You Pay One Way or Another

When we were younger, doing grown up things looked so much better than the things we were doing. Grown-ups slept when they wanted, ate what they wanted and bought what they wanted. Who wouldn’t want that, right? Life was rough because we had a bed time (which was too early), we had to eat all of our food (which was gross because it wasn’t candy), and we only could buy what we could afford with our allowance (which came in the form of coins and cash instead of those awesome plastic cards adults had).

What we didn’t know was that parents paid for all those lessons with either skin, blood, time and/or money.

Sometimes doing what we want when we want could cost us more than we bargained. Deciding to go hiking on a trail we’ve never been on before might cost us. We might end up skinning our knee and losing a little blood thinking it might save some time when in fact it actually didn’t.

So what did we learn? Sometimes blazing a new trail may lead to set backs. Does that mean we don’t take risks in the future? No, but it means more time might be spent on calculating the risks before acting. That’s a life lesson.

Parent LeadersEveryone has problems and we need to keep that in mind when it feels like our world comes crashing to a fiery end. We all have some sort of issue going on that we need to power through in order to become a stronger person. Whether it be that one heartbreak we all have gone through or that credit card company we say yes to, these problems are in our lives to make us stronger people. Personal, professional, mental and physical problems teach us just how strong we can be.

Our lives as an adult will consist of countless decisions we have to make and some of them (the majority of them) will have consequences. Choosing to go out with some friends to Happy Hour might leave us suffering a hangover the next morning. Buying an expensive item means that there won’t be any room in the budget at the end of the month. Overextending our credit will only lead to financial burden and lead to more loss of money and time worrying about it. Sometimes we think it was easier to make decisions when our parents just gave us two choices.

We all have that one friend that our parents warned us about or didn’t like and for good reason. We all have been let down or disappointed in someone we thought was a good friend. Unfortunately, it is possible that you will be left behind for something bigger or better. This is just how people are sometimes and these disappointments will always happen no matter how much you try to avoid them.

On the bright side, our adult friendships may be stronger than ever once we have experience picking out good friends and detecting warning signs before we get hurt. This way we won’t feel that we wasted our time with someone who seemed not to care.

When we were younger, our parents seemed like the bad guys. They gave us curfews, they made us get jobs and they got upset every time our grades dropped. Part of growing up is realizing that parents are actually looking out for us and only want what is best for us.

In class the other night I asked how many student’s parents said they hope they have kids that grow up to be just like them. Over half of the class raised their hands. In order to be a good leader, you have to be a good follower, and right now our parents are the leaders. Hopefully, you are one of the lucky ones that is able to establish a solid relationship with your parents and keep it through your adult life.

At Virginia TaeKwonDo, we try to teach more than just martial arts. We also want to teach children (and adults) how to be better people. If you are interested in the classes we offer, please give us a call at 757-558-9869 or contact us.

How to Handle Anger

Anger is a normal, healthy emotion, but it can be a problem if you find it difficult to keep under control. “You can control your anger, and you have the responsibility to do so,” says clinical psychologist Isabel Clarke, a specialist in anger management.

I have realized that losing your temper is a sign of weakness. When I was a kid, if I lost my temper other kids were afraid. So with me losing my temper came extra power. As I got older (16 or so) I realized that this isn’t cool. It isn’t strength; it is really weakness.

Anger ManagementIt’s important to recognize your anger indicators; are you clinching your fists, raising your voice, breathing heavy, flaring your nostrils, shaking your head? Once you see those things, detach from them and look at it as a weakness.

In our Cubs class we tell the students, “Whenever I get angry I have to take 10 deep breathes and slowly count to 10.” If that is what it takes to detach from the moment to get yourself together, then do it. To get through that moment I like to nod my head in a slow and affirmative motion while I am thinking of how I can solve the problem.

Anger can cause many other problems in your life. My neighbor got into an argument with his fiancée in which she left. It was a way for her to detach; however, he continued his rage on the house. I must also add that alcohol and drugs are not great supporters in controlling anger. As his rage continued, she called the police as he made threats to end his life if she didn’t return.

Police investigated as he was trashing his house and busting out windows. The police left and he continued his assault on the house. He then decided to burn her clothing which set off the smoke detector which alerted her to call 911. Four fire trucks appeared on our street. The arson inspector was there along with the same officers from before.

This neighbor is also a member of our Armed Forces so not only is he in trouble with civil authorities, but he now has a problem with the military chain of command. I had tried to get him to pause and think about the situation twice, but again the drinking played a major factor.

I don’t see how anger can help in achieving what you want to get done. It clouds your mind’s ability to think clearly and come up with compromising solutions. Martial arts will help with the self-control aspect. Once you know how to control your mind, then the body will follow.

At Virginia TaeKwonDo in Chesapeake, we teach more than martial arts. We teach students how to handle themselves in various life situations. If you are interested in signing up for classes, give us a call at 757-558-9869 or contact us.

A Smooth Sea Never Made a Skilled Sailor

Let’s look at the quote again: “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.” What does this even mean? If you are out at sea and the water is calm and flat (it’s a beautiful sight from the flight deck of an aircraft carrier), you can really feel the peace, the vast ocean of life before you. The sun is out and shining, it’s tranquil and harmonious, and there’s no real need for great skill. You can just sail through and bask in all its glory.

There is nothing magical or spectacular about this quote and saying it in your head might not make anything happen or change anything, but in certain times of trials and tribulations it has a power behind it, that if you believe in yourself you will pull through.

Skilled Sailor QuoteFranklin D. Roosevelt’s quote, “a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor,” is one of my favorite quotes ever! Not because I spent 20+ years in the United States Navy but because of the profound meaning I have for it. This quote, so simple in nature, is also very deep and profound and I believe it should be kept in everyone’s little book of favorite quotes.

When the seas are calm and you are steaming right along, this can represent when everything in your life is going great. You are getting good grades, you are getting hours at work, you are spending time with family and friends, and life just seems grand. There isn’t much skill needed for when things are going great.

Now, let’s look at the other side of the scenario. You are out at sea and there is a storm coming, the wind is blowing making big waves, the water is splashing over the boat making it hard to see or move around on the boat. The sky is getting darker making it hard to see the obstacles ahead. Now comes the rain! Now it’s even harder to see or sense the right direction. Now you have lost your bearings and are being tossed about between the waves. If you are a new sailor you will be forced to learn the skills on hand that are needed to try to overcome the situation, and if you are a seasoned sailor then the skills and experience from past storms will come to help. We can look at this as a point in our lives where it is not going so well. Something or things are happening in our lives that are testing our skills and making us work harder.

I have a greater appreciation for my Search and Rescue Instructors in making final practicals as hard as humanly possible. There are sides in a pool and even a bottom you can touch. Out to sea, there are neither within your grasp and you better put some of those skills to work or you may not make it back to the ship. Having to conduct a rescue at 2 a.m. in seas in which a 90,000 ton ship is being moved about can be very devastating in a Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) if you don’t know what you are doing.

I also love this quote because I believe God places a balance of smooth seas and rough seas in our lives to keep close to Him and to be able to help others in need. When the seas are calm we praise God for the blessing and we share the glory with others. When the storms are rough we are forced to put our faith in God and use the skills acquired over the years to help pull us through.

We grow in times of trouble, we grow in our faith (sometimes we lose it), we grow in experience, we grow in maturity and we grow in the relationship with others. All these things help mold us into the people we were meant to be. I truly believe we get tested and put in situations so that when we meet someone or when God places us in someone’s life who is going through the same or similar situation we will be able to help them.

Bruce Lee once said, “Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.” All in all we must embrace the days the seas are smooth and embrace the days where the seas are rough to become a well rounded sailor.

At Virginia TaeKwonDo, we strive to help our students know how to handle the tough times in life. With adequate training and experience, they can handle any storm that comes their way. If you would like to work on your survival and leadership skills, sign up for classes at our academy. Give us a call at 757-558-9869 or contact us.

No Shortcuts

On base you see people walking on the sidewalk instead of the grass. The reason isn’t because it harms the grass. It’s symbolic. It’s about not taking literal shortcuts. The idea is that if one person takes a shortcut once, they’ll see no problem cutting corners the next time. And if done enough times, there is no need for a sidewalk.

No Shortcuts in Martial Arts

How would you feel if the mechanic took shortcuts on maintaining the plane you will be traveling on? Or an elevator? Or the brakes on your vehicle? Having the integrity and discipline to not cheat even a little takes mental strength. Do you have that?

At Virginia TaeKwonDo Academy we don’t take shortcuts on the path to a black belt. Earning a black belt takes years of training, practice, perseverance and hard work. It doesn’t come by taking shortcuts. Most other worthwhile things in life don’t come by taking shortcuts either. So, put in the work and you will have an even greater sense of accomplishment when you achieve your goal.

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.

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.