Previously Published Newsletter Articles
What Can Martial Arts Do For You?
Anyone who has ever volunteered for any cause can tell you that in the end, they felt that they gained more from the experience than they gave. This is true for most examples of reaching out to help others. We find that we gain new insights about not only those we help, but ourselves as well. Instilling the importance of helping others in every martial arts student will benefit that student both inside and outside of the class.
Helping others strengthens families. Families that practice the belief of working together and helping each other prepare their children for the concept of teamwork outside of the home environment. By learning to help around the house through activities such as household chores, baby-sitting and keeping a tidy bedroom, children learn valuable lessons that they carry with them to their future workplaces and in future relationships.
By helping others outside of the home environment, valuable friendships can be forged. When we learn to reach out to others and give of our time and talents we find that our friendships grow, which in turn is a benefit to our lives. Martial arts training supports this by exposing students to people of various backgrounds and beliefs that gather for a common goal and to help each other. Any time a group of people are working toward a common goal, team spirit inevitably forms. When we help each other in the martial arts setting and in every area of our lives, a camaraderie is formed that fosters teamwork.
The most important thing to realize is that it does not take a lot to make a lot happen. Little things can make a big difference in the area of helping others. Simple gestures of kindness and support given frequently can build a strong base for the growth and development of each individual which leads to the success of all.
Becoming physically fit will enhance the quality and number of years ahead. However, with our busy schedules, there just isn't enough time to make a fitness plan work. Making the time means setting priorities, 'sneaking' extra activities into your daily routines and scheduling fitness time as you would any other important event in your day.
Making Fitness a Priority Health is the most important aspect of our lives. Deciding to stay fit is our way of ensuring future happiness. Exercising 2-3 hours per week isn't much to ask to ensure a physically fit future.
Activating Your Daily Routine Only five minutes of extra movement here and there can add up to a more active lifestyle. Try some of these tips to activate your routine: Use the stairs instead of the elevator; walk or bicycle instead of driving; hand deliver messages at work rather than by phone; and so on. With a little creativity you'll come up with dozens of ways to activate your routine.
Scheduling Time for Fitness Treat your fitness time like you would an important meeting. Many business people have traded the "business lunch" for a workout at martial arts. Take a brisk walk during your lunch break. Instead of a coffee break, take a stretch break. Whatever you do, stick to the routine!
There's No Time Like Now There's every reason to do something good for yourself now. Making fitness a priority, setting aside a few hours a week, and sneaking in activities will make your fitter, happier and more productive.
Chicken Soup for the Kid's Soul
Anne sat at the breakfast table, eating her cornflakes and reading the print on the cereal box in front of her. "Tastee Cornflakes--Great New Offer!" the box read. "See back of box for details." Anne's older sister, Mary, sat across from her, reading the other side of the cereal box. "Hey, Anne," she said, "look at this awesome prize--your name in gold."
As Mary read on, Anne's interest in the prize grew. "Just send in one dollar with proof-of-purchase seal from this box and spell out your first name on the information blank. We will send you a special pin with your name spelled in gold. (Only one per family, please.)"
Anne grabbed the box and looked on the back, her eyes brightening with excitement. The name Jennifer was spelled out in sparkling gold. "That's a neat idea," she said. "A pin with my very own name spelled out in gold. I'm going to send in for it." "Sorry, Anne, I saw it first," said Mary, "so I get first dibs on it. Besides, you don't have a dollar to send in, and I do." "But I want a pin like that so badly," said Anne. "Please let me have it!" "Nope," said her sister. "You always get your way--just because you're older than me," said Anne, her lower lip trembling as her eyes filled with tears. "Just go ahead and send in for it. See if I care!" She threw down her spoon and ran from the kitchen.
Several weeks passed. One day the mailman brought a small package addressed to Mary. Anne was dying to see the pin, but she wouldn't let Mary know how eager she was. Mary took the package to her room. Anne casually followed her in and sat on the bed.
"Well, I guess they sent you your pin. I sure hope you like it," Anne said in a mean voice. Mary slowly took the paper off the package. She opened a little white box and carefully lifted off the top layer of white cotton. "Oh , it's beautiful!" Mary said. "Just like the cereal box said, your name in gold. Four beautiful letters. Would you like to see it, Anne?" "No, I don't care about your dumb old pin." Mary put the white box on the dresser and went downstairs.
Anne was alone in the bedroom. Soon she couldn't wait any longer, so she walked over to the dresser. As she looked in the small white box, she gasped. Mixed feelings of love for her sister and shame at herself welled up within her, and the pin became a sparkling gold blur through her tears. There on the pin were four beautiful letters--her name in gold: A-N-N-E.
Chicken Soup for the Kid's Soul
Is someone who keeps promises, tells the truth, makes time
for you and is someone to laugh with.
Will always say that you look great--even if you don't.
Will tell you if you have something in your teeth.
Never tells a secret they promise not to tell. Doesn't talk
about you to other friends. Is forever and for life.
Is someone who will share lunch with you if you forgot
Helps you get up when you fall at the roller-skating rink.
Will give you the last bite of their candy bar.
Like you for who you are and not what you look like,
because that is what really matters.
Doesn't laugh when someone makes a mean joke about you.
Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what
you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.
During summer vacations, I would volunteer at the vet's, so I'd seen a lot of dogs. Minnie was by far the funniest-looking dog I'd ever seen. Thin curly hair barely covered her sausage-shaped body. Her bugged-out eyes always seemed surprised. An her tail looked like a rat's tail.
She was brought to the vet to be put to sleep because her owners didn't want her anymore. I thought Minnie had a sweet personality, though. No one should judge her by her looks, I thought. So the vet spayed her and gave her the necessary shots. Finally, I advertised Minnie in the local paper: "Funny-looking dog, well behaved, needs loving family."
When a young man called, I warned him that Minnie was strange looking. The boy on the phone told me that his grandfather's sixteen-year-old dog had just died. They wanted Minnie no matter what. I gave Minnie a good bath and fluffed up what was left of her scraggly hair. Then we waited for them to arrive.
At last, an old car drove up in front of the vet's. Two kids raced to the door. They scooped Minnie into their arms and rushed her out to their grandfather, who was waiting in the car. I hurried behind them to see his reaction to Minnie.
Inside the car, the grandfather cradled Minnie in his arms and stroked her soft hair. She licked his face. Her rattail wagged around so quickly that it looked like it might fly off her body. it was love at first lick.
"She's perfect!" the old man exclaimed.
I was thankful that Minnie had found the good home that she deserved.
That's when I saw that the grandfather's eyes were a milky white color-he was blind.
Chicken Soup for the Kid's Soul
The athletes had come from all over the
The spectators gathered around the old field
The blocks were all lined up for those who would use them
The signal was given, the pistol exploded
He gave out a cry in frustration and anguish
The eight other runners pulled up on their heels
Then all the nine runners joined hands and continued
That's how the race ended, with nine gold medals
I expect to pass through life but
once. If therefore, there can be any kindness
One day, when I was five, I went to a local park with my mom. While I was playing in the sandbox, I noticed a boy about my age in a wheelchair. I went over to him and asked if he could play. Since I was only five, I couldn't understand why he couldn't just get in the sandbox and play with me. He told me he couldn't. I talked to him for a while longer, then I took my large bucket, scooped up as much sand as I could and dumped it into his lap. Then I grabbed some toys and put them in his lap, too.
My mom rushed over and said, "Lucas, why did you do that?"
I looked at her and replied, "He couldn't play in the sandbox with me, so I brought the sand to him. Now we can play in the sand together."
Lucas Parker, age 11
Chicken Soup for the Kid's Soul
"Mom, Kerry just crawled through the plans for my invention, and her leg brace ripped it up!" shouted Jessica.
"You know you can't spread out your work on the floor when she's around," said her mother. "Just be thankful she can crawl at all."
I'm so tired of hearing about poor little Kerry. What about me? thought Jessica.
Then, sighing, she said, "Yeah, right."
Yesterday, Jessica had brought home an announcement for the invention Convention at her school. The kids in her fourth-grade class were asked to invent a useful item, make a prototype, and show how it worked. "This convention is really going to be cool," she told her mother. "The only trouble is, I want to help someone solve a real problem, but I can't think of anything good."
"I'm sure you'll do fine," said her mom.
"Kerry, stop!" yelled Jessica as Kerry kicked Jessica's homework around. "Mom!" she implored, but her mother just shrugged, sighed, and went back to the dishes.
Kerry, Jessica's sister had heart trouble. Just after she was born, Kerry's heart rate had raced out of control. The doctors were able to slow down her heart with medication, but not before it caused her to lose some of the use of the left side of her body. Still, she learned to crawl almost as soon as any baby would, and her weak leg didn't stop her from being a normal pesky little sister. To Jessica it felt like Kerry, and her other little sister Katie, spent all day thinking up ways to bug her when she got home from school.
Suddenly, Kerry plopped herself down on the floor and started crying. She pulled at the brace on her leg. "Boo-boo," she whimpered. Her sock had fallen down again and the brace had rubbed a large raw patch on her calf.
"I don't know what we're going to do," said Mom, scooping up the baby in her arms. "Look at her leg. I hate to keep her in tights when it's so warm."
"That's it!" Jessica exclaimed. "I know what I'm doing for the Invention Convention!"
"Let me work on it for a while and I'll show you." She rushed upstairs, collected a few things from her mother's room and something from her sisters' room, and then locked herself in her own room to work undisturbed.
When she finally emerged two hours later, she was clutching what seemed like a jumble of socks. "Hey, Mom, look at this. I made a special sock for Kerry." Jessica held it up and pointed. "See, it has these Velcro straps on the top that hook around the top of her leg brace and then reattach to her sock. That way the socks can't fall down and Kerry's leg is protected."
"What a wonderful idea! Let's try them on her," said Mom. "Look, Kerry, Jessica made some new socks for you." Katie clapped as she jumped up and down. Kerry smiled, and thumped her hand against the floor as her mother put the new sock on under her brace.
They next day, Jessica brought her invention to school. When she got home, Kerry, and Katie greeted her at the front door, chattering noisily. They hugged her legs and pulled at her. Jessica lost her balance and they all fell to the floor in a heap, laughing and tickling each other.
"How was the Invention Convention Jessica?" asked her mother. "Were the kids and your teacher impressed with your socks?"
"It was okay, I guess. My invention wasn't as cool as Jane's thing that organized her video games, or Nicole's contraption that opened a soda without breaking a nail, or Sandy's Band-Aid dispenser."
"Those things are really interesting, but I like your idea better-it's more helpful," her mom replied.
"Yeah. I wanted to do something for a real person who needed help." Jessica said as she tweaked Kerry on the nose. "Well, almost a real person." They all laughed.
Jessica's socks won first prize in her fourth-grade class. After winning a district-wide competition, she represented her town in the state-level convention at the Garden State Arts Center.
"What an honor! What an accomplishment!" everyone said to her.
Yes, Jessica won the contest, and she was proud; but what really made her feel warm inside was when Kerry looked up at her with a smile that said it all. That's when she knew she'd won something truly important-a special place in her little sister's heart.
Barbara McCutcheon Crawford
When my son Joey was born, his feet were twisted upward with the bottoms resting on his tummy. As a first-time mother, I thought this looked odd, but I didn't really know what it meant. It meant that Joey had been born with club feet. The doctors assured us that with treatment he would be able to walk normally, but would probably never run very well. The first three years of this life, Joey spent in surgery, casts and braces. His legs were massaged, worked and exercised, and, yes, by the time he was seven or eight you wouldn't even know he'd had a problem if you watched him walk.
If he walked great distances, like at the amusement parks or on a visit to the zoo, he complained that his legs were tired and that they hurt. We would stop walking, take a break with a soda or ice cream cone and talk about what we had seen and what we had to see. We didn't tell him why his legs hurt and why they were weak. We didn't tell him this was expected due to his deformity at birth. We didn't tell him, so he didn't know.
The children in our neighborhood ran around as most children do during play. Joey would watch them play and, of course would jump right in and run and play too. We never told him that he probably wouldn't be able to run as well as the other children. We didn't tell him he was different. We didn't tell him. So he didn't know.
In seventh grade he decided to go out for the cross-country team. Every day he trained with the team. He seemed to work harder and run more than any of the others. Perhaps he sensed that the abilities that seemed to come naturally to so many others did not come naturally to him. We didn't tell him that although he could run, he probably would always remain in the back of the pack. We didn't tell him that he shouldn't expect to make the "team". The team runners are the top seven runners of the school. Although the entire team runs, it is only these seven who will have potential to score points for the school. We didn't tell him he probably would never make the "team," so he didn't know.
He continued to run four or five miles a day, every day. I'll never forget the time he had a 103-degree fever. He couldn't stay home because he had cross-country practice. I worried about him all day. I expected to get a call from the school asking me to come get him and take him home. No one called.
I went out to the cross-country training area after school, thinking that if I were there, he might decide to skip practice that evening. When I got to the school, he was running along the side of a long tree-lined street, all alone. I pulled up alongside of him and drove slowly to keep pace with him as he ran. I asked how he felt. "Okay," he said. He only has two more miles to go. As the sweat rolled down his face, his eyes were glassy from his fever. Yet he looked straight ahead and kept running. We never told him he couldn't run four miles with a 103-degree fever. We never told him. So he didn't know.
Two weeks later, the day before the second to the last race of the season, the names of the "team" runners were called. Joey was number 6 on the list. Joey had made the "team." He was in seventh grade. The other six team members were all eighth-graders. We never told him he probably shouldn't expect to make the "team." We never told him he couldn't do it. We never told him he couldn't do it...so he didn't know. He just did it.
DO YOU MIND IF I WARM UP? A STORY
A big kid had been picking on a younger boy for months. The younger boy had tried many ways to get out of fighting, which worked well for a time. But this older tough kid kept on. Nothing seemed to stop him. Now he was coming down the street again, after the younger boy.
"Hey you, punk. What makes you think you're so hot?" the big kid shouted. The younger boy had nowhere to go since his way was blocked by an apartment building and one long dark alley.
The big kid stood tall and close to the younger and shorter boy. "So I finally got you away from your friends! I'm going to pulverize you, squirt, because you wouldn't give me your lunch money."
The young boy stood calmly and looked the older youth straight in his eyes. "I see that you intend to fight me. I've tried everything to not fight, so I guess now I'm going to have to fight you. But before we start, do you mind if I warm up?"
The bully agreed and the young boy began punching, kicking and striking the air with great speed and power. It was obvious to the bully that this youth knew how to defend himself. Upon seeing the skill of the younger boy, the bully made a lame excuse and a rapid retreat.
This goes to show that victims can be winners and that there is great strength in the way of nonviolence.
Take a few moments to think about the people you know the best---your family and friends. They come in all sizes and types! Some are thin and others are thick. Some are athletic and others are clumsy. Some are good at making things with their hands and others are better at book learning.
Think more deeply about the people you know well and you realize that there are tremendous differences in character too. Some are patient and steady while others seem unable to keep still. Some are filled with ideas and enthusiasm while others seem content to follow. Some are very responsible and others run off before the work is done.
Still, everybody is good at something. If you get people together, give them a common purpose, and lead them toward a goal, your team will accomplish much more than you or any other person can do alone.
We are most familiar with sports teams. A baseball team is nine people who are good at baseball. All the players have different jobs on the team---pitcher, shortstop, catcher, and the like---depending on their special abilities. If you have just one baseball player, you have nothing---neither a team nor a game.
Throughout life, we form teams to get things done. In fact, as we get good at teamwork, we learn how to find people who bring special skills or knowledge to our project. Team members accept their differences and make the best of them by working together.
The martial arts teach us teamwork. In class, it is easy to see the differences among students. The master accepts every student as they are, praises them for what they do best, and helps them overcome weaknesses. The master gives everyone a common purpose and leads the class.
As we progress in the martial arts, we learn much from our master about how to live as adults. But instead of advising us, the master teaches by personal example. As you see the master getting the best from each student in your class, you---a future leader---learn how this is done. You understand the value of teamwork and team spirit. The martial arts become your guide to leadership and accomplishment in years to come.
Once, long ago in China, a woodcutter fell into a big pit in the forest. At the bottom were two tiger cubs. The sides of the pit were so smooth and steep that the woodcutter could not get out.
"I'm done for," he thought. "When the mother returns, she will surely kill and eat me."
Soon the mother appeared with a recently-killed deer in her jaws. She fed her cubs and threw a few scraps to the woodcutter, but did not attack him. Every day for the next month, she leapt out to the pit in the morning, hunted in the forest, and brought food for her cubs. The woodcutter lived on scraps. When the cubs were big enough to take care of themselves, the mother tiger put them on her back and leaped out of the pit.
"Please don't leave me!" the woodcutter begged. "I can't get out by myself! I'll starve to death in here!" The tiger returned, carried him out, and showed him the road to the city.
"I owe you my life," said the woodcutter. "When I get home I'll buy a pig and raise it for you to eat. Meet me at noon by the city's west gate on the first day of fall."
The woodcutter kept his promise and was ready with the butchered pig at the promised day and time. But the tiger came an hour earlier by mistake, went looking for the woodcutter in the city, and was captured. Some people wanted to kill her right away and others wanted to give her to the Emperor
When the woodcutter realized what had happened, he begged the people to free the tiger. "She saved my life," he cried. "She should be free to roam the forest and not killed or kept in a cage!"
The woodcutter told his story, but nobody believed him. "Tigers don't act like that," they said. But he persevered. Putting his arms around the tiger's neck, he said "If they kill you, they must kill me also!" Hearing these words, the tiger began to weep. Everyone was so astonished at this that they believed the woodcutter and freed the tiger. After that, she returned twice each year to eat the fresh pig her friend had raised.
One of the first things we learn about people is that nobody is good at everything. Some of us are tall, strong, and able to do hard physical labor. Others are smaller and weaker but contribute in other ways. If everyone works together and does what they are best at, the team can get a whole lot done.
The first place we learn about working together is in the family. When we come into the world, we are almost completely helpless. We don't know how to feed ourselves, avoid danger, get dressed, read, or write.
Our parents -- and very often our brothers and sisters -- protect and nourish us until we can begin taking care of ourselves. We learn about the world from them. If we did not have them to depend upon, we probably would die.
Our parents and brothers and sisters are the first people we know--our oldest and closest friends. We owe them more than anyone else in the world and we help them as they helped us. We are loyal to them.
The members of our family are just as human as we are. They have qualities and faults, strengths and weaknesses. The other side of loyalty is accepting people as they are and supporting them through good times and bad. They do the same for us in return.
When the people in our family make mistakes and look dumb, we are still there for them. When they get sick or have misfortunes, we still are there for them. We are loyal to them no matter what.
As we grow older, we spend more time away from our families and develop loyalties to our school and friends. As grownups, most of us marry and form families. We are loyal to our spouses and children, also to the places where we work and to the groups we join. Still, throughout our lives, loyalty begins and ends at home.
The martial arts believe in the family and in family loyalty. Your master believes that strong families make a strong society and that loyal people make the best citizens. Though you may not see this when you are learning how to leap and kick, it still is there. Just watch how your master acts toward others and follow his example of loyalty. It will make you a better martial artist and a better person as well.
Loyalty is one of the strongest expressions of the sense of obligation and duty. It stems from an obligation to repay a great service-specifically, an extended personal sacrifice someone makes for you. Our parents could have lived more comfortably had they not provided for us. The fed and clothed us and ensured that we were educated. But most importantly, they instill in us whatever ambitions we carry as adults. These are priceless gifts. Too often children today forget the sacrifices their parents made for them.
We live in a society where we buy goods and services. Once we have paid the vendor, we feel no further obligation to him. Martial arts training is unique and different. You pay fees in support of the facilities and its trainers. In return, the instructor devotes a very large part of his life to you.
Qualified instructors devote many years to mastering the art. Countless hours have been spent in training halls, usually after days spent at full-time occupations. They pay for their expertise with blood, sweat and yes even a few broken bones. But you will never hear an instructor complain about long hours of training or about private sessions spent with students to perfect techniques. The instructor teaches to give a part of himself back to the art that has given him so much. So how do you suppose you can ever repay your instructor? Money is not the answer, but loyalty is the key.
The martial arts teacher-student relationship is one of ever growing sense of obligation or duty. The instructor gives the student more than he can ever hope to repay. In return, the student assumes and incredible debt or obligation. The only way the student can bear this obligation is through unwavering obedience, respect and loyalty.
Courtesy is politeness and good manners--dealing with everyone in a gracious way, showing respect, and never hurting anyone. It is very important to be courteous to your elders, friends and family. A courteous person never accepts payment for doing small favors.
Courtesy in Taekwondo involves bowing to your master as a sign of respect, and saying "Yes Sir" or "Yes Maam" to adults and your senior belts. Courtesy is one of the most important elements of martial arts and a good student will always strive to be courteous, even if you might have had a bad day a work or at school.
Courtesy and kindness go hand in hand. One day a lion was awakened when a mouse ran over his face. Annoyed, the reached out his paw and trapped the mouse beneath it. "Dont kill me!" the mouse cried." "Maybe someday I can be of use to you." The lion thought this so funny that he let the mouse go. How could such a tiny creature be of use to the King of the jungle?
A few weeks later, some hunters caught the lion in a trip and tied his front and back legs together so he could not escape. No matter how the lion roared and struggled, he could not break free. He was about to give himself up for lost when the mouse appeared and said:
"You spared my life and now Ill save yours." With that, the mouse chewed through the ropes that bound the lion. Soon the tiny mouse had freed the mighty King of the Jungle.
Being a winner is something that we all strive for in life. Everyone wants to succeed in their endeavors. Sometimes it is easy to get carried away with the urge to win and forget about the things in everyday life which are important. Children need to strive to be a winner in school. Education is the tool to succeeding in life and a persons greatest accomplishments start with good education. School will prepare you for your toughest challenges and learning as much as you can will only make those challenges easier to face.
It is also important to be a winner to your parents and your family. Families are quite often a persons biggest asset when facing a difficult obstacle. Support from a persons family and loved ones can help a person accomplish anything. It is equally important for you to give your parents and family support when the face their challenges. You can learn from the challenges and accomplishments of others and at the same time know that your support made a difference in the outcome of a difficult obstacle.
Being a winner is important to all of us. But always remember that being a winner is more than coming in first place in a tournament. The most important accomplishments are those that occur in everyday life. Being a good person and treating others with respect makes you a true winner.
When children are young, their parents tell them what to do. Sometimes they deny them pleasures-like watching television-and make them do things they dont want to-like homework! Discipline comes from outside when we are children and from within when we grow up. In fact, a large part of growing up consists of learning self-discipline.
We discipline ourselves in martial arts class to keep trying, even when it seems well never get a certain technique right. We discipline ourselves to practice our forms daily until we can do them as if it were our second nature-and are ready to move up to the next belt.
The habits of self-discipline we learn in martial arts class are a key to success in life. Some of the greatest men in history were also the most self-disciplined. Thomas Edison, the inventor, took out 1,093 patents during his lifetime, including the electric light bulb, the phonograph, and movie projector. Edison started out poor and uneducated. He made his way by making himself work hard and never to give up. He had the self-discipline that you learn in martial arts class.
Every person has the potential to do great things in life. Self-discipline is one of the most important attributes in a person who is successful.
The founder of a highly successful company was asked what it took to succeed, he replied "a sense of urgency about getting things done." The people who make things move in this world share this same sense of urgency. No matter how intelligent or able you may be, if you dont have this same urgency to make things happen, now is the time to begin developing it. The world is full of people who intend to do things tomorrow. Their accomplishments seldom match those of the less talented who have the urgency to get things done today!
Some of us are extremely capable of getting things done, but we are slow movers or slow starters. The trick is to set goals and work toward achieving them. If you have one large goal in mind, set several smaller, stepping stone goals, that will lead you to the larger goal. Several small goals are always easier to work with. Achieving small goals gives you the sense that you have accomplished something and are one step closer to your dream. The small goals prepare you for the work that must come to reach your larger goals.
For example, when a student begins martial arts training, the goal of the black belt seems are away and sometimes impossible to reach. Along the way, students sometimes become frustrated or bored with the art. For each belt level in Taekwondo, there are certain goals that must be met before advancing. These goals are the only thing that can prepare you for the true responsibility of having a black belt. When a student first begins training, they are quite often very nervous of even entering the dojang. We feel inadequate and silly. Imagine if a new white belt was asked to go to the front of the class and lead exercises! Many of us would not have made it past the first class. Fortunately, our Instructors know that we have these feelings of inadequacy and we are not asked to display our knowledge of exercises until we have reached a higher belt level and are more confident of our abilities. Each belt level and new experience in martial arts perpares us for what is to come next. These are small goals and sometimes we do not even realize that we are achieving them every day in class. But they are there and they help us to reach that larger goal, whether it is first degree black belt or ninth degree black belt!
When you concentrate, you focus on one thing and exclude other thoughts from your mind. You concentrate on schoolwork, on sports, or on some pursuit like music which requires serious mental effort. The point is that you think of only on task at a time, do it and get it behind you.
Learning to concentrate is an important part of life. It makes you an effective person. Any adult will tell you that they always have at least a dozen things on their mind. When they must complete a project at their jobs by a certain day and hour, they concentrate on it, organize several men and women into a work team. This requires a clear focus on the workand on getting others to do their best.
Adults have a home life which may include a husband or wife, children, and all the work of running a household. Supper must be cooked and the broken back staircase must be fixed before someone gets hurt. If a child is sick, he or she must go to the doctor and be nursed back to health.
With all these things on their minds, how do adults get through the day? They know they cannot fight all their battles at one time, so they concentrate on the most urgent task, get it done, and go onto the next.
The martial arts teach you this kind of concentration. To do a movement correctly, you must watch and imitate the master. Since you do not always get things right the first time, you must figure out your mistake and correct it. The instructor is there to help, but you are still responsible for your personal progress. As you move up in rank, more and more is demanded of you. The movements are increasingly complex. You have limited time in class and want to get the most from it. But since you have learned to concentrate on simple movements and get them right, you confidently acceptand meetthese greater challenges.
The excellent mental habits that you acquire in martial arts class help you for the rest of your life. You learn to organize your time, focus your mind on one task after another, and get your work done. The martial arts have you into an effective adult.
Motivation means the desire to work toward a goal. It can come from inside or outside and can be positive or negative. When you say, "If I make a hit, well win the game and Ill be a hero," you challenge yourself to do something and imagine what the reward will be. You might also say "If I fail in school, I will be terribly ashamed." Imagining the misery that failure brings is a negative way of motivating yourself.
Sometimes motivation comes from outside, Your parents might say "If you do well in school, the whole family will go to Disney World." Now you have a powerful reason to study hard! Your parents might also say "If you do not clean up your room, you will be forbidden your favorite TV program." This is the negative approach.
The best kind of motivation comes from inside you. In fact, motivating yourself to do well instead of waiting for someone else to tell you is a sign that you are growing up. People who have no goals must be told what to do all the time. Leaders are mature people who discipline and motivate themselves.
Self-motivation is one thing we learn from the martial arts. When we begin, out master teaches us everything. As we progress, the master tells us that we are expected to practice every day at homeand leaves us on our own! The master does not ask in class whether we practiced and does not punish us if we fail to do so. By saying nothing, the master challenges us to be grown-up enough to motivate and discipline ourselves.
If we are serious about the martial arts and really want to excel, we will practice at home and do well in class. Our master will notice this and encourage us to continue. Soon we will be ready for testing to advance to the next belt rank. We will move up because we motivated ourselves. We will have made it on our own.
The attitudes that transform a beginner into a Black Belt over a few years are those which separate the leaders of this world from the followers and the do--nothings. The martial arts are a sport that involves physical training and discipline. But they are also a way of life that builds character and helps young people transform themselves into mature, responsible citizens.
Remember Karate? Taekwondo? or Kung Fu? Todays world is full of confusion. One might think that martial arts adds to this confusion by the contradictory statements made by various styles. In English, there is an expression: "How are you?" in Spanish, the same thought is, "Como estausted?"; in French, the sentence reads, comment allez vous," Similarly, Taekwondo, Karate and Kung Fu are the Korean, Japanese and Chinese words for the same concept. But what do they really mean?
In Korean, "Tae" means "foot technique", "Kwon" means "Fist," and "Do" means "Way of Life." In Japanese, Karate literally translated "Kara" means "Empty" (to make your mind wide open like the universe) and "Te" means "Hand." The word in Chinese is "Washu" or "Kung Fu." "Washu" means "National Sports" and "Kung Fu" means "If you study, youll become and expert", Many people interchange and confuse these different terms. This is the reason for misunderstandings that mislead potential practitioners.
The martial artist must remember that, without exception, all styles are based upon the human body. We cannot ignore this basic truth. Style cannot dictate the principle of human motion. All styles are based upon the single fundamental and essential elementthe human body. We know that the body consists of a skeleton, muscles, nerves, blood and the brain. It doesnt matter whether the body is Korean, Chinese, Japanese, American or European. All bodies operate under the same principles.
Martial Arts is mental and physical. It is the hottest new form of fitness. Martial Artists report an explosion in the number of students signing up for classes. It seems that everyone, from fitness fanatics to the athletically indifferent, has discovered that daily or weekly classes can bolster flexibility, increase strength, and most importantly, inject a sense of well-being into everyday routines. Taekwondo builds both the body and the spirit. Students tell me they want exercise to do more than help them stay in shape. People practice Taekwondo because it is physically challenging and also because it brings peace of mind.
For serious athletes, Taekwondos mental discipline adds to their competitive edge. Taekwondo demands that you use all of yourself physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Martial Arts develops a different kind of strength. The mental concentration opens up a direct channel to what is going on in your body and the movements promote a wider range of motion which helps athletes avoid injury.
Whatever balance you might want between your body and your spirit, it can be found in Taekwondo. We encourage you to enroll in one of our Taekwondo programs today and change your life.
giving a bow,
Integrity is the simple rule
Perseverance is telling your heart
Self-Control states a simple fact,
Indomitable Spirit is not showing
White is the traditional color of the Korean dobok. New students wear this as their first belt. This color represents honor, purity, virtue, and innocence. White signifies innocence as that of a beginning student who has no previous knowledge of Tae Kwon Do.
Yellow is the second belt color of Tae Kwon Do. It is the color of honor, wealth, royalty and well-being. Yellow signifies the Earth from which a plant sprouts and takes root as the Tae Kwon Do foundation is being laid
Green is the third belt color in martial arts. The first of the intermediate colors, it is here that many realize how much there is to learn and how far there is to go. Green signifies the plant's growth as Tae Kwon Do skill begins to develop.
Blue is the fourth belt color. Blue denotes authority, truth, loyalty, and mystery. It also symbolizes quality. To wear a blue belt is to start to learn the vast history, philosophy and mysteries of Tae Kwon Do. blue signifies the Heaven, towards which the plant matures into a towering tree as training in Tae Kwon Do progresses.
Red is the last color belt before black belt. Red evokes excitement, anger, and intensity. Red commands attention. There is great joy and passion in red. It signifies danger cautioning the student to exercise control and warning the opponent to stay away.
Black is the color most people associate with the martial arts. To a non-martial artist, to have a black belt is to have mastered the art. To a student, it symbolizes just beginning true learning of the art. Black is the color of wisdom, silence and eternity. To have a black belt is to have the sum of all knowledge from prior belt levels, and to move on to new levels. Black is the opposite of white, therefore, signifying the maturity and proficiency in Tae Kwon Do. It also indicates the wearer's imperviousness to darkness and fear.
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