A Letter to Parents from Tom Callos

This letter was borrowed from Tom’s Blog: My Life is My Dojo (A philosophy I strongly believe).   I encourage anyone with interests in martial arts to read his blog(s) and follow his great work.

Parents, Enroll Your Children in Martial Arts Lessons

When I was 9-years-old I was given my first martial arts lessons when an old judo teacher invited me to step on his mat and learn how to perform a forward roll. This year I will be 53-years-old —and if I could, I would go back to that judo man and thank him. I would press my forehead against his, as I have seen Pacific Islanders do. I would hold him by the shoulders, eye to eye, and try to communicate something more than words, alone, could express. I am most certain I would cry; they would be tears of joy and soulful appreciation.

In the 44 years that have passed since that day, I have spent many thousands of hours practicing, participating in, promoting, and “being in” the martial arts world. I’ve been mindless in my practice —and mindful. I’ve been absent and present, an obstacle and a guide, a student and a teacher, a friend and the enemy.

As the 9-year-old boy, returning to tell you about his adventure, as the pre-teenager, sharing his emerging sense of self-confidence, as the 17-year-old deeply immersed in preparation for his black belt test, as the 25-year-old leading his first students, as the 32-year-old at the peak of his physical skills, as the 44-year-old using the practice to maintain his center, and as the 52-year-old teacher sitting at his computer reaching out to you, I would encourage you to bring your own children to a martial arts school, to a teacher, in your community.

While my English teachers taught me appreciation for the written word and language, while math and science teachers helped me to solve problems, while my parents struggled to teach me all that parents are burdened with teaching, my martial arts teachers, all of them, taught me the art of putting my feet solidly on the ground. They taught me to fall, if at all possible, softly, and to regain composure quickly. They taught me to block and counter, to embrace and relax in the struggle, to focus on the solution, and to understand as deeply as understanding can root itself in one’s mind, the power and path of practice.

Yesterday my oldest son, after many years of study, was awarded his black belt. Today his brother will be competing in a martial arts tournament in Japan, trying to stretch a years worth of record breaking performances and victories a bit farther.

Parents: The effort it took to bring them to classes, to weather their resistance to the repetitive and rigorous practice, to get them to the right teachers, and to pass to them the spirit of what is behind the technique, it has all been (so very) worth it. 

If you are looking for something that might instill in your children the lessons they will undoubtedly need to survive and thrive in this tumultuous world, if you are looking for someone who can assist you in teaching your children how to keep their feet firmly planted, their eyes on the right things, and to master the art of turning obstacles into opportunities, I would like to encourage you to look carefully for a good teacher of the martial arts. The cost of tuition is worth it. The time you invest is worth it. Enduring the demands of teachers who seem to be committed beyond good judgement, is worth it.

In all the things that I’ve created in my life, of all the struggle, the love, the adventures, and the sorrows I’ve experienced, there hasn’t been a more abundant source of strength, support, and regeneration than what I have learned practicing the martial arts. As you may know, “martial” means “war,” and the art my many warrior-teachers taught me is about the struggle to appreciate your parents, brothers, sisters, and friends, while they are here and still available. I have learned to fight my ever-present ego and ignorance, apathy, and disconnection, opponents who seem ever-ready to dump you on your ear if caught unaware. I have learned, even, how to live a life of kindness —a kind of life that has become outwardly simple, but inwardly rich; which are self-defense lessons extraordinaire.

It may, for a long time, be difficult to connect the kicks, punches, and wrestling your children do in a martial arts class to the experiences and my testimony above, but trust me, there is a connection. The long awards ceremonies, the hassles of formal belt testing, the tournaments, the bumps, black eyes, and bruises will be hard to endure, but I am confident that they will produce a positive outcome if you stick to the training.

I’m hoping this letter reaches you, as that teacher reached out to me so many years ago now. I would like to encourage and invite your child to step onto the mat, to get his or her first lesson. I know the potential of what awaits the committed student. I know how much the lessons have supported the very same things I wanted my children to learn —as a parent. In today’s world, the martial arts teacher can help us prepare our children for those things that await them, with courage, with a sense of self-dicipline and patience. What more could a parent ask for?

Kids Need to Move

From Delta Optimist

I spent the first 12 years of my life avoiding sports as much as possible. As much as I enjoyed free playtime with my friends in my neighbourhood, I disliked structured sports mostly because the teachers made it seem more like punishment.

It wasn’t until I was in my late teens, that I took up martial arts and got more physically active thanks to a wonderful and encouraging coach.

As a mother of a 13-year-old boy, I realize that raising an active child requires parents who can keep up, and I am thankful for all the opportunities that I have had in my life as they help me get back on track from time to time.

Being active in the early years is beneficial for physical health and development; proven to support brain development, enhance bone, muscular and cognitive development. It also enhances social and emotional skills through developing resilience and behavioural flexibility.

Our kids need to sit less and move more. They need to get off the couch and away from the screen, get outdoors and get their hearts pumping regularly.

There are challenges for everyone, and we have to come up with creative ways to ensure that we live a balanced life to stay active and healthy.

Technology is changing the way we live and people are finding it difficult to fit exercise into their increasingly busy lives. In today’s world, as the free play and outdoor activity have dramatically reduced for our children, incorporating physical activity in whatever way we can has become even more crucial.

Never before has children’s health been deemed so important for public health, with concern that unhealthy lifestyles will lead to lower life expectancy for this generation of young people compared to previous ones.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated that childhood obesity is one of the most severe global public health challenges this century. In Canada over 26 per cent of children and youth (one in four) are considered overweight or obese.

B.C. Pediatricians claim that “In the young, obesity and overweight are associated with physical conditions such as joint problems and difficulty in breathing while asleep (sleep- apnea), and emotional-social conditions such as low self-esteem and social isolation. Obese teenagers almost always become obese adults. In adulthood obesity and overweight can often lead to illness and premature death.”

According to the ParticipACTION Report Card 2016 on Physical Activity for Children and Youth only 9 per cent of Canadian kids aged 5 to 17 get the 60 minutes of heart-pumping activity they need each day.

The report mentioned that many Canadian kids are sleep deprived and are experiencing more fatigue.

Regular physical activity allow for daily tasks to be accomplished with greater ease and comfort and with less fatigue. Research shows that almost half the functional decline between the ages of 30 and 70 is due not to aging itself but to an inactive and sedentary lifestyle.

Establishing positive habits early in childhood and adolescence can last a lifetime.

Here is a summary of the new Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth that encourages children and youth to “Sweat, Step, Sleep and Sit”.

For optimal health benefits, children and youth (aged 5–17 years) should have:

• An accumulation of at least 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity involving a variety of aerobic activities. More is even better!

• Uninterrupted nine to 11 hours of sleep per night for those aged 5–13 years and eight to 10 hours per night for those aged 14–17 years, with consistent bed and wake-up times;

• No more than two hours per day of recreational screen time;

• Limited sitting for extended periods.

But let’s face it! These are great guidelines and if people caring for children commit to becoming healthier themselves – making better nutrition choices, performing regular physical activity, limit their screen time and practice good sleep habits – their children are much more likely to emulate these behaviours.

We have to also recognise that physical education (PE) is not always an absolute good. Sometimes poor PE experiences can weaken the capabilities that children and youth need to achieve.

I have witnessed time and time again how a culture of negativity in some sports can hamper the internal capabilities of a child to achieve.

– See more at: http://www.delta-optimist.com/opinion/opinion-kids-need-to-get-off-that-couch-1.2366484#sthash.fE26JM2t.dpuf

Fall Kids Classes

Fall Flyer PictureFall 2015 Youth Classes

September 19, 2014 at 05:26PM

via Buff When you start daring to think in ways that you’ve been taught not to think, there are all sorts of areas left to explore ~ Jane Goodall er

September 19, 2014 at 05:33PM

via Buff Principles of Judo:
Carefully observe oneself and one’s situation, carefully observe others, and carefully observe one’s environment.~Kano er

September 19, 2014 at 05:33PM

via Buff Principles of Judo:
2. Seize the initiative in whatever you undertake.
~ Jigoro Kano er

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