Rules of Engagement

Parents, did you know that 165,000 kids miss school every day because of the fear of bullies? Did you also know that bullying causes depression and low self-esteem? Martial Arts training helps to protect your child from bullies.

Schools have a “zero-tolerance” for fighting. Who does this favor? The bully or the victim? While this policy does reduce the amount of physical fights that the school may encounter, what about the verbal bullying? Verbal harassment is more damaging and lasting than physical harassment. In our Jiu-Jitsu class we teach the three T-Steps:

Talk: Talk with the bully and ask them to stop. Asking uses our Tenet of Courtesy and is more likely to work than demanding the bully stop. Use a three part sentence (1) what the bully is saying (2) how it makes you feel (3) what is the desired outcome. Like this: “When you call me stupid it makes me feel bad and I wish that you would stop.” It is possible that the person who was verbally harassing was not aware of it and by using our Talk we can defuse the situation. If the bully ignores this request, we must continue to ask them for three days. It seems like a lot, but a solution is coming.

Tell: Make your parents and teacher aware of the situation after three days. Why wait the three days you might ask? It is possible, through another of our tenets of Perseverance, that the bully may stop and there was no need to trouble anyone about it. Should you have to tell the teacher, he or she will appreciate that you tried to handle it yourself. “Mrs. Hunt, I asked Bobby three days in a row to stop calling me names.” You might want to tell your parents right away to keep them informed. Some people might say you are a tattle-tail. Are you a tattle-tail if you call the fire department if you see a house burning or the police if you see someone breaking into your home? Telling is the only way to inform the right people of the situation.

Tackle: While your first thought is the physical act, it is not the first part of the T-Steps. Tackling mentally may solve the situation. Remember a bully feeds on fear of the victim. Once you tell them you are not afraid, they may leave you alone. Ask the bully, “Are you challenging me to a fight, because I am not afraid of you.” If the bully says no then a simple response like, “Then stop calling me stupid and wasting my time.” If the bully decides to get physical, then we can use our Jiu-Jitsu skills.

Jiu Jitsu ChesapeakeRegardless of how the fight starts, it is likely both parties will end up in the principal’s office. By following the three T-Steps it will be easier to explain what happened when the bully went from verbal to physical attacks. Explain how you tried to resolve the situation by “asking” the bully to stop. Explain how you informed the teacher of the situation. It is very possible that the teacher did talk with the bully. It might have reduced the amount or just made sure it wasn’t done in the classroom where the teacher can observe. Explain that you asked the bully if their intentions where to fight and that you had no intentions of injuring the bully but using your Jiu-Jitsu to protect yourself. If you followed the rules, you should not have any fear from your parents. You may be suspended from school due to the “zero-tolerance” rule on fighting, but let’s examine the end result. Do you think the bully will be more likely to verbally harass you in the future? Do you think that word got out and is around the school that you are not going to stand for this kind of behavior?

I had a junior TaeKwonDo Black Belt who was physically harassed in school. His dad was a Marine Corps Colonel. This Black Belt student was more afraid of what his dad would do to him for fighting in school than what the bully could do to him. He endured a lot of harassment and one day was pushed down and hit his head on the ground. His injury was a concussion and a night in the hospital. He never told his dad what was going on at school. His dad said he would have supported him using his TaeKwonDo if he had known.

Of course the school does not want a physical fight; however, if the parent says one thing and the school says another….who do you listen to? You listen to the parent. You go to school to get an education and not to be physically or mentally harassed. Most kids do not stand up for themselves because they lack the self-confidence to protect themselves. Our students are not aggressive but more assertive through their training. They do not just defend themselves but stand up for those who are being harassed physically and mentally. If your child is not training in a Martial Art, get them into one. It is just as much a part of their education as the school you send them to during the day. Physical scars will heal but the emotional ones will last a lifetime.

If you would like more information about the martial arts classes we teach at Virginia TaeKwonDo Academy, please give us a call at 757-558-9869 or contact us.

Our Society Desperately Needs Martial Arts

I am convinced that society needs the benefits of martial arts training now more than ever. Just turn on the news for 10 minutes and, if a you can last that long, you will see what I mean. Adults are stressed to the max, children are obese, and violent crimes seem to be getting more and more violent by the day. That’s the tip of the iceberg of what I stumbled across last night as I quickly flipped through the channels.

Even worse are the awful school shootings that are making headlines. All of these incidents are so tragic and heart breaking. Could they have been prevented? Maybe. I know that students who train in martial arts have more training in self-protection than 90 percent of the people who are actually in charge.

Martial Arts Training ChesapeakeI asked students the other day what they do during a school shooting drill. This is what they told me: “They cover the window and lock the door then we all just sit in a corner and keep quiet.” This is the plan? Why not fight for your life? A Navy SEAL told me once that as trained as he was in combat that 3-5 guys rushing him at once would defeat his training. He would get one or two, but the other three would overtake him. How about 20 kids in a classroom versus one shooter? There are no guarantees that no one will be hurt, but fighting is better than just huddling in a corner waiting to be shot, in my opinion.

Think of the people on United Airlines Flight 93. Once they found out what was happening on other planes, they decided to fight back. What is the school doing to protect your most precious gift, your child? This is the fifth year we have offered FREE tuition classes for all public and private school teachers.

I’ll never know it and neither will those that I save, but I believe that what I teach has such an incredible effect on others and their future. It is no coincidence that martial arts training has reached a historical point at the same time society, and especially our children, need it so desperately. As someone once said, “The future is for those who prepare for it today.” We want our children to be prepared. We, as parents, struggle and sacrifice for it.

This education and development in martial arts will last a lifetime. Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the greatest weapon, which we can use to change the world.” If your child is taking martial arts, then you are an awesome parent who cares very much for the safety and development of your child. If you know a friend who has a child not involved in martial arts, share with them the success stories of your child and suggest they start their training. Sometimes the smallest gift has the biggest impact.

If you would like to learn more about martial arts or sign up for classes, please give Virginia TaeKwonDo Academy a call at 757-558-9869 or contact us. Teachers, you can sign up for free classes, so please take advantage of this opportunity to better defend yourself and your students.

What It Takes to be a Warrior

Across the ages every great society has celebrated and revered a great warrior tradition and passed on the stories of these heroes in folklore. We can look back to the Spartans, Roman Legion, Vikings, Knights, Samurai or Aztecs, and each time we will find that a strong warrior class coincided with a strong nation.

The warrior’s spirit is alive and well here in the greatest nation in history. Although it lives in the hearts and minds of the greatest fighting force in the world, our society is beginning to shun warriors and move them down the social ladder. At the turn of the 20th century, warfare began to move away from the martial art of combat and move toward a more mechanical, detached system of destruction. This has changed society’s view of what it means to be a warrior and paved the way toward a society that now teaches our boys to be less masculine and more feminine.

Traits of a Warrior

Another reason for the cultural shift in thinking is that people have seen an increase in the warriors’ dark side. Of course when most of us hear about the dark side, we think of Darth Vader in Star Wars, and this is a good thing. If you understand how the force works in those iconic movies, you’ll understand how it works in today’s most elite warriors.

Warriors have a certain set of traits that can be used for good or evil, and it’s up to each one to choose what path he will follow. It’s also up to our society to allow boys to be boys and men to be men and express themselves in manly ways. Sometimes this involves fighting, which if used for the right reason, is a good thing – protecting our freedom.

Too many people think that in times of war we can turn on a magical switch to activate our warriors and protect our way of life, and when the war is over we turn off the switch and our warriors go back to normal, every day life. I’m guessing that most of you reading this would disagree and understand that being a warrior is a full-time job, a way of life and something that needs to be trained and tested so we can be ready for our enemies’ surprise attacks.

Going to war is not a prerequisite for the title of warrior. “Warrior” is simply a recognized role that has played a vital part in every great society from time immemorial, and we must continue to embrace and support them if we are to continue to be the “greatest nation on God’s green earth.” Although the road is difficult to travel and the rewards are few, there is always a need for true warriors.

Traits of a Warrior

CONFIDENT
I know this is one of the biggest indicators of success in any combat environment. I can see if someone is confident before we even start training. It’s why I can spot another warrior out in public, even if we’ve never met. A warrior is sure of oneself; having no uncertainty about one’s own abilities or success. Start with the end in mind – you will win. It’s not a question.

DECISIVE
Displaying no hesitation in battle is vital to survival.

ASSERTIVE
To be a good leader you need to be confident and direct in claiming your rights or putting forward your views.

STRONG
You don’t need to bench 500 pounds to join the club, but you do need to make the most of the muscles you have. Even the most skillful swordsman needs to have the strength to pick up the sword. This applies to mental muscle as well. You need to have a determined will in all that you do. A strong mind can make up for a weak body, but not the other way around.

SKILLFUL
Having the right mindset is vital, but you need a skill set to match that big brain of yours. The skills themselves can vary, but the more mad-ninja skills you have the more balanced you’ll become.
“Know your sword“ ~ Musashi

ACTIVE
You need to be moving, doing or functioning at all time. Ideas and theories are great, but action is what gets things done. Once you’ve got a plan, execute.

AGGRESSIVE
When most people think about being aggressive, they think about a Pit Bull with a bad owner. That aspect can and should be used in combat, but I’m talking about being forceful, bold and energetic.

DISCIPLINED
You’ve got a plan, you’re confident you can do it, now you need to have the discipline to stick to your plan. Getting up every morning at 0400 so you can hit the gym before work sucks! Being fat and out of shape sucks worse! Not hitting the snooze takes discipline. Warriors are disciplined.

ADAPTABLE
Warriors have a “friend” we call Max Flex. It means we need to be able to adjust quickly to different conditions. Being adaptable is what allows species to survive evolution. The way warriors survive in combat is by adapting to the ever-changing battlefield.

VIGILANT
You never know when the balloon will go up so you have to be ready 24/7. You need to see everything that’s happening around you and be prepared to react appropriately. Warriors are always prepared and ready.

PATIENT
Having patience means bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint. It means manning-up. I’ll always remember the whiners in my Search and Rescue course complaining about how cold or tired they were. Guess what? We were ALL cold and tired, and complaining didn’t make them any warmer (although quitting did).

CLEVER
A warrior needs to be mentally quick and resourceful. When things fall apart, it always happens fast and you need the metal prowess to quickly invent a new way to do what you were just trying to do. Things rarely go exactly as planned, and you need to be smart enough to adapt.

BRAVE
One of the biggest lessons I taught my daughter is what it means to be brave. Like most people (and even some dictionaries) they thought being brave meant that you weren’t afraid. This is actually the opposite of what it means. Being brave means that YOU ARE AFRAID, but you do the offending task in spite of your fears. I’m not afraid to ride roller coasters, so me riding one does not make me brave. When my daughter rode the Big Bad Wolf at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg for the first time she was afraid, but she was brave enough to go anyway. Afraid means you can still operate…scared means you are frozen (scared stiff).

LOYAL
An arrow without a tip is just a stick. A warrior needs direction, and that comes from being faithful to a cause, ideal or institution. This could be your family, your country or a religion. Having loyalty will keep you guided along your path; just make sure you keep it in balance with the other traits. Warriors are loyal to their country and loyal to their families.

LOVING
A warrior has confronted death and understands the value of life. Warriors whose lives are in balance are peaceful, unselfish and have a compassionate concern for the good of others. The love of his family is what gives the warrior his internal energy to constantly train for battle and strength to survive once he’s there.

I know this is a long list and the kicker is that it’s far from complete. My original goal was to come up with a nice sounding number to write about like, “Seven Traits of a Warrior,” but as I started to compile the list it grew far beyond seven and I simply stopped at a point that I thought would give you a good overview of the complexities inside these amazing warriors. You’ll become a true Renaissance-Man in your quest for warrior status, but just remember to stay away from the dark side.

Avoiding the Dark Side

Like yin and yang, hot and cold, or dark and light, all the above traits have two sides that can manifest. If your life is unbalanced, the dark side will be the stronger force and your actions will demonstrate this fact. There are several ways a warrior can become unbalanced and it’s important to quickly recognize this and take corrective actions.

Simply not being well rounded is the quickest way to become unbalanced. We see this in extremists’ who concentrate so much on loyalty to their religion that they completely neglect things like patience and love.

Suppression of a warrior’s God-given drive will also slowly lead to an imbalance and manifest itself in negative ways. Telling boys it’s wrong to fight is like telling a bird it’s wrong to fly. Holding back someone from what they are supposed to do will lead to unwanted consequences down the road. Sometimes warriors are traumatized, which can effectively short-circuit their systems. It doesn’t make them evil; they are the same person displaying the dark side of their traits. We see this with warriors coming home with PTSD and need to recognize the problem and put them back on the right path.

Finally, being improperly or inadequately trained can lead to imbalances. As you train yourself to become a warrior, be on the lookout for these imbalances and correct them as soon as possible. Like a magnet – all warriors have two sides and you cannot separate them. No matter how thin you slice a magnet it will always have a north and south pole. In the same way, no matter how much of the dark side you try to remove, you’ll always be left with both sides.

With our martial arts training, we work to develop the traits it takes to be a warrior, and we will do our best to teach you how to live a balanced life that will keep you on the good side and not the dark side.

Are you ready to be a warrior? We provide training to help you with the many traits a warrior needs. If you are interested in martial arts training in Chesapeake, please Contact Us or give us a call at 757-558-9869.

Thank You and Happy Holidays from Virginia TaeKwonDo

All of us at the Virginia TaeKwonDo and Jiu-Jitsu Academy just want to take a minute to say “thank you” to all our customers, old and new, who have supported our business over the past year. Whether you are a student, family member of a student, fan who “liked” us on Facebook, or someone who just stopped in to check out our academy, we enjoy our interactions with you and wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas & Happy New YearThere are a few customers in particular that we’d like to thank:

  • The customer with a sense of humor. These are the customers that understand that mistakes happen.
  • The customer who provides positive feedback that helps us to improve our services.
  • The customer who refers their friends to us. Your actions really are the highest compliment we receive.
  • You!

Thank you again, and we look forward to serving you in 2018!

The Importance of Confidence

Have you heard the quote “We are what we think”? If one is not confident in themselves and their abilities, then that lack of confidence results in self-doubt that shows through in things we say and do. If one is over-confident in themselves, then they generally have high expectations and are more apt to make riskier decisions in order to achieve those expectations.

Virginia TaeKwonDo Chesapeake

Achieving confidence in oneself is a balancing act, but an important one nonetheless. Setting realistic goals, keeping a positive state of mind and making the best use of one’s talent and skills are the best ways to achieve confidence.

If something doesn’t go the way it was supposed to, focus on the positive things that happened and make a learning opportunity out of the things that didn’t go so well. For example, if a student doesn’t do well at testing, it’s okay. There is always next time and until then, they should focus on how to improve the mistakes they made and to celebrate the things that went right.

“We are what we think” is a statement that we should all remember. If we believe in ourselves and our abilities, then we are those things! Confidence can mean more than just feeling good about oneself. There are other benefits to it as well, including:

  • Resisting peer pressure: When a student has a “sense of self” they are more likely to resist peer pressure.
  • Working harder toward goals: With each success, a student’s confidence grows. The more confident they are, the better they are at what they do.
  • Having a grip on emotions: Confident students can bounce back from setbacks. Instead of getting angry or sad, they will rise up to meet the challenge and continue on.
  • Taking risks in pursuit of goals: Confident students do not see winning or accomplishing their goals as an impossible feat – they see it as a challenge that is completely doable.
  • Seeing failure in a different light: Confident students see failure as a result of factors they have the power to change, and thus they try again and again until that challenge is complete.

As an instructor of the Academy, our goal is to prepare students for the responsibilities of citizenship. TaeKwonDo is about real and powerful experiences, resulting in the discovery of innate capabilities and a heightened sense of responsibility. To that end, we encourage our students to use their Martial Arts knowledge to improve our communities through one act of leadership at a time.

If you or your child could benefit from improved confidence, give us a call at 757-558-9869 or Contact Us to learn about the TaeKwonDo and Jiu-Jitsu classes we have for both children and adults.