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From my Friend Greg Silva - President Black Belt Schools International.
I have been involved in the Martial Arts for 50 years now.  I first began because my father wanted me to learn to defend myself. At that time I was in a fight after a baseball game at age 13.   In the following 50 years I was never in another self defense situation.   So why did I continue with martial arts?   Simple, self defense is just one of many benefits of martial arts training.   I happened to love the logic and analytical thinking involved in the training.  I also know that martial arts has kept me more flexible , in shape and confident.   Not to mention the friendships I made and the great spectrum of people I met and enjoyed training with and learning from.   Now in my 60's I find the same benefits and something extra.  The focus, concentration, learning and memorization is keeping me mentally sharp.  
I would recommend it to everyone of all ages.   My kids as well as grandkids have either received black belts or are training to be black belts.   Here are a few tips to help you get started.
Try Before You "Buy".   Most martial arts schools will offer a Free trial program or short term mini program for new students.   You want to make sure it's a fit for you.
*Talk To The Instructor - Most instructors are very accommodating to adults. Remember we are ones that write the checks, have kids who might attend the school and who have friends who might become members. So talk to the instructors if you have a problem or a question.
*Ask For Help - If you are having a problem with a technique, ask for help. The instructors and other students want to help. They remember what it was like when they were "newbies".
*Lose Some Weight - If you are lighter, it will help to reduce the pressure on your knees & feet. You will also have more energy because you will be hauling around fewer pounds. This should be a first goal when starting.  Many martial arts schools have fitness program for new students wanting more weight loss than self defense.  
*Balance Training - As we become less active due to desk work, some of us become less steady on our feet.   Martial Arts will teach balance with stance and foundation skills.  A huge benefit for everything else you do.  
*Kids - If you have children, you should try to take martial arts classes with them. It is a great family bonding experience!
*Have Fun - Last but not least, you should just focus on having some fun and blowing off steam after a long day at work. You won't be as flexible as the kids in your martial arts class or as strong as the 25 year olds but who cares! Just enjoy yourself. You will love the camaraderie, weight loss, stress relief and non-stop aerobic exercise.
*Take action and sign up for a Beginners Martial Arts Workshop



How Martial arts helps you raise Happy kids

Fournier's Leadership Karate Center

Well-intentioned parents often try to foster happiness by giving their kids pleasurable experiences. Yet what children really need is to learn how to create and sustain joy on their own, says Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., a noted child and adult psychiatrist and coauthor of the bestselling Driven to Distraction. In his new book, The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness, Dr. Hallowell, an instructor at Harvard Medical School in Boston, outlines five things kids need most to build a lifetime of self-esteem and confidence. Grand Master Greg Silva expounds on how this relates to martial arts lessons.

1. Connections. Feeling rooted gives children a foundation of security. Children need acceptance and support from peers.  Martial arts classes provide solid leadership and support from the teacher and support from fellow classmates and other parents.  

2. Play. Make sure your child's free time isn't too programmed and regimented. Open-ended play, in which children can invent scenarios and solve problems by themselves, helps them discover their talents and use their own resources.  Martial arts incorporates development of creativity through kata (forms), drills and self-defense scenarios

3. Practice. When kids find out what they're good at, they'll want to do it again and again. But sometimes you may have to do some gentle nudging to ensure that your child sticks to an activity and experiences a sense of accomplishment.  In martial arts, instructors use PCP.  This is corrections via praising, effort, corrections and praising results.  Parent and instructors learn to "team up and never give up" on students goals.

4. Mastery. From practice comes mastery. When children achieve a skill -- - they're further motivated to tackle new challenges. And that leads to a can-do attitude.  Progress in martial arts involves continued goal setting and rewards of stripes and belts.

5. Recognition. Approval and support from one's parents, teachers, and peers for a job well done, reconnects children to the wider world. When kids think what they do affects their family, classmates, and team, they're more likely to exhibit moral behavior and, ultimately, to feel good about themselves.

Fortunately, one step leads naturally to the next and the cycle is self-perpetuated, explains Dr. Hallowell. You can lay the groundwork at an early age. Give your child these five key qualities, he says, and you will greatly increase her chances of leading a joyful, meaningful life.

Parents wanting to see how a beginner martial arts class can help their child be happier should look for a free beginners martial arts work shop.



Great Adult and Junior Black belt testing

Fournier's Leadership Karate Center

What a great testing we had with 12 junior black belt candidates. Even though the first test date was cancelled because of snow these candidates stayed sharp. They showed great indomitable spirit in holding their stances old school style. Strong basics (kihon) and self defense scenarios. Kobudo could be stronger but that is what a black belt does, they see their weakness and works on strengthening them. This is how you build self worth by how much it costs you physically, mentally, philosophically. High Self Worth produces high self esteem, NOT the other way around, high self esteem does not produce a high self worth. If you would like to know how to produce a high self worth in your child, call us now to make a great 2014 for your child!



Antonio Fournier, Kyoshi