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 […]

Grappling is NOT Self Defense

  I really hate it when big guys try to tell me, a 5 foot 5 inch woman, that joint manipulation and arm bars are self defense. Maybe for you. But not for me. Joint locks are fun to learn. They teach incredible body knowledge; exposing strong and weak ways to link wrists, arms and […]

Left Brain Logical / Right Brain Creative

The best dojos cultivate organized chaos. As a teacher I love it when the kids in my classes follow the rules, my rules. But I am such a rule breaker. I hate rules. I secretly think the kids who are best at bending the rules to their whims will go farther than the ones who […]

5, 4, 3, 2, 1

One of my simplest behavior management tricks is to count backwards. Sifu Chris Heinztman and Sifu David Chin came to Maine to teach us how to properly do Lion Dance. While they were here, we took everyone attending the workshop to Quaker Ridge. It is a beautiful local spot from which you can see the […]

Overcoming Obstacles

The ability to overcome obstacles is the key to recognizing your commitment. Did you quit karate because you didn’t like being barefoot? It is probably good that you did because you really wouldn’t have liked it when people started hitting you. Did you come back to karate after breaking a bone? Excellent. You are committed. […]