People often view the martial arts as simply a youth activity. But the reality is there are many useful benefits and applications that can be taken from the martial arts and used by adults as well. Over the next few weeks, we’ll explore how the martial arts can improve your performance in your professional life. Whether you are a small business owner, employee, or chief executive officer of a major company, there are many aspects of the martial arts that can help you improve your personal performance as well as the performance of your team.
One of the most important and impactful characteristics gained through the martial arts is self-confidence. Regardless of your age or profession, self-confidence is a key ingredient to success. The self-confident employee is going to be more likely to make suggestions to their supervisor for process improvements. The self-confident small business owner is more likely to take the necessary risks that will create long-term success for their business. And the self-confident CEO will more easily gain the trust and respect from employees during times of change.
The martial arts offer a great way to help individuals increase their self-confidence. Activities such as board breaking are great for helping individuals feel empowered and conquering a sense of the unknown. In addition, forms, belt promotions, and even the physical fitness aspects of martial arts training allow individuals to feel better about themselves and what they can accomplish. And every good martial arts school will remind their students that what they learn on the mats should impact other areas of their lives as well.
If you, an employee, or co-worker is struggling with low self-confidence, consider the benefits of a martial arts training program. Not only will the individual gain from it, but so will your business.
This is the first in a series of posts about how the martial arts can have a positive impact on an individual’s professional life.
James Davenport is co-owner of All American Martial Arts, which is located in Del City.
School returns in less than a month. Is your child ready? The first quarter of the school year is generally devoted to “reviewing” previous material because children have simply forgotten much of what they learned. In addition, children have to mentally adjust to the school regimen. After a summer of play and fun, students, in many instances, have to re-learn the ability to focus and process new information.
If your child hasn’t had the benefit of a summer program that kept them active mentally as well as physically, this process can be a frustrating time for them, you, and their teacher. However, it isn’t too late to start preparing them for the upcoming school year. And this doesn’t require setting them down with a math or history textbook.
The goal is to help your child develop strong mental processes that will allow them to learn new material quickly. Surprising as it seems, this may mean more physical activity than book reading. Optometrist Carolanne Roach, owner of the Brain and Eye Connection Vision Clinic, explains the importance of physical activity to mental development. “In our society children move less and less. They sit in front of a TV or computer for a majority of the day. This lack of movement delays their brain’s development and hinders their ability to learn,” says Dr. Roach. “Movement, coordination, and balance skills are the foundation for academic learning. Movement also keeps the body healthier so the brain can properly function and learn,” she continues.
For younger students, physical play is often exactly what is needed. For older students, physical activity that requires them to learn new skills or information will give them an advantage when school starts and they are trying to focus on the new information they are being asked to process.
There are a variety of options available to parents to help ensure their children are prepared for the upcoming school year. The best part is, they won’t be complaining about having to do “homework” prior to the start of school. Finding an activity that will engage their minds and bodies is the key. As Dr. Roach states, “Physical activity helps the brain build the foundations for academic learning. By understanding space and how to move through it, the brain can use vision, eye-hand coordination, and motor planning skills needed for learning math, writing, reading, and critical thinking skills.”
James Davenport is the co-owner of All American Martial Arts, located in Del City.
A recent post by Brandon Dutcher on the Choice Remarks blog again highlights the growing concern about the effects of bullying in our schools. You can read Dutcher’s post here. We at All American Martial Arts share the concern about the safety of our children while in school.
If you have not researched this issue, the numbers can be quite startling. Below are the results from research conducted by various organizations both nationally and in Oklahoma:
- Nearly 50% of students are bullied at least once in elementary or middle school
- Nearly 1/3 of all students ages 12 – 18 reported being bullied in 2007
- “Pack” bullying is more common in high school and lasts for a longer period of time
- 160,000 students miss school each day due to fear of being bullied
- 282,000 students are attacked each year in secondary schools
- 46% of males and 26% of females report being in a physical fight during school
- 1/3 of Oklahoma students report being involved in incidents of bullying
- 12% of Oklahoma elementary and middle school students admitted to bullying other students
- 60% of middle school bullies have at least one criminal conviction by age 24
- 71% of school shooters identified bullying as a motivating factor
From the Oklahoma Department of Health
- 69% of 7th graders, 54% of 5th graders, and 40% of 3rd graders reported that bullying occurred daily or weekly in their school
- Most common places bullying occurs: 1. Playground, 2. School Bus, 3. Halls, 4. Bathrooms, 5. Classrooms
- 20% of Oklahoma elementary and middle school students worry often about bullying
- Only 34% of Oklahoma elementary or middle school students reported assisting someone who was being bullied.
Although June is just now ending, school will begin for many children in slightly over a month. What can you do to protect your child from bullying? Here are some quick suggestions:
- Help your child build a strong self-confidence (children with a healthy self-confidence are less likely to be bullied than others)
- Help them develop effective conflict resolution skills
- Teach them to become aware of their surroundings and how to avoid a potential conflict before it occurs
- Enroll them in a self-defense program – No child should be taught that fighting is good. However, they should not expected to simply be a victim either.
Bullying is a real issue our school children are facing. And its impact our our children’s lives is becoming more costly. Parents should provide their children with the knowledge and skills to handle bullying before their child becomes a victim.
James Davenport is c0-owner of All American Martial Arts, located in Del City.
“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” – Vince Lombardi
At All American Martial Arts we have four current students who have earned the title “National Champion” from the Amateur Athletic Union’s National Taekwondo Championships. One has earned that title twice. However, they will be the first to tell you it was a team effort that made that accomplishment possible.
Instructors, family, sparring partners and others all contributed to the effort that allowed them to compete and win at the highest level. But the same is true of every other area of our lives. Author and leadership expert John Maxwell has said, “No great accomplishment has ever been achieved by an individual.” We all have teams around us.
In visiting with young students, we often remind them that their families are teams also. We help emphasize the importance of being a good “teammate” at home. The same is true for adults as well.
Whenever we hear the word “team” it is natural to think of our favorite sports team. However, the same principles that help those teams to win championships are necessary for us to achieve success at home, at work, and in society.
Personal sacrifice, commitment to a common goal, dedication to improve, accountability, and perseverance are all attributes we see in championship teams, whether they be a football team, a major corporation, a community organization, or a family.
How well your team performs will be determined by the integrity each teammate displays towards achieving team goals. What kind of teammate are you? Do you display the characteristics of a champion in your daily life? Or do you just try to get by, only worrying about how to improve your personal position in the organization?
The first step in building a good team is dedicating yourself to being a good teammate. Want to create a winning team at home, at work, and in your community? Commit yourself to being the best possible teammate. Doing so will inspire others to do the same. Before you know it, you will have achieved those goals, too. And you can truly lay claim to the title “Champion.”
James Davenport is co-owner of All American Martial Arts which is located in Del City.
At All American Martial Arts, we pride ourselves on teaching real-world, practical, and effective self-defense techniques. While we hope none of our students ever have to use them, we recognize that some will. We want them to be prepared and have the knowledge and skills to protect themselves. Regardless of age, we teach our students to avoid a physical confrontation if possible, but don’t be a victim.
However, the reality is that the most effective self-defense tools you have are your eyes, ears, and brain. Knowing when danger is present, finding a route to escape or avoid it, and paying attention to your surroundings can keep you out of harm’s way more effectively than your hands and feet.
Awareness is just as much a skill as executing a a roundhouse kick or a
backfist. And you can develop it with practice just like those physical skills. Awareness can be developed at the store, the park or the office.
It doesn’t take a black belt to increase your awareness and recognition skills. It simply takes effort and diligence. And these skills can help keep you from having to use the more physical skills taught by the
martial arts. Howevere, if you do have to use physical techniques, well-developed awareness and recognition skills will still provide you an advantage.
The summer is here, school’s out, and now you are wondering how to keep your child active mentally and physically. There are a variety of quality summer programs available to help ensure your child is spending the summer on the couch with the XBox, or hanging out with kids you’d prefer he or she not be around. But how do you choose the best, from so many options?
Here’s a quick checklist we’ve developed of items to consider when choosing the right summer program for your child:
- Physical Exercise - Child obesity is at epidemic levels both in Oklahoma and across the country. If your child isn’t involved in an organized sports activity or regular exercise program, don’t let the summer be a time of physical inactivity. Find a program that will help keep them healthy physically.
- Mental Exercise – Just because school is out, your child’s brain shouldn’t go on vacation. In fact, students who keep active mentally over the summer tend to have an easier time transitioning back into school in the fall and need less “review” time. This doesn’t mean that your child should be sitting at a desk and doing math and English, but it does mean a good summer program that keeps their mind active and engaged will produce great results once school resumes.
- Character Development – As parents, we all know the importance of our children developing the right character traits. Self-confidence, respect, courtesy, self-discipline, and integrity are important in every aspect of our lives. Finding a program that will actively reinforce the values you are trying to instill in your child will help them learn and practice those traits at home, school, and on the playground.
- Convenience – You want a program that fits your schedule. If it is a struggle to get your child to it each day, it will be far to easy to abandon it. Finding one that is near your home or place of work will also help keep you committed to keeping your child in the program.
- Professionalism of Staff – Are they friendly? Do they interact with your child well? Do they keep you informed of the activities your child is participating in?
- Enjoyment – Does your child have fun while they are there? Learning doesn’t have to be boring. When you pick your child up, are they excited about what they did that day? Do they have a smile on their face. Or do they look bored or feel like they didn’t receive enough attention? If your child isn’t having fun, you’re going to find it a battle to get them to keep participating in the program.
- Cost – Of course, the price of the program will have an impact on whether or not your child can participate. In today’s economy, people are still looking for a good deal. But don’t just look at the price alone. Evaluate what you and your child are getting in return. A good program that is fairly priced and provides most of the elements listed above, will be well worth the money you invest in it.
We hope you and your child have a happy, safe, and fun summer. Help your son or daughter keep active mentally and physically by finding a program they will enjoy and benefit from. Doing so will ensure they enjoy their summer break and are prepared to return to school in fall.
One of the most difficult challenges of modern life is the ability to focus. We often hear about the importance of multi-tasking – doing more than one thing at a time. However, so much of life today seems to be a constant multi-task it is often difficult to get anything accomplished well.
Latin writer Publius Syrus wrote, “To do two things at once is to do neither.” Grandmaster James Ray of
All American Martial Arts reinforces this thought with his students when he often says, “The brain can only focus on one thing at a time.” This is an important element to the self-defense strategies he teaches.
Technology has increased the speed of communications in our society, and many have come to believe it should also increase the number of tasks we are able to complete at once. However, the lost art of concentration is a critical ingredient to success. To devote our entire attention to the task at hand, to the goal of most importance, is what allows us to accomplish it successfully.
The Martial Arts are a great way of re-learning or reinforcing the skill of concentration. Katas, board breaking, basic movements, as well as a variety of other activities help focus the mind and clear away distractions. They strengthen the practitioner’s ability to achieve the exceptional by harnessing the mind’s complete attention on the object in front of it.
The next time you are tempted to fallinto the trap of multi-tasking, remember the words of Arnold Palmer: “The secret of concentration is the secret of self-discovery. You reach inside yourself to discover your personal resources, and what it takes to match them to the challenge.”
“When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.” – Roy Disney
Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to make important decisions if you are unclear on your priorities? If you are having trouble choosing between various courses of action, you may want to reexamine your values. It may be a situation in which you simply need to remind yourself what is most important to you. Or, it may be that you need to revise those priorities based on new information, an important experience, or changing circumstances.
In Taekwondo we have five chief tenets: 1) Courtesy; 2) Integrity; 3) Perseverance; 4) Self-Control; and 5) Indomitable Spirit. These are our values. They guide us not only in how we conduct ourselves on the training mats, but also in how we conduct ourselves at home, at school, at the office, or anywhere else we find ourselves. These tenets serves as anchors for our actions.
When these values are at the forefront of our minds, making hard decisions becomes easier. Will the proposed action confirm, affirm, or reinforce those five values? Then it is easier to choose it. If the proposed action doesn’t conform to these priorities, it is also easier to avoid it. Regardless, having this clear set of values makes decision making more efficient and effective.
If you are finding it difficult to make a particular decision, examine your core values and determine how your decision will interact with them. If you haven’t specifically defined your core values, spend some time doing so. You’ll find it makes your ability to accomplish your goals much easier.