Blog / FAQs
What Does Honesty Mean to Your Child?
What Does Courtesy Mean to Your Child?
What Does Integrity Mean to Your Child?
Do Your Kids Know Their Left From Their Right?
Who is a SAFE Stranger?
Tell Trouble to STOP!
Self-Defense for Kids - Stomp the Bug
Does Your Child Know Your Phone Number?
Obstacle Course/Playground Ninja Training
Dealing with Failure
Self-Defense for Kids... Beat the Drum
What to Look For When Choosing a Martial Arts School?
Whether looking for yourself or your child, here are some good things to bare in mind during your search:
What DOES matter???
*Can this person (or their staff) help you (or your child) reach your goals?
*Can they deliver on their promises?
*How do they plan to deliver on their promises?
*Do they run a respectable business?
*Do they keep their facilities clean?
What does NOT matter???
*Are they a Master or Grand Master?
*How many trophies are in their window?
*Are they an Olympian or “Title Holder”?
Bottom line, you do want a quality martial artist, but mainly you NEED a great teacher. The best teachers I’ve known had the ability to create multiple great students, because they CARED about the students learning & had an eye to catch details for quality. After that, it’s about different methods of motivation - Do they yell at their students, intimidate them, or support & encourage them? How do their students react to their teacher(s)? What lessons, other than martial arts, are they learning in class?
Just like any time you search for quality for yourself or your family - Ask questions. Try the product. Any reputable martial arts program should allow you to try (or just view) a class or two for free. Many programs have trial memberships to give you a few weeks to sample the program and see if it’s a good fit for you and your family. If they will NOT let you try a short-term program and require you to commit to a year membership, RUN AWAY!
Choosing a martial arts school could be the equivalent of choosing a new family or new best friends for you or your kids to hang out with. They will definitely be role models for any young students, so make sure they’re setting the example you want your kids to follow. Could you see yourself spending time with these people and enjoying it? You’ll need to if they hold rank testings or participate in tournaments. Some schools even have a culture of planning activities outside of the school to participate in together (like fun runs, paintball, trampolining, swimming, etc).
Not everyone knows the “right questions” to ask when they’re searching for a martial arts program for themselves or their children. A quality owner or staff member should be able to help walk you through the process & help you find the questions you’re really interested in answering. Either way, the first step is checking out the nearest places to you. I recommend trying at least 3 of the nearest schools (unless you have specific art you’d prefer to focus on). Check out their website to see what questions that may answer. Call them for further info or to schedule a trial class (or just to come by and view a beginner class). Then, give them a chance for a class or two before trying the next school on your list. After trying several, you should feel more comfortable making an informed choice.
For more information about Ninja Fit, please check out our Programs tab for different classes we offer. Also, read more articles posted on this “Blog/FAQs” page to find more answers to questions you may have. If these articles spark more questions, feel free to call us. If you’re not ready to settle into a martial arts school just yet, follow us on Facebook or Twitter to keep updated of our messages and events.
Do You Recommend Martial Arts for Girls?
Of course!! Girls, in general, have such good focus that they learn extremely fast. While it may look more one-sided in some academies, the reality is that nearly half of all children training across the world in martial arts are girls.
Martial arts is one of the few activities that boys & girls can learn together. This allows brothers & sisters, friends & neighbors the ability to train together. In many cases, this opens the lines of communications so they can all learn from each other, too.
As where girls & women are often the targets of criminals because they are thought to be weak or defenseless, participating in martial arts programs can help reduce that likelihood, as well. From learning to project more confidence in your walk, to thinking strategically about avoiding situations, martial arts training can help everyone. Finally, by allowing boys & girls to train and grow together, it becomes easier for boys to see girls as equals, or even superior in certain ways.
I don’t know a parent in the world that wouldn’t want their daughter to learn to protect themselves. Instead of enrolling her in boxing, consider the other life skills taught through the martial arts. While you’re looking, call or bring your daughter by to try class with us. See if Ninja Fit is a good fit for you and your family.
Can Martial Arts Help Children Excel in Other Sports?
Short answer is “Yes!!” Many collegiate & professional athletes cross-train in martial arts, especially in their off season. Martial arts, in general, is great to work balance, coordination, focus, and fitness, among many other traits. I’ve even been lucky enough to work with one college football team in their off season to develop their stretching and range of motion. When the regular season picked back up, I was told the team continued with the stretching program that was taught them. By the end of that season, the team was recognizing their stretching routine for helping them have a season with the lowest number of injuries reported. I’ll tell you it wasn’t easy, though. Some of those guys, as strong as they were, just would not relax their muscles into the stretches when we first started. They were used to walking around with tense knots of muscles. Martial arts stretching and training helped them perform at a peak level for that coming season, and can help any athletes improve their own skills for any other sport, too.
Martial arts, when taught properly, works right and left sides, upper and lower body. You’ll have drills that challenge your lateral, circular, and rotational movement. Whether during Warm-Up or forms you’ll find something in class that builds strength and increases flexibility. Sparring or other drills work to build endurance and increase your reflexes and timing. Putting these moves on a target (stationary or moving) also helps to build hand/eye or foot/eye coordination.
If you’ve got a student interested in other sports and are wondering how we can help them excel, bring them by to try out a lesson or two. We may even be able to suggest specific exercises or drills to practice at home.
All martial arts aid in the development of balance & coordination by their very nature.
Repetition of focused practice using hands AND feet in ways not “normally” used in your daily life will increase awareness and help develop control of your entire body. As discussed in previous articles, Ninja Fit instructors use a building-block method of teaching as to not overwhelm students, but to let them achieve a level of success on each drill before moving to the next level of difficulty.
Ninja Fit also balances fast movement practice along with slow movement practice. In practicing moves slowly, your mind can better process signals from your body to help assess problems within your movement or technique. In addition, it takes much more muscle control of several muscle groups in order to kick slowly versus quickly, thus working to improve balance and coordination in each slow drill.
Realize, as a parent or a potential member yourself, the instructors at Ninja Fit will gradually build you up to increase your skills. Nobody expects a beginner to come in and start jumping and spinning before they’ve learned the basics. It’s a gradual and continual road of improvement through the martial arts. Our goal is to help you achieve continued success and have fun doing it. That’s how we keep our customers happy.
Courage is NOT the absence of fear. We all have fear & the ability to overcome it. Some of you may have felt a strong fear when saying your vows at your wedding or when your first child was born, but that moment didn’t end your life & you strove forward out of the strength of your will because you needed to for someone other than yourself. That’s great & those are great examples of being courageous. Everyone normally just thinks of Super Heroes when they think of courage, but most of us face opportunities to be courageous on a daily basis.
The curriculum at Ninja Fit is designed to help all students (children & adults) develop their courage in gradual stages, like stepping blocks. Most people fear walking into a martial arts school for the first time, so we aim to make the introduction process informative, relaxed, & hopefully fun for beginners. As they learn to move in ways they never realized they could, a sense of accomplishment, or confidence, will grow inside them. The instructors are trained to recognize these accomplishments, show praise, but also challenge each student to raise their own expectations & aim for even higher levels. It’s this never-ending challenge to become better and aim higher that underlies the Ninja Fit system. We’re here to help students grow in their confidence & courage by presenting them with achievable goals set for each level & working to show them how to reach them in a safe, fun environment.
For more examples of opportunities to build courage, please call or come by to discuss with our instructors. Or, feel free to talk to any of our students or their parents.
Link to another blog: www.themartialartswoman.com/courageous-you/
How can Martial Arts help me (or my child) develop Discipline? Part 1 of 2…
First, let’s define some terms:
Discipline - You follow the rules after being reminded of them.
Self-Discipline - You remind yourself of the rules & follow them without being told.
Now that we’ve covered that, let me explain how the instructors at Ninja Fit can help you, or your child, develop both these skills…
When first enrolled in martial arts, it’s such a fun, new experience that kids (and adults) can easily be distracted and get carried away in the fun. At this beginning level, it’s expected that the instructors will need to remind students (sometimes quite often) of the rules and etiquette at Ninja Fit. Because it’s expected and understood, the instructors find kind and fun ways to remind students of the rules, and may even make following the rules a fun challenge for the class. The students may have great moments in class that may get them recognized in front of their peers, but then have other moments where their focus or dedication are lacking. For this reason, there are many opportunities in the beginning level classes to receive praise and have light-hearted fun or games that challenge students on how well they follow directions or listen. This makes the process of developing Discipline seem fun, not shameful or chastising.
As time passes and the students progress through the ranks, the expectations that students remember the rules grow. The students see praise for their accomplishments in belt and stripe recognition, but the instructors always remind them that this now raises our expectations of them. Once they’ve proven themselves at a certain level, we ALWAYS expect at least that level of dedication and performance from them moving forward. This process leads to the students reminding themselves of the rules more regularly & developing Self-Discipline inside Ninja Fit.
How can Martial Arts help me (or my child) develop Discipline? Part 2 of 2…
Using Self-Discipline OUTSIDE the Dojo:
Our instructors are constantly asking the students to look for opportunities in their daily lives where they can incorporate the life skills taught at Ninja Fit. Once the students understand the definition of the life skill and have provided one instance to show where they’ve lived that example during that current training cycle, they’re rewarded with a stripe on their belt, which is partial requirement for their next rank promotion. In addition to discussing these opportunities with the students, our instructors will also be in regular communication with the parents to assure the message is conveyed properly and asking for feedback on their child’s progress at home and school.
Finally, Ninja Fit hosts regular events (both inside & outside the martial arts school) where the instructors get to observe the students in different settings outside the normal martial arts class. Examples of outside events may consist of us running a 5K together, going ice skating, playing in the park, or any number of things. These outside events allow us to bond with the students in a more social setting; allow our instructors to set the example of how to live the tenets taught; allow families to be active together so the parents can bond with their kids in a fun, healthy way; and, allow our instructors to observe our students behaving in a more social setting. Inside events will allow much of the same, but under Ninja Fit’s roof, so students may bring friends to events, but the setting is more controlled. So, while we’re observing our students’ behavior among their family or peers, we have more chances to remind students of the rules and set parameters of behavior and etiquette.
Our instructors and staff at Ninja Fit care about you and your family. We want to help build a better world and future for us all. We believe that starts with instilling good values and skills in people so they can learn to help themselves and others. Therefore, we strive to be constant reminders for you and your children to remind yourselves of the rules and standards. And, once you’ve met each new goal, or achieved a new level, we will celebrate your accomplishment and be there to remind you that you’ve raised the bar of expectations on yourself, too.
How can Martial Arts he me (or my child) Get In Shape?
Martial arts work FULL BODY & FULL RANGE of motion, which is better than most weight programs in the gym.
Fitness conditioning in the Ninja Fit system comes from a program designed to work the entire body, from head to toe in multiple formats. This includes aerobic conditioning, stretching, speed & agility drills, power development, & strengthening the body.
Aerobic Conditioning - Ninja Fit teaches Taekwondo as the base martial art. Taekwondo is a very active art making use of many spectacular kicks, sometimes adding spins & jumps to the techniques. Additionally, Teakwood requires much footwork in the sparring department. These factors add up & help to increase the student’s conditioning.
Stretching - develops better fitness & range of motion, too. Martial arts programs such as this one have been used to help athletic teams (both college & professional) in the off-season. It’s even been reported that teams that continued using the stretching routines taught in their martial arts training claim fewer injuries in the season which they stretch more.
Speed & Agility Drills - Working in concert with aerobic conditioning and stretching, the Ninja Fit system incorporates regular practice of different drills designed to improve speed & agility over time. Just like anything else, with focused practice, noticeable improvement can be achieved.
Power Development - Newton’s 2nd Law of Motion: Force (F) = Mass (M) x Acceleration (A); so, F = M x A, can help illustrate this point. Lessons at Ninja Fit will help you burn fat so your Mass (M) becomes more lean muscle than flab, and will help you learn to develop your speed through practiced drills & explanations. All that helping to increase the amount of Force you direct at an object won’t help, though, without the proper FOCUS and precision needed to hit your target. Training at Ninja Fit also provides opportunities to fine tune your practice in precision and focus. All this for the specific goal that each student become more confident that he/she can defend themselves, if needed.
Strengthening the Body - As discussed in the previous section (on Power Development), one goal of training at Ninja Fit is to help turn your body’s Mass into more lean muscle than flab. Many students come to martial arts programs to get in better shape, & many find it more enjoyable than joining a gym. Whatever the reason, we think you’ll enjoy learning something new, meeting new people, and being in an encouraging environment while sweating out your stresses and strengthening yourself for tomorrow.
By helping our students achieve small victories increasing in gradual difficulty, our students learn to push or challenge themselves to achieve more. This mental conditioning helps them push their bodies to limits in ways they may not have tried in normal gyms.
Remember, it WON’T happen overnight, but it WILL happen for all students that remain in the program long enough to see the results.
**Also, check out: http://zultimate.com/benefits-of-martial-arts-training
How can Martial Arts help me (or my child) develop Focus?
Let’s define Focus. In short, it’s the ability to block out distractions and concentrate on one task at a time.
In today’s world of technology, everything has started moving so fast-paced. Multi-tasking has become the norm for so many people, that we learn to take little bits of information in about multiple things at once. However, that ability causes us to glide over fine-tune details that we may miss if we just take the time to focus on one thing at a time.
Ninja Fit students are taught a simple chant to help them remember 3 Rules of Concentration: “Focus my Eyes. Focus my Mind. Focus my Body.” These 3 rules are embedded in every lesson & throughout the curriculum at Ninja Fit. While learning new moves or concepts, we also challenge our students to break down their focus on individual parts in order to gain a better understanding of the whole.
Yes, martial arts help teach focus, but it depends on the instructor to determine HOW that lesson gets taught. If you’ve ever watched a martial arts movie where an instructor interacts with a student, you’ve probably seen an exaggerated example of stern behavior or have possibly seen the opposite. At Ninja Fit, we choose to hold our students to high expectations, but make it a fun experience for them, too.
To see videos of how we suggest instructors separate these rules and use them as life skill lessons during class, please view our Youtube page (under the “Leadership” playlist).
**More good articles to check out: www.healthambition.com/how-martial-arts-boosts-your-focus-and-concentration/
How can Martial Arts teach me (or my child) Respect?
Respect is EARNED, not given. It’s our goal at Ninja Fit to teach students HOW to show respect so that it’s more likely to be shown in return. Showing respect can come in many forms:
Respecting yourself can be shown through maintaining a respectable appearance. This could be as simple as keeping your martial arts uniform clean and tidy, or keeping your body healthy and hygienic. It could come from keeping your house and car clean and tidy. From a physical aspect, walking tall (with good posture), or looking others in the eye when talking are also things that help people show respect for themselves and will lead others to show respect to you.
Respecting others can be shown by paying attention to instructors as they talk, or working well with other students in class. It can be shown by being considerate in dealing with friends or family. Or, you can show respect to strangers by being polite and courteous in your interactions. Finally, when teaching others, it’s important to be respectful of your students as you teach them.
Respecting the art practiced at Ninja Fit is shown by practicing at home to fully understand the concepts taught in class and try to be the best you can be. Also, living the tenets of Taekwondo outside the dojo so that others may see what Taekwondo is about is a great way to show respect for the art you’re learning.
Respecting the community is learned through community involvement projects. It’s our belief at Ninja Fit that you can’t learn to respect if you never learn to think of others affected.
Students who learn the valuable lesson of how to show respect to others and earn respect usually become better leaders, team players, and better quality people overall. Remember, respect is EARNED - so deserve it.
How can Martial Arts help me (or my child) Develop as a Leader?
Most martial arts programs have a Leadership team or program structured to help students develop as leaders. Just like everything else in the world, some places do it better than others. If you’re interested in developing leadership qualities when searching martial arts schools, ask questions as to WHAT leadership traits they develop and HOW it’s done?
At Ninja Fit, we go beyond just adding extra time for students to train & develop deeper understanding of their martial arts skills. We require students interested in Leadership to start leading by example in class. If they’re already setting the right example for other students in class, and we can tell they’re putting practice time in on their own, we know our students are on the right track to enter the Leadership Program. Leading by example is the starting quality that everyone looks for in hiring leadership (Management) positions.
Once a student has been in our program long enough to have a sufficient understanding of the basics, & they’ve proven they can lead by example they’re invited to enter our Leadership Program. Leadership students at Ninja Fit are taught how to be effective teachers. This distinction means they’re taught to be “student focused”. It means more than speaking well in front of others (which is also practiced), but means WATCHING the students and figuring out multiple approaches to help the students achieve your desired results. Too many others focus on teaching Leadership students to stand in front of people & talk, but very few teach them how to watch the students and respond to what they’re seeing. Learning to “read the room” to tell when you need to move quicker, or push on to a different drill, is a very important skill taught at Ninja Fit.
These are a few of the ways Ninja Fit separates itself from other Leadership programs. To see how it looks in action, please come by to visit a class anytime.
How Does Martial Arts Training Make Children Less Violent?
“It’s amazing how often you might hear parents state that they’d like to get their child involved in martial arts, but they don’t want them to become violent. In almost every case, the reverse is true.
Martial Arts does not make children more violent. It makes them less violent. There’s a quote that you’ll often hear in the martial arts: ‘Practice the fight so you don’t have to.’
By practicing martial arts, children become more confident. Therefore, they are less likely to become a target for bullying. Also, the martial arts gives children a safe environment in which they can embrace their frustrations, blow off some steam, and relieve stress.
On top of that, as a child develops a stronger self-image, he or she is less likely to feel the need to prove him or herself. “With a stronger self-image, children also become less interested in tearing others down.”
-the above was written by Dave Kovar in MA Success Magazine.
At Ninja Fit, we offer many opportunities for kids (and adults) to relieve stress and blow off steam. Not only will opportunities come in regular classes, but in the many clinics we host or outings we share. Our goal is to fill your lives with activities that promote healthy, happy living. Call or come by to check us out & see what we mean.
How Effective is Martial Arts in Keeping Children Healthy?
“For children to be healthy and to have their bodies develop correctly, they need to perform natural movements like jumping, running, climbing, falling, and rolling on a regular basis. Martial arts training emphasizes all of these things. It is an incredibly well-rounded form of exercise, helping a child develop lean muscle mass, bone density, flexibility, and endurance.
Also, most martial arts schools place a strong emphasis on a healthy food intake - helping children learn healthy eating habits that can stick with them for life. Overall, martial arts is the perfect activity to keep children healthy and fit.”
-the above was written by Dave Kovar in MA Success Magazine
Ninja Fit emphasizes all of the above with our regular classes, as well as giving more opportunities to be healthy and active through our clinics and outings. Ninja Fit students and families are regularly invited to try rock climbing, roller skating, gymnastics, and many opportunities to be active as a family. We enjoy bonding with our students outside the dojo & seeing families bond through activity, not just being bystanders while watching one person move around. We’re all in this together. :)
For more information about classes, clinics, or outings with Ninja Fit, please call or come by, today.
How Long Do You Recommend Children Train in Martial Arts?
Ideally, every child would enter martial arts training & stay with it, in some respect, as a life-long learner. Most children will receive some benefit from martial arts after training for just a few months. The real benefits come from long-term training. If for no other reason than constant reinforcement of the life lessons & skills taught, long-term training can at least be a positive influence and environment as children grow and mature.
In addition to the continued training of physical and life skills, most martial arts programs have systems in place to promote advanced students into leadership positions. This may mean helping other students correct stances or techniques. It may mean the opportunity to develop public speaking skills by leading a portion of the class. Leadership teams are invaluable & often used in the martial arts world. This opportunity helps your student grow on other levels probably not realized when you originally enrolled them in lessons.
Furthermore, many martial arts schools have realized the need to keep things interesting for students after reaching their first level of black belt. That’s when many schools will offer extra classes, clinics, or challenges in the curriculum. At Ninja Fit, a weapons curriculum (safe with padded weapons) is instituted at the black belt level. Students may attend clinics before reaching black belt, but weapons training becomes part of their curriculum needed to test for rank once students reach black belt.
There’s something special that happens to children who grow up in a martial arts school. They are simply more confident, respectful, focused, healthy, hard-working, and optimistic. To begin your life-long education in the martial arts, please call or visit our school to try a class.
Living the Tenets
Ninja Fit Taekwondo is built around 6 main tenets (or principles) that we choose to live our lives around. It’s not enough to just learn and recite the meanings of the words, but we want our students to live these tenets in their daily lives.
What are the Tenets?
How do we encourage & follow-up to see if our students are living the tenets?
Each 3 month cycle leading up to rank advancement will revolve around one of our tenets. There will be daily “mat chats” where instructors will discuss the cycle tenet with the students.
Chat topics will include:
*What does your tenet mean?
*How have you shown your tenet in the past?
*How would you like to be viewed on this tenet in the future?
*How are you showing this tenet in your present life?
In addition to “mat chats” where we discuss & ensure our students understand the tenets, we will host regular activities that allow the students to demonstrate the tenets. We’ll host inside activities at our location (seminars, parent’s nights out, etc) and outside activities around town (fun runs, other clinics, etc). These activities will allow our instructors a chance to observe the students interacting with friends & family, but will also give us the chance to lead by example. We understand that sometimes it can be confusing to figure out HOW to live these tenets on a daily basis. Therefore, from our most basic business interactions with every potential customer, to our long-term customers & family, we aim to SHOW what we’re about so our students have a clear path to follow.
Lastly, our instructors stay in constant communication with the parents of our students. We want to ensure that the behavior we’re seeing & discussing truly IS happening outside our dojo. We’re always looking for feedback from parents and/or teachers, so feel free to let us know how your student lives the tenets in their daily life.
Martial Arts vs Other Sports
At Ninja Fit, you’ll find all sorts of students & instructors - athletes, non-athletes, introverts, extroverts, beginners, & advanced. While people with athletic backgrounds (or active background from dance/gymnastics) may have an easier transition into martial arts, we believe the martial arts have a place for everyone. Here are some quick points of why we appreciate martial arts MORE than other sports:
Nobody sits on the bench.
Everyone participates for the entire class. Nobody gets shoved to the side or made to sit out just because they’re not at the same skill level as others. In fact, classes are scheduled with students’ skill levels and age groups in mind, so that they’re all learning at the same pace.
There’s still a sense of teamwork in activities.
There are still plenty of chances for students to experience being part of a team. Whether it’s in activities during class or in outside clinics or outings, your student will have multiple ways to bond with his/her fellow students and instructors as a team.
Everyone participates at their own level.
Classes are scheduled with students’ skill levels and age groups in mind. That being said, not everyone is built the same or has the same talents. So, in order to keep lessons interesting for all students, the instructors are well-practiced in giving fresh challenges in drills in order to challenge all students on the floor. While they may be practicing the same technique (kick, block, stance, etc), some students might learn the basics quicker than younger students, so extra challenges can be given (either to the entire class, or to a select few) that keeps the repetition of the drill still interesting to everyone in class.
It’s a Year-Round activity.
Unlike most other school sports, there isn’t a defined “season” for martial arts. We continue training year-round. This allows for more stability in your student’s life than can be found in transitioning from one team to another over the course of the year. Also, they’ll be forming friendships with their classmates that they can continue to see (& train with) for years to come. One of my least favorite things about seasonal sports was getting to know new friends & then not seeing them after the season finished. We work hard to help students & families build strong relationships at Ninja Fit. We WANT you to stay in touch with us and each other for life, not just a season. If you’d like to introduce your child to that “family environment”, please call or come by to check us out.
Martial Arts vs Team Sports
Pros for Sports:
*Learn about setting group goals
*Able to compete with others in your age bracket/ability level
Cons for Sports:
*Not always active
*May sit the bench
*Coach’s goal is to win, not give everyone equal playing time
*For most of us, it’s limited to a specific (younger) age group. Not something we’ll do as adults.
Pros for Martial Arts:
*Each person develops at their own pace
*Involved in every minute of every class
*Learn about setting individual goals
*Able to compete with others in your age bracket/ability level
*Can participate in for the rest of your life
*Learn Self-Defense (something that can be used practically in daily life)
*Building Self-Confidence (through individual achievement - belts & tournaments)
*Learn Self-Discipline (reminding yourself to do what’s right, instead of having to be reminded by someone else)
*Learn Perseverance - martial arts journey goes year-round & for your lifetime. It’s not seasonal, like most sports. This consistency & availability helps build on discipline & allows children to develop at a quicker pace with martial arts than with team sports.
*Gender equality - one of the few sports where boys & girls can play together.
*Family activity - you can practice with your kids
*Weight control - between the warm-up calisthenics, drills, and sparring, it’s a great full-body & cardio workout
I’ve had the ability to participate in both team sports & martial arts as a youth. As an adult, I still participate in recreational sports activities with friends, and continue to practice martial arts. While they both have their benefits, I’ve found the benefits of martial arts far outweigh those of team sports. Let’s explore, then you decide for yourself…
Let’s start by addressing some positive aspects of team sports:
Teamwork - Since team sports are generally built around pursuing group (team) goals, much focus is put on working together to achieve that goal. Even though each team may have “star” athletes (who may get more recognition/playing time), even the stars must work with the rest of the team to achieve the goals. In martial arts, the closest similarity I can think of is having a Demo Team or working together for a group competition at tournament.
Camaraderie - Because of the teamwork needed to achieve group goals, team sports often have a strong sense of camaraderie built between teammates. All team members practice, struggle, workout and win together. In martial arts, the entire class (especially people at same belt levels or age groups) bond during class sessions. Similar reasoning - they practice, struggle and workout together. They may not depend on each other to pass each belt test, or to win in competition, but I’ve found they become more like a family - there to root for you even when they’re not competing.
Goal Setting - Team sports has group goals, usually guided by the coach. It’s great and teaches athletes to work for their goals, manage their time, encourages practice at home, and teaches them to persevere through the season. Martial arts teaches the individual to set their own goals & work to achieve them in the same way as team sports, but is not just for the duration of the sport season.
Competition - Team sports and martial arts both offer the athlete the opportunity to compete with others in their same age bracket or ability level. Again, the only difference is whether you compete as a team or individually against your opponent(s). Throughout my experiences as a youth, I’ve found more satisfaction in winning as an individual as compared to being part of a team that may have “star” players that pulled us through.
Now, let’s move toward looking at some negatives associated with team sports:
Sitting the Bench - Due to the nature of team sports & the coach’s desire to win, strong players get more play time while others tend to ride the bench. Not only are you not being active while doing this, it can also affect your self-esteem and confidence. Lack of play time during games & tournaments will not give the less strong players a chance to gain more time needed to develop their abilities. This could lead to boredom or decreased enthusiasm for the sport, causing them to quit.
Here's another good article to check out:
Negativity Free Zone
I’ve realized something in the past few years, but haven’t spoken out about it, until now… With the growth of the internet and social media, it’s become easier and easier for people to anonymously post critiques. Now, that’s not news in itself. Plenty of stories have been published about this phenomenon, but have you noticed how it’s effected everyday life, too?
So, I’ve had the opportunity to work with many different kinds of people from different walks of life. I’ve had this happen before, but I’m experiencing it more and more these days as I work in a field that partners teams up to complete projects, which is different than my previous experiences working with individuals who work independently to complete their own project. As I’m working with these different teams, I hear more and more negativity sprouting from them ALL DAY LONG! It really affects my work mood and is not what I want to be around to work more productively.
Here’s what I’ve heard on a daily basis lately… Criticisms of anyone doing something differently than the way “you” would do it. (Driving faster or slower than you on the road, approaching a task differently than you would - even though the outcome is the same, etc.) Criticisms of bosses that don’t communicate with you often enough, or too often, or not in the way that you’d prefer. Perhaps, criticizing a boss just because they finally called you on the crud you try to pull to get out of work. And, while I appreciate sports fans getting excited about an upcoming competition, criticizing professional athletes or coaches on how they do a job that you are in NO WAY qualified to do, just doesn’t help anyone!
Finally, when in charge of my own crew, I addressed this negativity by stating I’d like my work place to be a “Negativity Free Zone”. I’m not trying to say I was “triggered” or hurt by any of this, but it really doesn’t serve any productive purpose. I challenged my crew to think about this one simple question: How did that complaint/criticism help the day or the situation?
I understand people need to vent about stressful situations, but:
This isn’t venting as much as just complaining.
Co-workers are not the right people to vent or complain to, especially during work hours.
This mentality seems pretty selfish or self-centered to me. Berating others because their different or they handled something in a way you don’t appreciate really isn’t going to change anything, except for perhaps the way others see you.
As someone who fell in love with teaching from a young age, I was pretty much raised with a servant leadership mentality. I think about others - what they might need/want, or possibly what caused them to take that action. I’m not saying I’ve always been great at this, but it really has expanded as I’ve aged and matured through living my own experiences. Now days, I approach someone cutting me off on the road with a different view than I did 20 years ago.
My favorite tv or radio programs don’t always just slant one way on every issue. My favorites allow the viewer/listener to see/hear both sides of the issue. At Ninja Fit, I ask my students to think about others from day one. When reviewing the tenets we live by, I challenge the students to think about them on a daily basis & bring back a story about how they’ve shown their assigned tenet within the past week. I ask that same thing from you as a reader, whether a student of martial arts or not… Examine your daily interactions with people and see if there might be improvement in your own attitude. You may be surprised how a small change in freeing yourself from negativity may affect those around you. Maybe we CAN make this world a better place, one person at a time.
Sport Martial Arts vs Traditional
First, let’s define the terms:
Sport Martial Arts (sometimes called Sport Karate) - practiced with the main reason being to excel in tournament competition.
Traditional Martial Arts - practiced with the main reason being self-defense application.
Pros of Sport Martial Arts:
*Incredibly acrobatic display of athleticism during forms (or “kata”).
*Commendable energy displayed throughout forms.
*Fast fighting techniques to score quick points.
*Very entertaining for spectators.
Pros of Traditional Martial Arts:
*Movements in forms are based around strong positions for the body & practical self-defense.
*Practice continual fighting more than stop/start of tournament sparring.
*Moves have historical backing passed down through generations.
Cons of Sport Martial Arts:
*Stances in forms are over-exaggerated & lose their effectiveness for combat settings.
*More emphasis on yelling & “flashy” moves than on proper technique.
*Tournament sparring becomes so much about “playing tag” than practicing with correct techniques.
*When tournament prep is your sole focus for training, you spend A LOT of money traveling & participating in tournaments.
Cons of Traditional Martial Arts:
*Don’t generally include acrobatic moves in traditional practice.
*May not be as entertaining for spectators to watch.
*Not as “popular” as Sport Martial Arts for weapons & acrobatic practice.
Personally, I can appreciate certain exciting aspects of Sport Martial Arts that would attract more natural athletes to the martial arts world & give kids more motivation to practice the “cool” moves they love to do. That extra motivation to practice will inevitably help develop students that are in better physical shape, too, which is something traditional martial arts instructors also want. Also, practicing controlled sparring for speed does a few good things: it increases students’ control just by focusing on it in practice; it gives students a sense of safety; it increases the speed at which the techniques are thrown & one must react. Even if the controlled techniques to “point” areas aren’t as helpful in true self-defense, I can definitely agree that practicing with fast opponents can only help prepare your body/mind to react quickly in a true self-defense setting.
Over the years, I’ve seen plenty of tournaments and can appreciate having another goal of something to practice toward. Tournaments DO require attention to detail in preparing forms, cleaning up even the acrobatic moves, & much preparation in conditioning to compete in the fast-paced sparring. Also, competing in “Open” tournaments is a great chance for people to see practitioners of other martial arts.
However, in tournaments built mainly around traditional martial arts, but that may offer chances to compete in “non-traditional” or “extreme” forms, I see more participants competing with good attitudes. That’s not to say that ALL competitors in Sport Martial Arts tournament circuits are NOT competing with sportsman-like attitudes. It just seems to me that if you build the focus of your practice around competing, then you’re likely to forget the life lessons taught in most traditional martial arts schools now days.
As an instructor, I strive to offer as many different opportunities to my students as possible. I enjoy offering the opportunity to prepare for tournaments (that I feel are well-run and safe), but will not require it as mandatory for anyone. Everyone has their own goals and commitment levels. I’ve learned enough throughout my years to help my students excel in whichever direction they wish to go.
Check out this article for more info: www.downloadkarate.com/karate-articles/traditional-vs-sport-karate
Teaching “Quality” in Martial Arts
Over the course of a 30+ year involvement with martial arts, I’ve seen multiple styles of arts & even more ways to teach those arts. Whether you’re teaching Sports Martial Arts or Traditional, if you want your students to achieve success (as measured by competition with others or within your own studio), it’s necessary to understand HOW to teach quality.
One of the biggest parts of martial arts success is developing muscle memory. In order for students to gain comfort moving their bodies in these new & strange ways, they need loads of repetition. Even more important is guided repetition. Many instructors would be happy to have students practicing at home, but many beginners & intermediate students will develop bad habits if left to their own knowledge. It’s in-class practice that’s needed most. However, students will tire of repetition unless made challenging or fun. This is the instructor’s greatest challenge.
For students to gain quality practice at home, I’ve found that having access to video tutorials on exactly how you want the moves performed helps students practice in the right way. While making videos, give guided examples of how the student can “up their level” of challenge during drills. The challenge is a great way to motivate students in their practice, whether at home or in class.
Finally, in creating quality black belt candidates, it’s important for the students to learn the WHY behind the techniques they perform. Anyone can memorize a pattern of moves, but to make them look believable and to have them tell a story, the student must understand the purpose of each move. This is what moves the student to become an “artist”. Hence, the term “martial art”.
Teaching quality in the martial arts means to develop students into martial artists. Martial artists gain much knowledge through practice and repetition that help them understand more about themselves. Teaching the WHY is what helps them understand more about the art itself. For more information about becoming a better instructor, please contact us or view our Youtube page for free video advice.
Teaching Martial Arts - Raise Your Expectations
When teaching anything, if you want quality students, you must “inspect what you expect”. Over my years of experience in the martial arts and in other fields, I’ve witnessed many different styles of teacher. In my experience, one thing reigns true when observing the teaching styles of those that produce high quality students… Quality teachers have higher expectations. Not just higher expectations in a couple areas, but across the board.
That equates to raising expectations on all the little things, too. As an instructor, think of all the ways you can raise expectations of your students. From how they eat - to exercise regiments - to goal setting, you have the chance to help your students reach levels above & beyond even what you can achieve. As an instructor, you teach a variety of students, all with differing abilities. Some of these students have natural talents far different than your own. It’s your responsibility to guide the student and help them develop their talents, no matter what those might be. If those talents lay outside your own, a great instructor investigates ways to help develop them into more.
Having high expectations goes for your students as well as for yourself. Great instructors continue to learn and grow, in their own artistic development, as well as growing as a teacher. Hopefully, you’ve learned that much growth comes from personal development. For instructors wanting to be the best they can be, that growth comes from continued study of the martial arts as well as continued study of teaching, coaching, leading, & motivating others. In today’s day and age, that study and research is easier than ever.
My hope is that this article helps guide and motivate other instructors. For free video guidance, please visit our Youtube page. For deeper insight, please contact us.
When is the Best Time of Year to Begin Martial Arts Training?
As martial arts are offered year-round, ANY time is a good time to start. We realize that certain times of year are easier for some people to settle their schedules & start something new, but everyone’s situation is different. Therefore, we constantly offer deals throughout the year for anyone interested in trying lessons.
Most martial arts schools get a big rush of students at the beginning of the school year & in January/February. These times of year seem to coincide with people’s schedules returning to “normal” after summer months away, or starting the new year with refreshed goals. Sometimes, it can be that the kids start once their current sport season is over. Perhaps, it strikes you that the perfect time to try something new would be the summer months, that way your student has time to adjust & see if they’ll stick with it before the new school year starts.
Any way you slice it, we’re here & ready to receive new students year-round. But, please realize that once you start, the training continues year-round, too. That’s one aspect that really helps martial arts teach the discipline that other sports don’t get the time to teach. Whenever you’re ready, please call or come by to try a free lesson and see if Ninja Fit is the right fit for you and your family.
Why Martial Arts is Good for Children Who Are Being Bullied
Let’s start with the obvious - most martial arts can help students learn quality self-defense skills so they feel more comfortable and confident that they can defend themselves. Why do I say “most”? Well, there are “active” and “passive” arts out there & I believe some are better suited for self-defense than others. Then again, it all depends on the instructor. At Ninja Fit, we aim to arm students with the skills (emotional, verbal & physical) needed to avoid or deal with bully situations.
In addition to learning the proper skills needed for self-defense, there are other skills that can help students avoid the bully scenario altogether. Thinking ahead to avoid the problem is a good first step. Another benefit of extended martial arts training (because it doesn’t happen overnight) is the development of confidence or self-esteem. People that project confidence are a lot less likely to become a victim of bullies. At Ninja Fit, we have systems in place to start helping students build confidence from “day one”, but you’ll see a continued improvement the longer they train.
Students feel more self-assured if they’re mentally & physically prepared to protect themselves, even if they never have to use their skills. We aim to help both kids & adults develop that confidence while also arming them with the tools to avoid those situations when possible. For more information, or to try a lesson out, please call or come by so we can help you change your life.
Why Martial Arts is Good for Children Who Bully Others
Many people who bully, do so because of many different reasons. For the same reason that martial arts offers many benefits to all sorts of students (athletes, non-athletes, etc), martial arts can help bullies develop into better people.
You may think that sounds contrary to realistic expectations, but think about what martial arts can offer (review previous articles written). For those who bully because they need an outlet to deal with their stresses, martial arts offers an outlet for that. For those who bully because they have low confidence or self-image, martial arts has systems built to help nurture that. Once their self-image builds up, there’s less need felt to tear others down. For those who bully because they feel out of place or unwanted, martial arts provides a place where everyone is welcome & rewarded by their own efforts.
Although martial arts teaches techniques that could be dangerous, a good instructor places higher emphasis on respect and courtesy. The life lessons taught at martial arts schools is a HUGE reason parents bring their kids to our programs… Why wouldn’t bullies be able to learn from those same life lessons, as well?
If you know someone that could use our help, please call or come by to try a lesson. We look forward to helping everyone grow into a better version of themselves.
Why Martial Arts is Good for Overactive Children & Children with Learning Disabilities
“For most overactive children, or children with a learning disability, martial arts is the perfect activity. It is fast-paced, fun, and requires a high level of physical activity. This is usually exactly what they need.
When taught correctly, martial arts helps students get into the ideal performance state, which is a combination of mental clarity, physical energy, and emotional calm. So, it is rarely boring and helps overactive children learn to focus their energy in a productive manner.
On top of that, a well-run martial arts class naturally facilitates the three main learning modalities - visual, auditory, and kinesthetic - so that every child’s learning needs are met.”
-the above was written by Dave Kovar in MA Success Magazine.
At Ninja Fit, we promise to not only keep your child actively learning, but to continue checking-up on their success outside the dojo, too. We WANT to know how they’re behaving at home or scoring in school. Please give us a chance to effect your child’s life in a positive way by bringing them in to try a lesson with us.