8 Ninja Teaching Tips For Parents

With schools and other activities closing due to the coronavirus outbreak, many parents are finding themselves filling the roles of teacher, coach, guidance counselor, and hall monitor as the kids try to continue their studies in the home learning environment.

The first few days were likely an exciting new adventure. Still, as we continue to try to balance working from home, maintaining the needs of the household, and serving as the frontline for our kids’ education, we will likely experience new stresses. Kids who sit still for their teachers or listen to their martial arts coaches may not want to exhibit the same studious behaviors for their parents. And if there are siblings involved, you may even find yourself serving as a referee as the battle ensues.

Fear not, we are here to help!

You most likely do not have the training that educators have. Kids will naturally exhibit their worst behaviors around you because they feel the safest expressing their frustrations, fears, and desires to those who love them the most.

Your homeschooling adventure does not have to be a perfect recreation of the classroom or dojo. It only has to encourage kids to love learning. Once you relieve yourself of this burden, things will be much easier.

That said, you must have the tools needed to help kids get the most out of the time spent with you as their new teacher. The instructors at 4GK Martial Arts in Patchogue go through extensive training to be able to keep students engaged and enthusiastic, while also moderating behaviors. Read on to see how you can use some of our favorite teaching tips in your own home.

Here are eight teaching skills our pediatric ninja specialists use in every class to help keep kids engaged in the learning experience:

1. Healthy Competition

Competition no doubt allows students of all levels to step up their game, and if you prompt competition for your lessons in a fun way that splits the class into teams, then it’s not only healthy – it’s FUN too! If you have multiple children, this can be as simple as seeing who can draw the most number of triangles in 30 seconds.

If you have a single child, or your kids have a broad age gap, you may have to step in as the competition. Kids love seeing adults in agony. Just think of the shows your kids watch, and when they laugh the most, usually it’s an adult getting hurt or making a mistake.

Challenge them that if they can write their sentences in five minutes or less, you will do five push-ups, but if they take more than five minutes, THEY will have to do the push-ups. The challenge is not about punishment; it is about FUN (and the extra boost of endorphins will help break the stress).

2. Choices

When your kids get to choose the activity at hand, they become more motivated to put forth more effort. Kids tend to feel as if they have little control over their lives, and this can lead to some major tantrums. As parents, we sometimes don’t trust our kids with authority because they will make less than favorable decisions. Stripes and polka dots!?! No Way!

By providing choices, we let the kids feel a sense of control over their lives. The choice is essential for their development as someday they WILL have to be the one making the decisions. It is even more critical for their mental well-being as they are trapped at home, isolated from their friends because of social distancing practices.

When setting up the lessons for the day, have the flexibility to provide your child with a choice. If you tell them spelling is next, you may get pushback. But if you ask whether they’d like to do spelling first or math first, they will feel empowered; and since both of the choices you provided were acceptable options, your stress levels will go down, as well.

3. Re-directing

We can all agree that many kids will not have the very best discipline all the time. To increase the level of discipline and effort in class, we must continuously be catching and rewarding students that are trying hard and leading by example. The simple act of setting your kids up for success is the key to maximizing good behavior in class.

Focus on what is going right rather than what is going wrong. For example, imagine you have two siblings, and one is on task, but the other is dawdling. Most of us would try to correct the dawdler. Instead, praise what you like about the focused child. “I love how focused you are, Johny! That shows me that you are a person with good discipline.” A natural reaction will be for your other child to seek similar praise by modeling the behavior you said you liked.

You can also use a similar technique for a single child. The goal is to “catch them being good.” When you see the behavior you want, even if it is for a split second, praise it. Positive recognition works even better if they don’t think you are watching. It is a slow process, but you will start rewiring their brains to exhibit those positive behaviors.

4. Trickery

Trickery is a humorous way to help build focus, engagement, and connection. The concept is to try and trick your students into ‘going’ or ‘starting’ by using words that sound like the word ‘go!’

We use this in class mainly for physical movement activities. For example, when starting a martial arts drill that has two or more teams competing against one another, we may count down, “Ready…Set…. GOOSE!” The kids get a laugh, it breaks the tension, and encourages them to be ready to perform, but not to over anticipate.

You might use a similar bit of trickery when encouraging your kids to see who can collect the most amount of different kinds of leaves in 2 minutes.

Side Note – thinking outside the box about conveying lessons is also a subtle form of trickery akin to sneaking onions into the meatloaf. Collecting different leaves can teach about shapes, math, biodiversity, or even cooking if they are edible leaves. Not every lesson needs to be about notes and textbooks.

5. Up the Rep

Most students become tired towards the last few reps of activity, particularly in high rep drills, or activities which include a lot of physical or mental exertion. This tip consists of a strategy for promoting mental toughness throughout each rep. So that the student becomes better at every rep.

If your child has to write a set of spelling words five times each, penmanship will likely decline, and errors will increase as the child goes through the motions. One way to use the Up The Rep concept would be to encourage the child to have the first set of words be the sloppiest and worst spelled, the next set a bit neater, and so on until the last set of words is the neatest and best.

Penmanship provides them an achievable goal beyond merely completing the assignment, and helps them learn to practice mindfully rather than just going through the motions.

6. Neurobics

The concept is to get the left and right hemispheres of the brain working together by challenging the brain to ‘think’ more during lessons. Neurobics improves cognitive performance, which is how well a student can think and remember what they learned in class.

In the martial arts environment, we will perform exercises while counting by colors, or count our repetitions with names of foods. The reason this works is twofold. First, the addition of physical movement to the activity increases blood flow to the brain, which carries additional oxygen and nutrients to improve cognition. Second, by forcing the brain to think in unique ways, neurological activity spikes, which allows the brain to take in more of those nutrients.

By reciting vocabulary words while doing jumping jacks, for example, the increased neurological activity helps make the memory more concrete. As a bonus, the endorphins released during physical activity help reinforce that learning is a positive activity.

7. Intrinsic Motivation

This concept works by giving the kids options for performance, and then they chose the hardest option because they want to. We use this in our martial arts classes with great success. This tool works best if you can tie it to a character trait that the child wants to exhibit naturally.

For example, if a child has to write an essay, you could give them three options about how long that essay will be. This option is similar to the Choices tool mentioned above. It is empowering for the kids to have some control. By then tying each level of choice to a level of awesomeness, the kids will more likely choose to perform at the highest level.

“For your ELA homework, you have to write an essay about how much you love martial arts. Now, if you want to have good writing skills, you’ll write three paragraphs. But if you want to have rockstar writing skills, you’ll write four paragraphs. And if you want to have super ninja black belt writing skills, you’ll write five paragraphs.”

Make sure that all three levels are acceptable for the assignment, and within the stage of development for your child. Don’t prompt the kindergartner to write five paragraphs, because no matter how super ninja they want to be, it is unrealistic.

8. Extrinsic Motivation

This concept is when a person puts forth more significant effort based on external rewards such as prizes, praise, making others happy, etc. It is easy to overuse this concept, so be mindful of how you apply it.

This one is the simplest. “If you do your homework, you can have ice cream.”

We’ve all bribed our kids at least once in our parenting lives. To make this tool even more productive while maintaining a healthy boundary of control, tie it together with one of the other seven ideas. Instead of “If X then Y,” try something like, “If you can get your art homework done in 15 minutes, you can have ice cream, and I’ll do five push-ups.” Or, “If you finish your science packet by 10:30 am, you will get to choose the movie tonight.”

By tying multiple ninja teaching techniques together, you can create a learning environment that is full of fun, but which also encourages kids to love learning. Remember, when all else fails, step away from the kitchen table and find a way to have fun. To a child, play is the path to knowledge, experience, and wisdom. If you can make the lessons fun and interactive, there will be less stress for everyone involved.

Let us know which Ninja Teaching Tool worked best for you!

8 Ways To Support Local Business While Practicing Social Distancing

The world is a crazy place right now. Especially here in California, where coronavirus has us all staying home and being responsible for our social distancing responsibilities. Many people are left wondering what to do as they find themselves thrust into the world of homeschooling, telecommuting, and even unemployment. With the recent mandates by government officials to close all non-essential businesses, many business owners also face uncertainty about what the future might hold.

In the long run, things will return to normal. Many of the adaptations we are making in our lives and businesses will likely become the new norm. Even amid Covid-19 worries, people with an entrepreneurial mindset are already finding ways to thrive.

Looking forward to a time when we can all start getting back to normal, we all must take steps now to support the businesses we love most. Many small businesses operate on extremely tight margins, meaning that even a few days of being closed down can impact them for quite a long time. Closing for a few weeks or months of quarantine means that many businesses will likely close forever.

With this in mind, let’s look at some ways that we can support our local small businesses now so that they will still be there when things settle. Many of these steps require some monetary support from those who have the means; many are also free, effort-based actions. Even when times are tight, your attention can be the most valuable thing you have to share, and it does make a difference.

1 – Buy Gift Certificates

“Cash is oxygen to a business,” says Gary Vee. Without money coming in, it is hard for a business to keep the doors open. While we may not be able to go to our favorite establishments right now, many of them are still open to making deliveries and take calls. Many more have an online presence.

By purchasing gift cards, we can provide those businesses with a bit of cash flow to help hold them over. Essentially, we are helping to flatten the curve of their debt so they can survive a bit longer. Then, when the world returns to normal, we can use those gift cards for a nice treat, or perhaps to celebrate with some friends.

A single gift card may not be much, but when many of us come together, it starts to add up quickly.

2 – Order To-Go

All non-essential businesses are closed in California, restaurants and other food service establishments are open for take-out and delivery. Ordering to-go lets the business keep the doors open, but more importantly, it helps them keep their kitchen staff employed.

Many delivery apps, such as Uber Eats and GrubHub, are also providing free delivery services. Check with your favorite restaurant, many shops waive delivery fees, or if they have alternate delivery options available.

3 – Shop Remotely

Usually, when you think of shopping online, sites like Amazon or eBay come to mind. While many small businesses do work with these major retailers, the closer to home we can keep the money, the better it will be for our local businesses.

Many local businesses have online portals or e-commerce sites, or they can custom-build links for the things you need. Other companies are accepting orders via text and taking payment over the phone.

4 – Maintain Subscriptions

When things get tight, many people look for ways to trim the budget. While this is undoubtedly important, the current situation is temporary. Once we have coronavirus under control, life will resume. Assess which subscription or memberships you want to keep and which to cancel. As you assess, include the value each brings to your life and your community.

Perhaps that magazine subscription could go since you are already three months behind on your reading. The national publishing house will likely be more able to adapt or to leverage credit and government programs to stay afloat.

Your local gym, massage clinic, or newspaper may be more severely affected by short-term losses. Of course, your family’s well-being comes first, but if you have the means, maintaining those memberships for as long as possible, can be an enormous help to those small businesses. They will likely make it up to you later with perks.

5 – Window Shop on Social Media

In the world of marketing, word-of-mouth is some of the most powerful advertising there is. The modern version of this idea is social media interaction. Even with brick-and-mortar locations closing, may businesses are ramping up their online spending as a way to attract more customers. Marketing takes a lot of time and can cost a lot of money…the money they may not have.

One quirk of online marketing is that the more people talk about business, interact with that business’s posts and content (such as liking, commenting, or sharing), the cheaper the marketing becomes, and the more people will see it.

When the businesses you like post content on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or their blog, be sure to click on it, like it, comment, and even share it. If you are using that business’s services, this is a great time to leave them a positive review on Google. Every little bit helps, and you may even see something you want or need to buy.

6 – Donate to Non-Profits

Non-profit businesses are committed to causes beyond making a profit, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need access to funds to complete their missions. Donating a few dollars to a local charity helps them keep the doors open and allows them to help those most in need. By maintaining the donations local, much of the money will also stay local as those small charities tend to serve members of their immediate community.

Even if your budget is tight, you can donate clothing, services, and food. If you give those gift cards you purchased, the effects of your efforts are magnified as your initial purchase now helps an even higher number of people.

7 – Stock Up On Local Produce

Farm stands and farmers’ markets conjure thoughts of meandering road trips out to Julian or along the coast. Many of these farms are open year-round, and buying the produce, meats, honey, and other products from the local farmer can help them stay afloat while they figure out new ways to get their products out to retailers and restaurants.

As a bonus, by keeping your purchases local, fewer hands will touch the food you are bringing into your house. Minimizing contact as much as possible is key to flattening the coronavirus curve. It’s a win-win!

8 – Talk About Them

Many businesses are using the interruption of their regular operations to provide community service. Pizzerias are providing at-home pizza kits to kids, teachers are reading bedtime stories on Facebook, and martial arts schools like Golden Leopard Kempo are providing free online lessons.

When you see these businesses doing something good for the community, help spread the word. Post about them on Facebook, tell your friends about them or even use them as examples as you teach your kids about community service in the face of adversity.

Small Businesses Are The Lifeblood of the Community

We often look to big businesses, the stock market, or celebrities for direction, and in turn, provide them our support. But, when you go about your daily routine, when you drive through your community, when you hear your friends talking about their dreams, it is a local business that drives the local economy and supports many of the activities and relationships within the community.

Be sure to support your favorite establishments, and you’ll help ensure they are there when it’s time to leave the house again.

Do you have a favorite local business? Shout them out in the comments!

Stuck at home with the kids? Check out our free daily age-specific martial arts challenges on our Facebook page.

The International Black Belt Club

What is the Black Belt Club?

Students committed to the goal of Black belt comprise the Black Belt Club (BBC). By the rank of Orange belt, a student should set a goal of Black Belt and join the Black Belt Club. Over 80% of our students are BBC members or BBC Graduates. The Black Belt Club is the inner core of the school, and best represents the ideals of Golden Leopard Kempo.

The Black Belt Club is both a club and a program for people who have set Black Belt as their goal. You may have noticed the Black Belt Club members in your class. They wear the Black Belt Club patch on their sleeve and wear the belts with the black stripe running the full length. Black Belt Club members participate in many areas of Kempo Karate training that aren’t in regular classes, such as Kobudo training, breaking, and an advanced kata set Halawa.

Who can qualify for the Black Belt Club?

To qualify, a student must be a Gold belt or above and have their instructor’s approval.

How do I get recommended?

To qualify for advanced training beyond your trial year, you must:

  1. Have set a goal of Black Belt.
  2. Have regular belt exam participation.
  3. Be A-rated in Kempo, school/work, and at home.
  4. Demonstrate the qualities of Black Belt Excellence in and out of the school.
  5. Have a high level of enthusiasm for Kempo class.
  6. For students still in school, a good report card on conduct and attitude from parents and teachers.
  7. Support school functions and events.
  8. Have good attendance and eagerness to make up absences.
  9. Be current with tuition payments.
  10. Have the full support of the family.

What are the benefits of the Black Belt Club?

Golden Leopard Kempo is a Black Belt school, and when a student commits to earning Black Belt, they are past the trial stage. They become part of our school with the following privileges.

  1. Discounts on all special events.
  2. Special weekly seminar/workout for Black Belt Club members only
  3. Lowest possible tuition rate through the Black Belt with no yearly increases
  4. Special Black Belt Club patch
  5. Special Black Belt Club belt
  6. Opportunity to wear the black uniform of the Black Belt Club

How do you join the Black Belt Club?

Upon earning your Gold Belt, you enter the Black Belt Update phase of your training. Your instructors will conduct a series of evaluations and tests to determine if you qualify for advanced training in the Black Belt Club. Eligible students get invitations to join the Black Belt Club. Train hard and good luck!

Hock Hochheim CQC Seminar This Weekend

W. Hock Hochheim’s Scientific FIghting Congress
Close Quarter Combat and Pacific Archipelago Combatives Seminar
October 17 and 18

$150-2 days. $100-1 day
12 noon to 6 pm Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm Sunday
Hosted by Eddie Cavazos. Email him at eddiecavazos@comcast.net

Special Presentations on:

  • Hand * Stick * Knife * Gun “Stop Six” Self Defense Survival Combat Scenarios
  • Unique knife fighting subjects
  • Mixed weapon combatives
  • Special session on Filipino Double Sticks and Double weapons
  • Your next course rank progressions

Romeoville is 25 miles southwest of Chicago down Interstate 55.
Seminar will take place at the Romeoville Recreation Center, 900 West Romeo Road (Take Interstate 55 to Weber Road South to Romeo Road West.)

Local Hotels:
Best Western: 815-372-1000 (Best Recommendation / Closest to the Rec Center / Good Rates)
Comfort Inn: 630-226-1900
Country Inn and Suites: 630-378-1052
Extended Stay America: 630-226-8966

Traveling in? Staying overnight and with a group? Bring your whole affliated, work-out group, 5 or more people on up to 20 people for only $650! (You cannot beat this deal!)
Contact Eddie Cavazos for more information:
eddiecavazos@comcast.net, 815-272-7028

Pre-register if you like, or just pay at the door.
Remember we need to see instructors about once a year!

For more information goto www.hockscqc.com/shop/product265.html

Hock gives a great seminar and is well worth the trouble.

Bruce Lee passed 36 years ago

“Bruce Lee passed 36 years ago today in Hong Kong from an cerebral edema caused by an allergic reaction to pain medication. We pay homage to the awesomeness that was Bruce Lee! He lives on in our memories today!” (Facebook’s Bruce Lee group)

An inspiration to martial artist all across the world.

Karate Instructor teaches Kickboxing

A good article on how Kickboxing is not the end all, it needs Karate.

Master Haymore tells the reporter that many young men join to be MMA fighters and want to study kickboxing. Yet to be ready, they need more than that. They need the whole art. I interpret this as adding the mind and spirit to the body. He articulates what many martial artist know, the sport is not the whole package. It’s just a small part.

History of Karate in Hawai’i

A good article about Hawaiian Karate history so read it here at the Honolulu Advertiser.
Hamilton Library exhibit celebrates spread of the martial art from Okinawa at the University of Hawai’i – Manoa. It is filled with old photos of private training, whole katas (step by step) and other goodies. It’s a treasure trove of great historical information on the Okinawan influence of Karate into the Islands and eventually to the mainland.