Fitness for kids.SHAPING THE FUTURE

Why is exercise or physical activity important for my child?
Just like in adults, increased physical activity has been associated with an increased life expectancy and decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. Physical activity produces overall physical, psychological and social benefits.

Inactive children are likely to become inactive adults.
Physical activity helps with:

improved psychological well-being, including gaining more self-confidence and higher self-esteem 

How do I promote physical activity in my child?

Physical activity should be increased by reducing sedentary time (e.g., watching television, playing computer video games or talking on the phone).

Physical activity should be fun for children and adolescents.

Parents should try to be role models for active lifestyles and provide children with opportunities for increased physical activity.

What if my child is uncoordinated or overweight?

All children, even less-coordinated ones, need to be physically active. Activity may be particularly helpful for the physical and psychological well-being of children with a weight problem. 
Why Martial Arts is the best choice for fitness.
It’s fun. No parent wants to drag and unwilling child to a sport or activity. Martial Arts classes are exciting, easy for most kids and with a very extreme cool factor.   
Martial arts is an individual sport with a team atmosphere. No one sits on the bench.
Classes are effective because they are 45 minutes long and increase in intensity so kids will reach a high level of intensity and fitness. Just what doctors are recommending.
The goal setting and awarding of belts for progress makes this a long term activity.
Parents love the benefits of increased self esteem, courage, self protection, patience and courtesy.
Parents can support and watch classes. Other parents may choose to take lessons as well.

Living with your choices

Living with your choices
It may be a scary thought for some, but there will come a day in every parent’s life when they realize that their child can make decisions all by himself. It might be a few years or more before that time will come, but giving your child the tools he needs to make good decisions will be useful to him when it does.
By far one of the hardest parts about making a decision is being confident in your choice. Whether it’s what to wear to an important event or occasion or what college to attend, having confidence in his decisions can help your child become a successful adult.

That, of course, is easier said than done. Few of us feel truly confident in all of our decisions. One way to help your child gain confidence in his decisions is to help him think through his choices before he makes them. Talk about the desired outcome he wants and then discuss which of his possible choices would most likely lead to that desired outcome.
One simple example of this strategy is the decision to study versus hanging out with friends. If your child’s desired outcome is to do well in school but still spend time with friends on the weeknights, ask him questions that could lead to a possible decision. Is there a way he can have both? Could he study first and then go out to play when he is finished?
While sometimes your child won’t have a choice in the matter, when he does its important to let him at least try to come to a good decision by himself. Carol Merchiore’s son David learns to make good decisions through his martial arts training.

“David has developed a maturity in making choices,” she said. “He has the confidence to make a decision and live with it.”
David has already learned one of the hardest parts of decision making: living with the results. Everyone makes “bad decisions” at some point or another, but what’s more important is how you handle the consequences. Since you can’t go back and change the past, the only thing you can do is make the best out of your situation, which could even work in your child’s favor.
One of the most difficult times for your child to do this may be when you decide that his actions warrant punishment. Most of the time your child will probably think it is radically unfair for him to be grounded. You, however, know that sometimes it is necessary so that he can learn from his bad decisions not to make the same mistake twice. He has to live with the consequences of his actions and learn to make the best out of them.
This also applies to the things that are out of our control. While having the right information to make a good decision is usually important, sometimes we are not even given a choice. For example, if your child has a test on something that he is struggling with, he can’t choose to take the test later. He has to take it on the day assigned; however, he can make the best out of an unfavorable situation by using the time he has to study, prepare, and ask a teacher, tutor or parent for extra help. The added pressure of the test could even be the extra push he needs to help him understand the material.

While there are many decisions that you will make for your child until he is mature enough to make the right choice himself, letting him handle smaller decisions now will be good practice for when his decisions carry more weight. It will teach him that he is in control of his own fate.
Contributed by Solomon Brenner Author of Black Belt Parenting “the art of raising your child for success” 

Martial Arts is great for … Co-ordination! 

A child’s physical coordination will ultimately have a bearing on his skill level in sports, academic performance and even attitudes about school and education, found a report by Lori A. Smith, president of the Illinois Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. That’s why it is important for kids to have structured games and activities throughout the day that present coordination exercises. With your help, your child can work on developing coordination skills that can help him throughout his life.According to Greg Silva a 7th degree black belt in Kenpo Karate and author of the book “The Silva Solution” Teaching Black Belts From The Inside Out”, “martial arts in like no other sport in developing coordination.”   

Coordination is developed thought physical exercise that access both hemispheres of the brain. As kids begin martial arts we often notice kids with good physical skills when doing things on their favorite side. However in martial arts we practice things both sides and often from side to side at pretty fast repetitions. With younger kids we often see difficulty with the coordination from side to side.

When students punch with their right hand they are accessing the left side of the brain. When doing a left punch they access the right hemisphere of the brain. When first starting out it seems that there isn’t a clear path way for many students especially younger ones. Mr. Silva explains it like this. “If you and a neighbor had a large hedge between your properties it would be difficult to pass from one yard to the next. However if you and your neighbor would visit often, a clear path would soon form.” This same thing happens with kids train in martial arts. The drills, basics and exercises in martial arts form clear pathway of communication and the skills and coordination develop rather quickly.

We see kids improve on all areas including quick thinking and decision making. These alone with improvement in physical activities improve confidence as well as self esteem. Parents concerned about motor skills and coordination might want to consider martial arts for their kids. There are very few sports that build coordination inherently. Football and rugby have drills for building motor skills however martial arts has the drills built into all of it’s activities.

Stand out from the crowd ! 

  It’s about going the extra mile to prove that you are one of a kind in skills, talent, or personality. Standing out from the crowd is about trying to live your best and be your best.
2. When talking, it is important to come across as self assured and knowledgeable, so be sure to have done your research and know your facts beforehand. This might be teaching concepts or sharing a mat chat.
3. Take chances and work hard. Risks and chances are the things in life that can catapult you forward if they work out. Many people won’t take up the challenge because they’re afraid of failure. Yet, without failure nothing new can be gained and it is only those who are willing to take risks and to work hard at their dreams who eventually break through and succeed. Have a well-placed sense of faith in your mission, and a willingness to take risks if you want to stand out from the crowd. Don’t be afraid to compete, be part of a demonstration, lead a class or speak to groups.
4. Say Thank You for all the little things people do, as well as the big things. Send thank you cards to people who have helped you. 
5. When you make someone a promise, do your very best to keep it. People who stand out from the crowd are people who keep their word and follow up their promises to help, to be somewhere, to do something for someone. The reason you’ll stand out is because so many people do not do what they say they will. Reliability makes you memorable and causes you to stand well above all the forgotten promise-breakers.
6. Standing out from the crowd often means that you take action while everyone else stands back, wondering what to do next. If you learn to sum up situations quickly and to respond according to what needs to be done, you place yourself in a position of being different from the silent majority waiting to be shown what should happen next.
7. Check your posture. The person who stands out from the crowd will also stand tall, no matter your height. Slouching is a defensive strategy that does nothing to draw attention to you in a crowd, not to mention its harm for your overall body alignment.
8. The greatest honor you can do another person is to show you’ve really heard them, and to show that what they’ve said matters. Since most people are too busy wondering what to say next, and how to explain their own thoughts, feelings, and ideas, a listener will stand out from the rest. Be willing to give people the space to talk about themselves and show that you clearly respect their thoughts. Not only will this flatter them and reassure them that they matter, but they’ll realize very quickly that you’re someone to treasure and they’ll follow your lead.
9. Remind people how great they are. Regularly single out people in your life, from the workplace to home, to remind them how great they are. So few of us take the time to acknowledge the people in our lives whom we take for granted that when someone does validate us in this way, it comes as a totally sweet surprise and is so out of the ordinary that it gets remembered. It’s also a very genuine way of establishing rapport with people, and maintaining goodwill.
10. Smile. There are never enough smiles to go around; be someone who provides at least five smiles for every one frown you spot.

Martial Arts … Mind & Body Workout 

Stress is part of everyone’s life, yet much can be reduced and controlled. Being aware of how your body responds to stress is number 1.
Do you notice any of these stress indicators?
1. Headache

2. Muscle spasms 

3. Tightening of the neck, shoulder and back muscles

4. Anxiety

5. Rapid heart beat

6. Frustration

7. Anger

8. Hostility

9. Eating too much

10. Drinking too much.
In the martial arts, practitioners are taught to control stress through proper breathing. A few times a day take 10. Ten deep controlled breaths. Breathe in and hold the breath for 5 seconds and slowly let it out saying 10 and counting down. Control you breath so the exhale takes a long of longer then taking the breath. Use the time to concentrate on the breathing, holding and counting so you are completely focused. Repeat for ten cycles of inhalation and exhalation, filling to maximum capacity and emptying completely with each breath.
Next take time to talk to someone and socialize daily. We find out selves working alone or spending time online. Be sure to have interactions with others.
Last get some exercise that is moderate in intensity and allows some stress reduction. Hitting and kicking pads is very therapeutic.
Martial Arts is a great exercise program that trains Mind and Body. It defiantly has stress reduction exercise, breathing and a great community of people dedicated to overall health and well being.