Our youth classes will spend time focusing on the Anti-Bullying Pledge created by Kovar Systems.
The Anti-Bullying Pledge
I believe everyone has the right to feel safe. I will commit to standing strong against bullying. I will treat others with respect and kindness. I have the compassion to not be a bully and the courage to not be a bystander. It is my responsibility to help others who are being bullied and to report bullying when I see it or when it happens to me. I will not stand by. I will stand up.
Flag Sparring is one of our students’ favorite drills!
It’s important to maintain the following rules to make this drill work:
1. NO RUNNING. Flag Sparring is meant to practice footwork and defense.
2. NO HOLDING TO YOUR FLAGS. Movement and blocking are the ways we defend our flags.
3. NO GRABBING YOUR PARTNER. There are versions of Flag Sparring that involve grappling and even ground work, but we only do those with the older students.
4. NO HIDING YOUR FLAGS. Your flags should be visible and within reach.
Our Junior Class (5-7 years old) has been reading through the Bunjitsu Bunny books by John Himmelman during our Mat Chat time. Each story contains a relevant life lesson delivered in subtle and creative ways. The series features “The Bunjitsu Code,” which is a list of promises students make which will improve themselves and their lives. I recommend these books highly for both your child’s personal library and your dojo’s book collection.
Using the S.M.A.R.T. guide to setting goals helps you clarify your ideas, focus your energy, and use your time productively. Take a look!
Link to the PDF is here:
By Sensei Bud
This is one of our drills for the Leaders Program (8-13 years old). This drill emphasizes quick thinking, awareness, and anticipating when to defend (block the other team from scoring) or attack (get three in a row). Important mental skills for both self-defense and life. It’s one of our students’ favorite drills.
Everything we do is grounded in our operating values. These values reflect the foundation of our community: our staff, students, and families. So let’s discuss each one!
We strengthen each other through respect. Our goal is to motivate and empower everyone in our martial arts family. We do that through the fundamental value of respect: treating each other the right way. We are honest with each other, kind to each other, and we always recognize each other’s value and worth as a person.
We promote honesty and integrity. We believe that being a good person is a net benefit in life. Being trustworthy is crucial to being part of a team. Integrity is being the same person everywhere we go, and making sure our words and actions match. We can’t live according to our first value without living out this one too.
We foster a culture of acceptance. Everyone is different. People come from all kinds of backgrounds, beliefs, and ethnicities. We live in a diverse society, and we believe no one is inherently better than another. We believe in maintaining a culture of love and compassion towards everyone.
We are a safe place. Because we foster a culture of acceptance, we work hard to maintain our training facility as a safe place, free from judgment, hate, and toxicity. As part of the Gravity Martial Arts family, you will be treated with respect and dignity.
We are leaders through service. We uphold the standard that true leadership isn’t simply telling other people what to do, but leading them by doing the actual work. Leadership is service. Leadership is setting an example for others to follow.
We encourage a positive mindset. Everyone talks to themselves. Everyone has an inner monologue about how they feel about themselves and their abilities and attributes. Working on developing the mental habit of speaking to yourself and about yourself encouragingly and positively will help your attitude improve. And when you have a positive attitude, you’re not only happier, you can accomplish more.
We celebrate individual progress. Each of us is on our own journey. Your path isn’t the same as mine. We each have different needs, different concerns, and our own unique strengths and limitations. Our goal is to better ourselves each day. That will not look the same for everyone. We love seeing people reach goals and get closer to their goals, even if it’s only one step. We celebrate all forward motion.
We live a healthy lifestyle: physically, mentally, and spiritually. The goal is to maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle. We work towards having a healthy body, a clear mind, and a positive attitude.
We grow through regular training and personal development. This one is self-explanatory. Success is found in our daily routines and habits.
We are fiscally healthy and responsible. We are a business, and as such we want to earn enough to make a living and be successful, but we never want to be greedy, and we never want to view our members as nothing more than dollar signs. Our mission is to empower people! We strive to manage our finances responsibly and pay our bills on time. It’s a sign of respect to pay people when the fee is due, and it’s a sign of confidence and good planning to keep one’s accounts in order.
We leave our training facility, our community, and our world better than we left it. We work hard to develop a culture in which everyone recognizes their responsibility in living out the mission of Gravity Martial Arts: We better ourselves to better our world. In order to make a positive impact on our world, we must be aware of the impact we have on our surroundings, and the other people who inhabit those surroundings. When half-empty water bottles are left in the facility, or when we make any kind of mess without cleaning up after ourselves, it displays a lack of respect for where we train. We don’t believe in the “it’s not my job” mentality. Everyone must do their part to make our world a better place.
The bad habit martial arts instructors should avoid is teaching life skills to kids without a system in place to measure and reward a child’s progress. Sometimes life skills — respect, focus, self-discipline, et cetera — are taught as an afterthought, or merely tacked on to whatever martial art technique is being presented by the instructor. When belt test time comes around, the students are tested on their techniques (as they should be), but they aren’t tested on the life skills they were supposed to learn.
One way to avoid this error is to create curriculum in which life skills are required knowledge for a student’s belt test as much as any physical technique. This is precisely what we have put into action at Gravity Martial Arts. At the very least, students should be expected to know the definitions of the life skills taught in class. Every class we bow and say “respect.” Sometimes I follow up with a question: “What does ‘respect’ mean?” I want my students to understand the life skills being taught, so our curriculum must be a life skills education first, using martial arts as the vehicle to communicate and practice those life skills.
A solid martial arts education is important. Good technique, a healthy body and mind, and knowledge of how to keep oneself safe contribute greatly to one’s confidence and sense of self-worth. But we always remember we aren’t training gladiators or street fighters: we are equipping the future leaders of the world with the tools, skills, and knowledge they need for success!