For What Are You Called To Do?

I attended the ordination of a wonderful young pastor yesterday. Clergy always talk about being “Called” by God to their position, an undeniable voice telling them what to do. We all have access to that voice. The inner dialogue that says YES to this, and NO to that. Sometimes we are pulled by a voice, […]

Why, “What color is your belt?” is a Stupid Question.

If you have to ask someone, “What color is your belt?”, then their answer is irrelevant to you. So many arts, so many styles, so many instructors and so many philosophies impact the color of belts that they are not a universal indicator of quality. A series of questions that I like to ask is: “How […]

Behavior Management III

Gone. He’s gone. All it took was one little incident and he probably won’t be back. He will scream and cry to his parents that he hates karate. He doesn’t want to come. Flop on the floor. Rage against the idea. And it will be too much to fight. And he will win. Victory for […]

Sparring: It’s NOT What you DO, It’s What you SEE.

One of the benefits of being the old dog in the room is that you have SEEN it all before. Specifically, thousands of front kicks have come my way; left side, right side, front leg (Sensei John), back leg. Probably more round house kicks, and twice as many punches: high, low, middle, straight punch, reverse punch, […]

What is Bunkai?

Bunkai is an analysis; used to deconstruct the inner workings and to create a deeper understanding of Kata. What is Kata? Katas are complex. They involve blocks, strikes and kicks as well as proper stances and turns. They are choreographed and must be memorized. Each karate belt has certain katas that are part of the requirement of the […]

Learn Karate. Have Fun. Stay Longer.

We make our practice videos FUN for Three Reasons. 1. That is the way we teach. 2. Most other videos are either violent or boring. 3. If we can keep kids interested; they will last long enough to teach great life lessons. Like our live classes; we quickly demonstrate and explain our techniques, then we […]

Tell the Truth

My dogs tell time. Two minutes after 6 am is when they start barking if we decide to sleep in, and their wishful thinking starts at 4:30 for the usual 6 pm supper. Dropping the boy at church camp and doing a movie after got us home late last night for the routine. The old […]

Kids and Sparring I (Short)

Should Kids Spar? Yes How about Little Kids? Sure, in a safe and well supervised way. Big Kids? Absolutely Is it scary? Sometimes. Is there crying? Occasionally. Is it Fun? Usually. Is it Necessary? It is the best thing we do. When can they start sparring? As soon as possible. How do we get there? Progressively.

Always Praise Effort. Never Praise Ability.

Dr. Carol Dweck wrote, Mindset, and in it she outlines many examples of why building a culture based on effort is far superior to one based on ability. I used to tell the really gifted kids how great they were, but that creates a handicap they may never overcome. Just because a child learns forms […]

Hubris in the Dojo

Hubris is my second favorite word; the first is Curmudgeon. Mrs. O’Neal, my high school Ancient History teacher, introduced me to it many, many years ago. She taught, through the heroes in the Odyssey and the Iliad, that it is OK to be proud of your accomplishments, but not to the point of hubris. Such arrogance […]