Bully Prevention across our country. As a school we focus on this topic quite a bit, but set a side October and March to really focus on the issue. Over the next month we will be posting free information to help parents find resources for their child. We have been advocates for children's rights and safety for over 30 years. Please join us in sharing this information so no child must suffer in silence. Thank you Master T
I am not going to lie. After 39 years of teaching martial arts my first name (Brent) sounds weird when people call me by it. I know that may seem strange so I make a joke out of it in class. If someone answers me with Yep or Uh huh I often say those are my cousins from down south or Canada. It's not an ego thing mind you, it's a matter of simple courtesy. I never in a million years would have thought calling me by my first name would do have made me feel strange. Sir, Mr. Tibbetts, Master T are all the norm to me. At home I never hear my name it's always Dad, honey, sweetheart and so on. I guess because nobody ever calls me by Brent that when I do hear my name it makes me ignore it at times. Not on purpose but because it seems like it's maybe somebody else they are talking to. In a way being of service to others has made me lose my name and I kind of like it!
It's tough to make friends. It's even tougher to make good friends. One of the big changes we have made in the past five years at our school is to understand that socially things have changed dramatically. It's not for me to judge whether it's good or bad that things have changed, but to instead adapt to my students needs. I recognized that many of my students struggled to make friends outside of class. We decided to tackle that issue head on and here is what we did. We decided that we would have more activities at our school that invited the friends of our students. We broke them up by age so that they could relate to others in their peer group more easily and just had fun. The other unique thing we do is that we did not market or try and recruit them as students. Did that get you to scratch your head a bit? I know it fly's in the face of conventional marketing wisdom, but at the the same time it makes for a different experience for both the new friends and our school. It's honest and it's a great service to help our students interact with others they may never meet. Socializing is now something that is focused on in each and every class because martial arts should go beyond just kicking and punching. Until next Master T