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.”
As the countdown continues toward the end of the school year, it’s time for honors to be bestowed upon those who, for whatever reason, accomplished something.
The annual Awards Assembly (what it is called may vary, but what it is rarely does) is that special time when students receive recognition and parents get a measure of validation.
It may be for achievements such as: perfect attendance, academic excellence, athletics, citizenship, musical skills, safety patrol, student newspaper, yearbook, home economics, math challenge, debate, class officers, physical fitness, reading challenge, office assistant, film assistant, library helper, student athletic manager … (add your own here).
The honors seem to increase as the student ages and moves forward through mid-high (or, junior high as it was in my era) and high school. Especially in high school, you see some that have monetary value: scholarships.
In my high school, there were more than 500 awards, including scholarships, presented during the specia assembly my senior year. That was to a large extent due to having a major corporation in town that was very community-oriented and education-minded.
All the awards were important. Students enjoyed the praise and recognition. Parents also enjoy seeing their children honored. It’s a mark of success, an indication that something was done right and all can be proud of it.
So if you’re sitting there in the audience as Little Susie get her certificate for straight A’s, or Little Johnny picks up the Outstanding Basketball Player Award before your child’s name is called for his or her honors, just be patient and enjoy the moment.
Those memories are worth the wait.
See more about being a parent at knowit.newsok.com/parenting-oklahoma.
“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.
They’re boosting my appreciation for professional athletes.
I’ve heard that it’s in the contract of each NBA player and coach that he must do community-oriented things, such as promotions and charity work, in the city where he plays.
Well, it may be a “have to” situation, but it sure seems Oklahoma City Thunder team members are contributing time and effort happily.
I’ve seen numerous video and photo images of these guys working on local projects, such as repairing or building homes, visiting disabled individuals, working with underprivileged children, or taking part in activities in areas of our metro area where celebrities are rarely seen.
I would much rather see these images rather than some high-paid superstar who has gotten in hot water for stealing jewelry at a shopping mall, beaten up someone, or become mixed up in drugs.
Sure, these things happen to all segments of society. But the negative images have an effect on those who idolize celebrities, particularly, it seems these days, on athletes.
These who do help out in their communities, who contribute time and effort, who care about those who support them are viewed as heroes as much as they are on the court.
If you want a good recent example, see the story on Serge Ibaka in “know it: Charity.” Here’s a man who has scored big with children, teachers and his community.
For that, we should say, “Thank you.”