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M/W 4:30-5:40; T/Th 6:20-8:30 PM

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Women’s Self-Defense

Ashlyn is starting a Wednesday evening Women’s Self-Defense program. First class begins January 30 at 7:00 PM, and is free to everyone who is interested in trying it out. Message her if you are interested!

The program will focus on practical non-physical and physical methods for staying safe, addressing the particular challenges women face in our society.

How to Motivate Children

I want my students to succeed. I only see my students a couple times a week. Parents on the other hand wrestle every day with how to get their kids to care about the important things: schoolwork, chores, listening, brushing their teeth… the list goes on. How can parents motivate their children to be more responsible?

First, keep in mind is that even though they are children, they are individuals. Each child is a person with needs, desires, hopes, and a personality. Parents must acknowledge and respect the individual person their child is.The goal should be to help them grow into the best version of who they are rather than try to transform them into who we think they should be.

Second, don’t expect your children to be “perfect.” Their brains are still developing and don’t reach their peak until their early 20s. Balance the standards you set for your kids with the truth that, no matter how good they are, they are still kids, and as such need continual guidance and grace.

All children need guidance, love, encouragement, and a proper education. They need clear boundaries and consistency from parents. Discipline applied inconsistently can be worse than no discipline at all.

By “discipline” I don’t mean just “punishment.” There is certainly an element of providing negative consequences to improper action or behavior, but keep in mind that you can’t punish your child into good behavior. Children, generally speaking, don’t respond to punishment the way parents would like. In fact, negative consequences taken too far can turn into a battle of wills between parent and child, or create an atmosphere of resentment in the home.

Punishment shouldn’t be used to motivate good behavior; rather, proper discipline shows the child that actions indeed have consequences regardless of how we feel. Bad actions and behaviors lead to negative consequences, and good actions and behaviors lead to positive consequences. Give consequences to show your child the result of their poor choices, not to try to force them to suddenly care about doing the right thing.

Likewise, give positive consequences (rewards), encouragement and praise when they do something right. Show the good that comes from doing what they should. This is most effective when parents understand what their children genuinely care about and think about all day. What drives this individual? What lights a fire inside them? Remember that children are individual persons with hopes and desires like anyone else. Communicate with them. Listen to them. They need to know you’re invested in their lives and you care about them.

A big mistake parents make is giving the impression to their children that their love or acceptance is based on a “pass/fail” grading system. Personally, I haven’t met a child who has been given such an impression who felt like they had a passing grade.

So much more can be said about this topic than I can fit here. My goal here is to provide a perspective on how to begin the process. Remember, the parents’ job is to guide, teach, prepare, love, and show their children that they are ultimately responsible for their own choices.

Responsibility and Precision

This rotation our youth students are studying two life skills: responsibility and precision.

Responsibility is the mental skill for the rotation: Taking care of what you’re supposed to take care of, and doing what you’re supposed to do. Precision is the physical skill for the rotation: Doing something the right way, and doing it exactly the way you should.

How are these two life skills connected? Both are about doing the right thing the right way at the right time!

Confidence and Determination

Our youth students have been studying the relationship between two important life skills: CONFIDENCE and DETERMINATION.

Confidence is believing in yourself and knowing you can do amazing things when you work hard and stay focused on your goals. Determination is never giving up until you reach your goals. If you don’t believe in yourself and know you can do the job, finding the determination to keep going will be difficult, if not impossible.

Know you can do it, and don’t stop until it’s done!

Sensei’s Life Tips

Life is a journey, and any journey worth taking comes with ups and downs, surprises and challenges, as well as exciting discoveries. Everyone’s life is different, which means everyone’s journey is unique. I can’t tell you how to live your life. You need to decide that for yourself. The best I can do is offer my encouragement, and give you a few life tips I’ve learned during my own journey…

1. Value commitment. We can’t be afraid to invest ourselves in our passions, in other people, in long-term goals. Develop the attitude of seeing things through, even when the excitement wears off and the feelings just aren’t there.

2. Exercise compassion. The heart is a muscle, both physically and metaphorically. As such, it needs to be exercised, or it will grow weak. “Emotional cardio” is the idea of making an effort to think of others and make their needs a priority. No person is an island. Lend a hand when you can, because you’ll need someone to do the same for you at some point.

3. Feed your curiosity. Read a book. Google more questions. Watch an educational show. Visit a museum. Go for a walk in nature. Don’t think of things as “trivial” or “useless.” Appreciate a painting. Let children ask you all kinds of questions, and then try to find the answers. Capture the sense of awe and wonder you had as a child. You’re never too old.

4. Exert effort. Work hard. Take pride in what you do. Don’t be lazy. Don’t cheat yourself by not giving life everything you’ve got.

5. Maintain your fitness. You don’t have to look like a supermodel. You don’t have to be a professional athlete. Just be healthy. A healthier life contributes to a better life. Take care of yourself, so you can do the things you want to do, and take care of the people who need you in their lives.

6. Sustain your focus. We are a society of short attention spans. “TL;DR” has become our standard response. But true success comes from keeping our eyes on our goals, holding on to our integrity, and keeping our priorities in order.

7. Use your imagination. Play games. Tell stories. Feed your curiosity and let your mind wander and wonder.

8. Grow your knowledge. Find something you love and learn as much about it as you can. Never refer to any knowledge as “trivial” or “useless.” The intimate relation between curiosity, imagination, and knowledge is the soul of scientific inquiry and advancement.

9. Encourage laughter. Spend time with people who bring joy to your life. Tell more jokes. Appreciate the good things in your life. Never be afraid to laugh.

10. Practice positivity. We talk to ourselves all the time. We are also habit-forming creatures. As such, we form a habit of how we talk to ourselves: our inner monologue. Practicing positivity means we make an effort to focus on the positive and engage in self-encouragement; not ignoring the negative, but the truth is, we are almost always more capable than we think we are, and, barring genuine catastrophe and tragedy, our circumstances are usually not as severe as our emotions make them appear to us. Work to form a habit of hope.

11. Find your purpose. What makes you happy? What brings fulfillment to your life? What fills you with a sense of accomplishment, pride, adventure, and meaningfulness? Maybe you don’t know yet. Don’t give up the search. Remember, sometimes the only way to figure out how to travel is to just get up and go, and figure it out along the way.

12. Employ reason. Use your brain. Practice critical thinking. Think.

13. Seek truth. Don’t become enslaved by your biases. Keep an open mind and let your imagination soar, and always let reason be your guide.

Ultimately, no one masters life. No one can tell you the right path to take. Discovery is part of the fun of the journey. In the end, the only wrong action is inaction. So go out there. Get some mud on your shoes.

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do

I’m a huge fan of lists. Today’s helpful list comes from


1. They Don’t Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves

Mentally strong people don’t sit around feeling sorry about their circumstances or how others have treated them. Instead, they take responsibility for their role in life and understand that life isn’t always easy or fair.

2. They Don’t Give Away Their Power

They don’t allow others to control them, and they don’t give someone else power over them. They don’t say things like, “My boss makes me feel bad,” because they understand that they are in control over their own emotions and they have a choice in how they respond.

3. They Don’t Shy Away from Change

Mentally strong people don’t try to avoid change. Instead, they welcome positive change and are willing to be flexible. They understand that change is inevitable and believe in their abilities to adapt.

4. They Don’t Waste Energy on Things They Can’t Control

You won’t hear a mentally strong person complaining over lost luggage or traffic jams. Instead, they focus on what they can control in their lives. They recognize that sometimes, the only thing they can control is their attitude.

5. They Don’t Worry About Pleasing Everyone

Mentally strong people recognize that they don’t need to please everyone all the time. They’re not afraid to say no or speak up when necessary. They strive to be kind and fair, but can handle other people being upset if they didn’t make them happy.

6. They Don’t Fear Taking Calculated Risks

They don’t take reckless or foolish risks, but don’t mind taking calculated risks. Mentally strong people spend time weighing the risks and benefits before making a big decision, and they’re fully informed of the potential downsides before they take action.

7. They Don’t Dwell on the Past

Mentally strong people don’t waste time dwelling on the past and wishing things could be different. They acknowledge their past and can say what they’ve learned from it. However, they don’t constantly relive bad experiences or fantasize about the glory days. Instead, they live for the present and plan for the future.

8. They Don’t Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over

Mentally strong people accept responsibility for their behavior and learn from their past mistakes. As a result, they don’t keep repeating those mistakes over and over. Instead, they move on and make better decisions in the future.

9. They Don’t Resent Other People’s Success

Mentally strong people can appreciate and celebrate other people’s success in life. They don’t grow jealous or feel cheated when others surpass them. Instead, they recognize that success comes with hard work, and they are willing to work hard for their own chance at success.

10. They Don’t Give Up After the First Failure

Mentally strong people don’t view failure as a reason to give up. Instead, they use failure as an opportunity to grow and improve. They are willing to keep trying until they get it right.

11. They Don’t Fear Alone Time

Mentally strong people can tolerate being alone and they don’t fear silence. They aren’t afraid to be alone with their thoughts and they can use downtime to be productive. They enjoy their own company and aren’t dependent on others for companionship and entertainment all the time but instead can be happy alone.

12. They Don’t Feel the World Owes Them Anything

Mentally strong people don’t feel entitled to things in life. They weren’t born with a mentality that others would take care of them or that the world must give them something. Instead, they look for opportunities based on their own merits.

13. They Don’t Expect Immediate Results

Whether they are working on improving their health or getting a new business off the ground, mentally strong people don’t expect immediate results. Instead, they apply their skills and time to the best of their ability and understand that real change takes time.

October is National Bullying Prevention Month

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.



Sensei Bud

Flag Sparring Drill

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.


Sensei Bud