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Posts Tagged ‘Kids’

Think Like a Super Hero

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

Parents often ask if the martial arts will help or hurt their already aggressive-behaving child.

I understand the parents’ concern, particularly in the way Hollywood portrays the martial arts. Often a violent cartoon or “kid’s” program showing bloody martial arts fight scenes is all a mom sees. So when little Taylor asks if he can do karate, Mom has visions of her beloved son flipping through the air with razor-sharp swords killing ninjas.

But in my fifteen years of teaching experience, I’ve yet to have a student whose aggressive behavior escalated after beginning martial arts training. Actually, I’ve noticed—along with the parents—the child’s aggressive behavior diminish and I’ve yet to hear any of my law enforcement students and friends tell me of a crime-spree involving a kid kung fu master.

On the flip side, I’ve seen very introverted children become more confident and outgoing after training in the martial arts.

True martial arts is all about self-discipline and respect for self and others. The physical side of it gives aggressive children a positive physical outlet.

In researching juvenile crime statistics involving the martial arts, all I discovered were positive articles of martial arts reducing aggressive behavior in children and teens.

One was a Texas A & M University study that showed a significant decrease in aggressive behavior of delinquent youths after they trained in the Korean martial art, Tae kwon do, for just six short months. The title of the study was Martial Arts Training: A novel “cure” for juvenile delinquency. The title alone is pretty powerful.

Yes, the martial arts are comprised of punches, kicks, and throws – violent actions, but one of my favorite teaching techniques is telling the students to think like a super hero. I ask them; just because Batman has the skills to beat people up, does he do it to every one? “Only to the bad-guys,” they shout back to me, “like the Joker!” I explain to them that knowing martial arts is exactly like having a super power and they should treat it as such, just like Batman, and only use it in times of danger and self-defense. During class we reinforce this principle with role-play of how and when the student’s kung fu powers should be used.

This example totally clicks with a child’s imagination and empowers them as well. They think, “Wow, I’m kinda like Spiderman or Batgirl. That’s cool!” Many children in my classes even quote Uncle Ben from the movie Spiderman: “With much power comes much responsibility.” That is what martial arts is all about.

Stretched Thin

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

I have been asked several times “How do you balance Kung Fu and your normal life?” For several years now, I can not separate Kung Fu from my “normal life”… its one and the same. But I completely understand why the question is asked. The more applicable question is actually “How do you fit Kung Fu training into your normal day-to-day routine?

Now that can be a difficult question to answer, as each of us are different. Instead of telling you how you should incorporate it into your routine, I will share with you how I have in my own life.

I am a very busy person. I have a job that works me at least 40 hours a week, usually more, and requires travel that has lasted months before. I also have a wonderful wife and daughter (and expecting another in Sept). I also have all of my family and friends, and quite a few hobbies and projects ( not counting honey-dos and daddy could yous). On top of all of that, I learn and teach Kung Fu. Needless to day, I don’t get to be lazy very often.

Fitting Kung Fu in is not easy. I try to come to class and meet up with my Kung Fu brothers and sisters for hands as often as I can. But for the most part, my training is solo, intermixed throughout the day. I try to start and end every day with some Kung Fu. A good stretch in the morning, roll out of bed, maybe do a little horse stance while brushing my teeth, then the last few moves of the form I am learning before getting dressed for work. The morning drive usually entails me going through a form or one of our fighting drills in my head several times. At work, I try to take a morning and afternoon break, and maybe take a brisk walk around the parking lot a couple times to get the blood and muscles moving. Perhaps running a form through my head, sometimes stopping to physically work a move, pondering applications. Lunch time is usually relaxing with a book, but if it’s getting close to test time, or I need a different kind of relaxing, its form time, either at the school (less than 5 min from work), or in the parking lot.

Evenings are usually the best and worst times to fit in the Fu. I try to take an hour or two a week and play through my forms in the back yard, but it can be hard. It may be 9:30 or 10:30 before I can even start, and after a long day, feeling exhausted, it can be difficult to actually get out and do it. But it is so very rewarding when I do. If I don’t get a chance to get outside, then I will play a form or two before showering (or while in the shower), then some more horse stance while brushing the teeth. After that, laying in bed, I will work for a bit on feeling/controlling my Chi. Many times the last thing to go through my head at night is Kung Fu related.

It all comes down to fitting it in wherever you can, however you can. This usually requires some sort of sacrifice of doing something else, from watching TV, to sleeping, or another hobby. By and far, though, the greatest asset to my Kung Fu outside of the school is my wonderful supportive wife. It was actually her urging, many years ago, that got me to visit Tyler Kung Fu and Fitness, which greatly changed my life for the better.

So to all of the Kung Fu wives, husbands, parents, and children who support your loved ones Kung Fu aspirations; THANK YOU. For without, you, we could not do this which brings us so much happiness!

Key Words

Monday, December 7th, 2009

Ninety-five percent of the time, I keep a positive attitude and try to focus on the good things in life. Recently however, I learned of a situation that reminded me of just how wicked this world is.

The incident was between two second-graders, a boy and a girl. (Keep in mind as I tell you this, these kids are only SEVEN years old). At the lunch table, the boy asked the little girl to marry him . . . so that he could have sex with her. She said no!

Later that afternoon, he asked the same question; same answer from her, he says think about or you’ll be sorry. Next day, same happens, this time in the classroom. She says no, and the boy says, “I’m gonna tie a rock to your head and rip out your hair for saying no.” She tells the teacher Boy is bothering her, and teacher tells her to ignore him.

Following day, again in the lunchroom, the cycle continues but this time it gets physical. Boy grabs girl from behind and squeezes her. She screams STOP, tells the teacher Boy is bothering her, teacher says ignore him. Back in the classroom, Boy threatens Girl again, this time in a much more violent way with extremely graphic details. So much so, that I was too uncomfortable writing it here. Girl quickly backs away from him and threatens to tell her daddy. Boy says that he’ll just chop off the daddy’s head.

Girl did tell her parents, and after parent/teacher/principal conference, the incident was investigated. Turns out, a neighbor of the family had abused the little boy.

Evil begets evil.

More girls came forward with similar stories about Boy. Boy was removed from school for a week and assigned to a different classroom, with the requirement of seeing a counselor.

You’re probably saying, “What’s the teacher’s problem. Why didn’t she do something when Girl told?” In her defense, second-graders tattle on each other about a thousand times per day, and the girl only said bothering me.

Hearing about all this, I learned that there are certain KEY words a child must use to let the teacher know the situation is serious. Inform your children to use words, nasty, sex, serious, threatening, and or say, “so-n-so is talking about hurting me with a weapon”, “so-n-so touched me in a private spot” or “he’s saying stuff about naked people.”

I know, it’s not words we as parents necessarily want to discuss with our small children, but as the above story proves, society forces our hand. It’s our job to protect them however we can. Girl did involve her parents and that was absolutely the right action.

Please encourage your children to tell you things. It could save their little life.

Kids are Sponges

Friday, December 12th, 2008

My son will be six in January, and he has been in the Little Mantis Kung Fu class at TKKF for 24 weeks. A couple days ago, my family and a friend of my son were at a school event when I was shocked at what my son was doing. He was teaching his friend some of the techniques that he had learned in his Kung Fu class.

I was blown away. He was telling his friend, “This is what you do if someone grabs you, this is what you do if they grab your arm, this is what you do if they pick you up, and then you run. That’s called Stanger Danger.” I was so proud. He told his friend, “First you palm strike, then push kick, then run, and you can elbow, and you can snap kick, and you can block, and you can double block, but then you run for help.” His friend was doing the techniques with him, and of course my son had to interrupt from time to time to correct his form.

Kids are sponges. Why not let them absorb the knowledge of what to do if confronted by a stranger? He is always coming home and telling me, “Grab my shoulder.”, and before I know it I’m getting kicked in the leg and punched in the stomach. He says, “That’s what you do if a stranger grabs you, then you run.”

That is what Sifu Brandon Jones teaches in the Little Mantis Class, Stranger Danger. I’ve peeked in on many of my son’s classes and Sifu Jones truly loves what he does. The kids are learning self protection by acting through dangerous situations and having a blast at the same time.

Come to TKKF and see how your child can learn to protect themselves if a dangerous situation with a stranger should ever arise, and while they are learning, they’ll be having so much fun, that they don’t even know they’re soaking up this knowledge.