Innovative Martial Arts
15-1599 Dugald Rd
Winnipeg, MB
204-505-2787
logo
Kids

Getting kids to do what they need to: The choice trick

As a instructor I have the benefit of working with 100's of kids in every age group. As well as being part of larger networks of experts and other instructors.

So I want to share some useful tricks me and my team use in class to work with different sorts of behaviour.

The thing to remember is that often kids get stuck in a specific mindset, and in order to get past it you have to change the approach.

For example, if we have a child that doesn't want to do a technique pushing them to do it when they have decided not too is unlikely to work.

Defiance is part of kids finding their own way, learning to develop opinions and preferences. Once they have decided "no" changing that stated opinion is tricky.

One option is to give them a choice, rather then trying to force them to go against what they have already expressed. Even once they decide they do want to do it, they will have a hard time contradicting the opinion they already decided on.

So instead of and order "go do the technique" it becomes "do you want to do the technique with Sarah or Paris" and often that is enough to give them the sense of choice they desire.

This same tactic can be transferred to other aspects of their life as well. Just remember that often defiance is simply a desire for choice.

"Do you want Mom or dad to tuck you in?"

"Do you want to wear your red shoes or blue shoes today?"

"It's time to go, what song do you want to play in the car?"

Offering a choice gives them some control and allows them to express preference. And once they have expresses it, just like once they have expresses defiance it affects their mindset. Once they have mentally and verbally committed to the red shoes, they are far less likely to refuse to put shoes on at all.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

Kids

Martial Arts vs Seasonal Sports

As a martial arts school it might not come as a surprise that we prefer martial arts and other similar pursuits over team sports as a primary pursuit, but perhaps what is not as clear is the reasons.

Year Round

Martial Arts is a year round activity, just as health and fitness should be. Fitness needs to be part of day-to-day life, not a seasonal thing but part of your routine.

The other aspect of this is that in order to reach a high level of skill in anything you need consistency. It can't be something that you do for 3-4 months of the year, especially as kids. In that time their bodies change so much that by the time the next season starts they will have taken a step backwards from where they should be.

And finally with a big lay off it is very easy to decide not to go back. Seasonal sports participation drops off pretty severely as kids get older and tends to retain mostly only the top tier of players. This makes sense, after not playing a sport for 8 months going back to a team is going mohave some anxiety that comes with it. Not to mention it is no longer part of their routine.

Individual Accomplishment

Martial Arts is a team effort, you can't train on your own.  You can't be selfish in training and expect to get far.  You can only get better through the help of your "team".

But the accomplishments are individual.  When a student earns a belt it is because of their hard work, because of their knowledge and because of their skill.  It is not because they have a couple star players that carried them.  It's not because the other team choked.  It's because they did it, on their own.

When the goal of any sport is not really the sport itself, but the fitness, confidence, and other character traits that come from participation this is a big deal.   Every accomplishment they reach is because they did it by themselves.

Clear Goal Setting

There is a path from white to yellow belt and on.  It is very clearly laid out so that they know exactly what they need to do to reach their goals.  The only one in control of their actions to those goals is them.  It doesn't matter it the team skips practice, or if their goalie quits the team mid season.

Every student is in charge of reaching their own goals, yes, they need their "team" to do it.  But the control over reaching those goals goes to them.

They earn their belts, they are not given to them.  They don't choose to sign up for "orange belt", they earn that belt.

Scheduling Freedom

I know from talking to parents one of the hardest things about team sports can be the schedules.  Missing a practice or a game means letting the team down.  You can't go a different day to "make up" a missed game.

And if it's not you, it's someone else on the team missing that causes problems.

In martial arts if you have to miss a class it's ok, we train 6-days a week and it can be made up if you like.  You don't let the team down because they are then short their goalie because you where on holidays or had a cold.

Leadership & Starting Skill

One of the other interesting things about martial arts over team sports is you can start at any age and be fine.  Differing skill levels is part of the culture in most classes.  They more experienced students help out the newer ones, which in turn develops their leadership and understanding of the techniques and concepts to a higher level.

Starting a lot of team sports at a later age can be a tricky thing, if everyone else on the team has been playing for 5 years already joining the team as a beginner is a hard thing to do.

Part of what makes a martial arts class work is that the experienced members help the newer ones.  Leadership is a built in feature of the higher level belts.

-----

In the end every kid is different, and every parent needs to make the decisions that they feel best suit their kid.

Sports aren't their to teach the child to just play the sport.  They are their to teach them confidence, to teach them to keep going when they are tired, to teach them to push themselves, to teach them to work together, to teach them not to give up, etc.

Kids

14 tips on getting hired as a teenager

I've gotten to hire multiple teenagers, and for what I would consider pretty good jobs.  I am in a industry that tends to hire teens frequently, and have discussed the matter with many others that employee teens many times.

So why post this on a martial arts blog?  Well, we train with and hire teens, and we want the best employees we can get :)

So, how would I recommend a teenager get their first (or second) job?

1 - Personality matters.  More then anything else in a lot of cases.  In the business world this is called being a "culture fit".  It is easy to teach a person technical skills, much harder to teach them to be a good and motivated person.  When in a group do you tend to elevate the group or slow it down by being a distraction?  If something needs done do you do it, or ignore it until someone else does it?

2 - Any job pays you for the value you bring.  If you bring more value, you can ask for more money in return.  If you need to be constantly managed and given direction, you're not going to get very far.  In any business a employee has to be worth more in value to that business then they get paid.  Otherwise you aren't a good investment.

3 - The ability to work with anyone on anything is a huge value.  Someone that bickers and gossips with others... they are a poison to a workplace and won't get very far.

4 - Your network is important.  Jobs often come as a result of who you know, not just what you know.  Again, technical skills are easy to teach, but a being a jerk is a hard thing to fix.  Most employers will choose to hire someone they know, or someone that is recommended by someone they trust over a unknown.  References on a resume are there for this reason.   But a personal recommendation from someone trusted will carry more weight then most references.  It's just the way we are wired, people will look at reviews for a movie, but a critics reviews will fall second to a friends recommendation.

5 - Everything you do matters.  We live in a social media world, and employers will check you out.  If we pull up your profile and see something we don't like, that's a hit against you.  If you're friends list looks like a bunch of drug dealers you're not getting the job.  On the flip side, if you're profile is good that's points for you.

6 - Have hobbies.  Seriously, have hobbies.  And Call of Duty and flipping water bottles doesn't count.  School is important, but if all you do is what everyone else does you are just like everyone else.  No one wants to hire a boring person.  Every job I've gotten from the time I was 16 has been because of things I did outside of school.  Between about 11-16 most people drop out of things, Be the one that doesn't and you'll be thankful you didn't and possibly land a great job as a result.  Even if it's completely unrelated to the job, I got a software job  and one of the differentiating factors was that I did martial arts and the "other guy" had no active hobbies.

7 - There is nothing wrong with working at McDonalds or other big chains.  In fact, it's a great idea.  Big Chains have something important down.  Business systems.  McDonalds is basically the text book case for developing solid business systems.  Spending some time learning how companies that can scale to that size manage day-to-day operations is a great experience.

8 - If you want a good job, go for it.  If you want a job that requires specific skills and is more rewarding, go for it.  Earn that job.  Just because you are young doesn't mean you can't get a job that makes you feel valuable.  The youngest I've ever hired someone was at 14, and that was to help teach.  They didn't show up with a resume out of the blue one day, they'd been training with me for a few years, they'd come early to work with the younger kids regularly.  Get out and be involved in things and more skilled jobs are there if you look for them.

9 - Sales is a universal skill.  From selling yourself as a potential employee to selling products or services to selling a proposal in a office job, sales skills are universal.  If you understand sales you can succeed in most environments.  If you want to sell anything you have to be trustworthy, likeable, helpful, professional and know what you are talking about.

10 - Know your strengths and weaknesses.  A job will go well if it is both something you like doing, and something you are good at.  It needs both to work.  A job that is a bad fit for you isn't going to do you or the employer any good.

11 - Go after the job you want.  There is a time to plaster your resume out everywhere you can find, but make sure it's positions you actually want.  And the ones you want, make sure the employees knows you want "that" job, not just any job anywhere as long as it pays you.  For me if I am hiring a instructor, I don't want to hire someone because they just need a paycheque.  I want to hire someone that wants to teach martial arts, loves working with kids and believes in what we do and how we do it.  Same goes for any employer.

12 - Develop skills in the area you want to work.  It's never too early. So many successful people started on the path that got them to that success when they where really young.  It's just like having hobbies, if you want to stand out as the best person to hire, you have to bring something that goes above what everyone else does.

13 - Don't be easily  replaceable.  If you do get a job and want to keep it, don't be easy to replace.  Some jobs take a couple hours training and you're in action... if all you bring is the minimum required you can be replaced as easy as changing a lightbulb.  Going above and beyond the basic expectations makes you much harder to replace and is what leads to advancement and promotions.

14 - Be reliable.  One of the biggest concerns a lot of employers have regarding younger employers is reliability.  Showing up late for a shift, calling in sick regularly, showing up with other things on your mind that interfere with doing your job.  Pretty much every reference call I've done for someone their potential employees asks about their reliability and attendance.  This might mean hitting deadlines, or simply being at work, ready to go and on time overtime.  If you work for a business that business depends on you.

Kids

Birthdays, Birthdays and more Birthdays…

That’s been the theme of things lately… something happened and our birthday parties have gone nuts.  We started doing these a couple years back for students and didn’t really make a big deal of it.

Martial art celebration

Then suddenly we started getting non-students wanting to do parties here, usually because they had attended one for someone else.

Now a weekend without a party is a rarity, and often there are 2-3 in a weekend…

We’ve learnt a lot about what makes a great party, and we’ve delivered a lot of great parties, so here’s some things that make a party work.

Ice breakers.  These are important, not everyone is going to know each other.  Some kids are going to be shy and have trouble engaging with the group at first.  Our parties are very physical and we start each one with a big balloon battle as the kids are coming in.  By the time we get started everyone should hopefully be having fun and moving around.

Structure and organization are key, but it shouldn’t feel that way to the participants.  Down time is the enemy of anyone in charge of a group of excited kids.  If they have nothing to do, they find something to do and then getting the group back as a group becomes a task.  One thing should go to the next quickly and smoothly with pacing to match.  They can’t all be going 100% for a hour straight, they’ll burn out. And if anything goes on too long they will lose interest.  From the time they walk in the door to the time they get picked up, there should be something going on.  Little things matter too, for example when we do a piniata it happens before present opening, not after.  Why?  Because while the birthday kid is opening presents they have their loot to keep them occupied.

Something for everyone.  There are some kids that have a hard time with a big group, anxiety or shyness makes engaging with the group hard.  They might need to observe some parts, but some parts should be set up to get them involved.  Our big group games can be intimidating for a few, but often a one-on-one foam sword battle will get them in the ring.

Cool stuff matters.  Part of a great party is making it a special occasion for the birthday child.  Letting them do a little extra, having them battle all of their friends.  Having them cut their cake with a full sized sword.  Having them smash a piniata with a wooden sword (which they get to take home as a souvenir).  Having them demonstrate all the drills and games.  It’s their birthday, and their day to feel special and get the photo ops in.

If you want more information on our birthday parties visit this page: http://www.innovativema.ca/school-info/birthday-parties/

Kids

The Most Important Experience…

One thing I’ve noticed lately is a some parents want to give their kid a wide range of experiences.  Trying a little of everything to see what they like.  This is awesome, kids should experience as much as they can without getting overloaded.

But one thing to be careful of is skipping a very important experience, and that is seeing things through.  Learning what it takes to not just taste a skill, but to get good at it.

Whether it is music, dance, martial arts or pretty much anything.  Most people are, at some point, going to think about and possibly want to quit.

You start something, you get real excited about doing something new and it’s great… but pretty much everyone in anything is going to have a point where they want to stop.

It makes sense, we go through stages in learning.  And different people have a hard time with different stages.

For a lot of people, getting started in the first place is the hardest thing.  That first trip through the door.  If all you do is sample different activities you might get good at starting things, and that is a good skill to have.  But learning to coup with the other stages is just as important.

Once you get started you quickly realize how much you don’t know and how hard it all is at first.  (Conscious incompetence in the 4 stages of learning).  This is the second hurdle to get over.  Showing up and learning a skill, even when it is not going well.  We start playing a instrument with a vision of playing well, or start martial arts with a vision of being able to pull things off.  But it’s hard, it takes time, and in the beginning… everyone doesn’t know what they are doing.

If you can get past the second stage you get to where you know what you are doing, but it doesn’t yet come naturally.  You have to think about it and be deliberate.  (conscious competence) .  At this stage there is a lot of repetition, It’s not as much learning new things as it is making things you know instinct and second nature.   The repetition and frustration with making mistakes when your brain tells you that you know better can get the better of you here.

And finally, you get to where things flow.  Where you can pick up a instrument and freestyle, where you can wrestle and move well instinctively.  Where the real joy of the skill kicks in and creativity and the “art” side of it comes out.  At this stage, for those that make it.  Quitting is a lot less common, it becomes a part of you.

That is a experience worth having, taking a skill to the point of unconscious competence.  No one regrets getting to this stage, but a lot of people wish they had.  The number of people that will say they wished they had kept at playing guitar, or kept at martial arts, or stuck with painting is a very high number.  But finding someone that says “I wish I’d been able to quit years ago when I wanted to” is a lot harder.

A short introduction to something is a good experience, taking a skill to the point of unconscious competence, where it becomes instinct and creativity… that is a truly amazing experience and one worth more then any number of introduction to _____’s.  Give your kids the experience of “Mastery”, and the process of reaching it.  It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

4stages_learning