How to Start, Grow, and Maintain a Martial Arts Studio – The Business Plan Pt. 2

In this post I will continue my series on how to start, grow, and maintain a karate studio.  In my last post I explained the importance of having a business plan and started going through the ins and outs of the business plan as it pertains to a martial arts studio (or similar type business).  That post turned out to be quite large, so I broke it into two separate posts.  In this post I will conclude my explanation of the martial arts business plan.

In the previous post, I focused on the Overview of Business Concept.  This section consisted of the following subsections: Market Opportunity, Growth and Financial Objectives, Legal Form of Organization, Market Served and Business Location, Initial Financing and Timetable for Establishment, and Exit Strategies.

In this post, I will focus on Marketing of the Business which consists of the following subsections: Industry Description, Competitor Analysis, Target Market, and Competitive Advantages.  I will also include the additional information typically included in Appendices.

Marketing of the Business

In the Overview of Business Concept section, your objective is to give a very high-level overview of how your business will operate.  This includes the location, what you will offer, the structure, your projections, how you will get started, and even how you will end if you choose to.

The Marketing of the Business section will explain at a high level how and why you will be successful.  The previous section explained what your business is, this section will explain why you have a viable plan for success.

Industry Description

In this subsection you will describe the entire industry, not just how you stand out (that comes later).  This will also be information that is not exclusive to your location.  It is a very broad, general description of the industry nationwide and possibly internationally.  Be sure to include the following information:

  • Styles of martial arts taught
  • Types of programs (preschool, after school, adults, youth, family, tournament, etc.)
  • Who takes martial arts (ages, genders, abilities, etc.)
  • Percentage of population that is interested in martial arts
  • Organizations/governing bodies involved
  • How many studios are full-time, commercial, part-time, large, small, etc.
  • Average size of studios
  • Average experience of instructors/owners/staff

These are the main topics I included but you could certainly add more if you feel they are important.

Competitor Analysis

In the Overview of Business Concept section, there was a subsection entitled Location Analysis where you analyzed all the possible locations for your studio to determine which is the best.  This subsection will do something similar but will analyze the other businesses like yours in the proximity of your studio.  In other words, your competition.

This subsection is important for several reasons.  It is important to know the number of competitors in your target market as it will determine how you go about marketing your business.  You also need to know which of the competing businesses in your area are the best and where they are located.  You probably don’t want to be located directly next to the largest, most popular martial arts studio in town.  It is also important to know about your competitors since potential customers will be shopping around and you should be able to intelligently talk about how you differ.

When doing this analysis, be sure to include all competitors, not just martial arts studios.  Martial arts studios have many more competitors than just other martial arts studios.  Gymnastics, swimming, yoga, dance, and fitness studios are all competing for the same type of customer.

Just like with the location analysis, you will need to come up with a matrix of topics that you feel are most important for your industry in your area.  I used the following:

  • Program/class price
    • Are they overpriced or cheapest in town?
  • Quality of instruction
    • Are classes taught by a teenager or by an experienced instructor?
  • Location
    • Is the studio in a great part of town with lots of visibility and foot traffic?
  • Communication
    • Where they quick to respond to you and answered your questions promptly?
  • Facility
    • Is it clean and spacious or small and dirty?
  • Variety of class
    • Do they offer several class options at different times of the day/evening/weekend?
  • Professionalism
    • Do they seem to know what they are doing or are they flying by the seat of their pants?

You could have more of course, but these are the ones I chose.  Once you determine the topics that are important, you then need to give each topic a weighting factor, 1-5, with 1 being least important and 5 being most important.

The next step is to contact and visit each competitor.  When doing this, be honest with them.  Tell them you are thinking of opening a martial arts studio and wanted to research similar programs in the area to get an idea of the market.  They may be receptive and may not be.  You are also identifying businesses you may want to partner with for community events, fundraisers, etc.

After meeting each competitor, give them a score, 1-5, in each of the topics you identified as important.  Take that score and multiply it by your weighting factor.

Table

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Add up all the scores and you get the overall strength of the competitor.  Do this for all the competitors in your area and you get a numerical representation of the best competing businesses.

Target Market and Demographic Research

In the Overview of Business Concept, there was a similar section titled Market Served and Location Analysis.  In that section, you showed through demographic research that the location where you were planning on starting your studio was in fact a good choice.  In this section, you will again point to the same demographic research to show that your methods for attracting clients and the services you will offer are in line with the target market.

You should be pointing to specific numbers in this section such as number of families, median income, location and quality of schools, and population.  This section will show that what you have to offer is a perfect fit for the area you are choosing to be located in.

Competitive Advantages

In this final section of your business plan, you will give one last sales pitch for your business.  This section is all about what sets you apart from the rest of the crowd.  Why would someone choose your studio over another in your area?  Some things to consider:

  • Your experience
  • Affiliations/Organizations
  • Endorsements from companies
  • Current customer base
  • Filling a need in your community
  • Large, high class facility

You can’t just be like every other studio out there if you want to not only survive but thrive.

Appendices

All the information I went over throughout the last two posts consist of no more than 10 pages in the business plan.  Those sections summarize all the work you did in your research and analyses.  All the nuts and bolts, the actual work, gets put in appendices.  Appendices will account for 50+ pages of the business plan.  Things like your budgeting tools and analyses, demographics research, location analysis, competitor analysis, etc., will comprise your appendices.

The last thing I would like to add is that the business plan is a working, living document.  What I mean by that is that you don’t spend all this time working on it just to put it on a shelf and let it collect dust.  You should periodically review it and update it.  Check to see that you are meeting your projections.  Update your budgeting tools.  Modify your goals.  Add new goal.  Perhaps you want to expand or start a new venture within your studio.  Your business plan is a great place to start.

I hope you have found these last few posts on the business plan for a martial arts studio helpful.  Feel free to reach out to me if you have any specific questions or would like to see some examples from my business plan.  

Just remember, you can’t get to where you are going if you don’t know how to get there.

How to Teach Kids Life Skills – Gratitude

Despite the many ups and downs in life, such as the global pandemic, most of us have it pretty good.  If you are reading this post, you likely have internet access, a computer, tablet, or cell phone, and the ability to read.  There are people in many parts of the world that do not have one or more of these and I would guess that everyone reading this has taken these for granted at some point if not always.

We have so much to be grateful for such as a warm bed to sleep in, a roof over our heads, food to eat, clean water to drink, medical care, a loving family, just to name a few.  Instead of focusing on these things we tend to dwell on negative, insignificant things.

Rather than being grateful for having a car, we complain about having a car that is 5 years old when we want the newest model.  We get upset when we run out of hot water when in certain parts of the world there are people that must walk 2 hours just to access clean water.  Our internet goes out causing us to lose it when there are people who don’t even have electricity.  You get the idea.

I am not suggesting that when these inconveniences arise that we just shrug it off and be happy about it.  What I am suggesting is two things:

  1. Remember that these are minor inconveniences.  Life will go on and still be pretty darn good.
  2. Spend more time being grateful for what you have rather than what you don’t have.

If we can all spend a little more time not only being grateful but also showing gratitude towards those we care about, everyone would benefit from it.

As I outlined in Part 1 of this series, the 4 steps to teaching kids life skills are: define the word, discuss what the definition means, use examples, and discuss why it is important.  If you need more detail on the process, please go back and read Part 1.

Let’s apply the process to gratitude.

  • Define the word/topic in words they understand
    • Gratitude means “Being thankful and showing appreciation for the things in your life.”
    • During this step, simply have the kids repeat the definition after you 3-5 times.  Do this 2-3 times during the week.
  • Discuss what the definition means in more detail
    • Express gratitude in words:  say thank you when someone does something nice for you.  Tell your parents you love them.  Go out of your way to tell someone they are doing a great job or that you appreciate what they are doing.  These little gestures go a long way in making others feel good about themselves.
    • Express gratitude with deeds: take care of your toys by not breaking them.  Give your parents a hug and kiss.  Clean your room and make your bed without be told to.  Don’t litter or pollute the environment.  Doing these types of things shows we a grateful that we have them and want to keep them for a long time.
    • How gratitude affects others: when we show gratitude towards others, they feel great.  It boosts their confidence and increases the likelihood that they will continue doing good things.  If we ignore other people’s good deeds or actions, there is a good chance that they will eventually stop doing them.
    • During this step, have the kids repeat the definition after you 3-5 times then have a short discussion on the topics above.  Do this 2-3 time during the week.
  • Use examples in everyday life
    • Example of gratitude in karate: the simple fact that you can go to karate classes is something to be grateful for.  Not everyone can afford lessons.  Not everyone has transportation to class.  Not everyone even has a studio close to home.  Tell your parents thank you for signing you up for class and for getting you to class. 
    • Example of gratitude at school/home:  doing your homework is an easy way to show gratitude to your teacher.  Your teacher spends a lot of time and effort to help you learn.  Show them you appreciate them by spending time doing what they ask you to do.  The same goes for doing your chores at home.  Your parents do a lot for you.  Show them you are grateful for all they do by contributing to the family.  Do your chores without complaining and without being told to.  Ask if there is something else you could do to help.
    • During this step, have the kids repeat the definition after you 3-5 times then have a short discussion on the topics above.  Feel free to replace the examples with ones of your own.  Substitute a different activity for karate if they don’t practice karate.  Be sure to ask them for an example first before providing yours.  Do this 2-3 time during the week.
  • Discuss why it is important
    • Why is it important to be grateful?  Appreciating what we have and what others do for us is very important.  When we are grateful for all the things we have, we can enjoy them more.  Showing gratitude towards others boosts their confidence and happiness and helps build lasting relationships with those we love.
    • During this step, briefly go over all steps 1-3 before going into this step.  Be sure to ask the kids why they think it is important before providing them with the answer.  Do this 2-3 times during the week.

Remember, it only takes less than 5 minutes, 2-3 times a week to go through these steps.  Feel free to comment or contact me with questions.

That completes my series on teaching life skills to kids!  I hope these posts were helpful for karate instructors as well as parents.

Martial Arts Themed Dad Jokes

Dad jokes.  One of the main reasons I became a dad.  I have been telling them most of my adult life, well before becoming a dad.  However, once my son was born, my dad joke mojo got a boost in energy.

My son heard his first dad joke after being alive for less than one hour.  True story.  After getting back to the maternity room (he was born via c-section) I was holding him while my wife rested.  I proceeded to tell him the following joke:

What do Anders (my son’s name) and a pickle have in common?

They are both a really big dill!

I agree, not my best effort.  I did not plan this joke; it just came out.  A combination of being sleep deprived, excited, and the fact I was wearing green socks, resulted in that joke.  My wife, although still out of it from the post-surgery drugs, managed to roll her eyes.  I did manage to get the nurse to laugh so that was at least a plus.

Being a lifelong martial artist, I thought it prudent to incorporate martial arts into my dad joke portfolio.  So, here are my 10 martial arts themed dad jokes.  These are jokes that I came up with myself, good or bad.  They may resemble an existing joke or even be already in existence.  If that is the case, I apologize, I honestly sat down and wrote these out without any research.

So, without further ado…

10 Best Martial Arts Themed Dad Jokes

What type of martial art do kangaroos practice?

Hop Ki Do

What is the name of the tree that is the best fighter in the forest?

Spruce Lee

Martial artists in this style are known for their amazing footwear.

Jiu Jit Shoe

This martial art specializes in knots.

Tie Kwon Do

This spicy martial art from China originated in Buffalo.

Wing Chun

What are Judo students doing when they are not training?

Ju don’t

What martial art is popular with bakers?

Tang Soo Dough

What type of pasta teaches martial arts?

Masta-cciolli

What soft style of martial arts is popular with brie?

Tai Cheese

What is the martial art style of Captain Kirk’s nemesis?

Shoto-Khaaaaan!

The Karate Dad – Episodes 20 and 21

This post has two episodes since both lessons were rather uneventful and frustrating at the same time.  I had to really work hard to figure out a silver lining in each lesson so my assessments may be a bit of a stretch.


Episode 20

In this lesson, I decided to take a step back from trying to get Anders to block and to review all the material he learned to earn the stripes he has.  Kicking in the air to show balance (yellow stripe) and kicking the board (brown stripe) are his favorite things to do by far.  When Anders is with me on Saturday mornings while I teach class, he runs to get the board to break it for everyone to see.  Once he succeeds, he looks around at the students in class for approval.

He has the arm motion for jumping jacks, but the feet are still are work in progress (blue stripe).  He can run in place with high knees, touch his toes, do somersaults, and now attempt a one-legged quad stretch.  He mimics a lot of the things I do when working out at home which helps.

For his red stripe, he needed to touch the right and left pads with the correct, corresponding hand.  Eventually this will turn into a punch, but we are not there yet.  When we did this for the stripe, he did it quite well.  When we reviewed it in this lesson, he would only use his right hand, even when I held out the left pad.  It could be his focus since you can see him running amok every few seconds.  Another thought I had, is that he might be right-handed, and this trait is starting to be more prominent.  I am not an expert in child development, this is just a theory.

Moving forward, some more review lessons will be in order.


Episode 21

Since Anders has been doing a great job bowing in and out of class, I decided to test him on these commands for his green stripe.  Things started out well with Anders lining up on his dot when I asked him to, a first for this.  He then proceeded to sit down when I commanded, another first.

After bowing in, things went downhill quickly.  When I tried to formally test him on the commands, his focus was non-existent.  Even getting out the stripes to entice him (he loves those stripes) didn’t improve the focus.  So, mean old daddy did not award him the stripe.  We will try again another time.

I wasn’t planning on trying to do blocks, but Anders grabbed the blockers and brought them to me, so I thought it was a good indication he wanted to block.  Not so fast.  Just more shenanigans.  

For more background on my purpose and philosophy in training Anders, check this post out.

Check out all previous episodes of The Karate Dad on our YouTube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6sLE6rNJbME0vlcXXtYgNA

How to Teach Kids Life Skills – Introduction

Teaching kids anything can be a challenge.  Teaching them important life skills such as self-discipline and self-control can be especially challenging.  Over the many years I have worked with kids, I have been able to develop a system for teaching them many of these important life skills.  Over the course of the next 15 posts, I will go over different life skills and how I introduce them to children as young as 3.  This first post will serve as a blueprint for the process with subsequent posts focusing on the nitty gritty of each particular skill.

Teaching Life Skills to Kids is Very Important

Before getting too far into the process, it is important to understand that this is a proactive approach rather than a reactive one.  We must continually work on these skills with kids rather than wait until something happens and we need to address it.  Think about it this way, it is much better to eat healthy and exercise as a lifestyle than start doing those things when the doctor tells you that you are overweight and experiencing health problems.

There are 4 steps to teaching kids any life skill.  These steps are as follows:

1. Define the word/topic in words they understand

Some of these words are fairly complicated and need to be defined in a way they understand.  Repeat the definition and have them repeat it back to you.

2. Discuss what the definition means in more detail

The definition is usually one short sentence.  This next step is to go into more detail, so they better understand.  Again, remember to use words and phrases they will understand.

3. Use examples in everyday life

The next step is to use examples to bring home the message.  I will typically use 2 examples: one that relates to karate and one that relates to home/school.  If your child does not do karate, I would recommend that you use an example from something they are really in to (soccer, baseball, chess, video games, anything!).

4. Discuss why it is important

The final step is to discuss why this life skill is important.  You have to remember to make it important to a kid.  Many times, the importance comes down to things like not getting hurt, not getting in trouble, or having people not like you.

You need a plan for teaching life skills to kids

When I teach any life skill in my classes using this process, it always takes a month.  The first week we discuss step 1, the second week steps 1 and 2, the third week steps 1, 2, and 3, and the final week steps 1-4.  We only spend about 5 minutes each class on this process.  So, if you are doing this at home, it only takes 5 minutes a couple times a week.  My recommendation is to make it part of a routine:

  • Before bed
  • After breakfast or dinner
  • In the car before or after an activity
  • Make it part of homework time

The great news is…I have already done the hard work for you!  All you need to do is take the time to implement it.  Over the next 15 posts, I will be going over how to teach the following life skills to kids using the process outlined above.

  1. Integrity
  2. Self-Control
  3. Humility
  4. Concentration
  5. Self-Discipline
  6. Respect
  7. Perseverance
  8. Patience
  9. Responsibility
  10. Focus
  11. Confidence
  12. Character
  13. Attitude
  14. Honesty
  15. Gratitude

I look forward to helping you out along the way!

How to Teach Kids Life Skills – Integrity

In this post I will be going over how to teach kids about integrity.  I started this series of life skills posts with integrity because I feel there is a serious lack of it in the world today.  You routinely see political figures, business leaders, and celebrities demonstrating a severe lack of integrity, usually just to continue to feed their own egos.

Unfortunately, kids are more influenced by television, social media, and peers than they are by parents or family members, so we have to work even harder to get the message across.

As I outlined in Part 1 of this series, the 4 steps to teaching kids life skills are: define the word, discuss what the definition means, use examples, and discuss why it is important.  If you need more detail on the process, please go back and read Part 1.

Integrity means doing the right thing even when no one is watching

Let’s apply the process to integrity.

  • Define the word/topic in words they understand
    • Integrity means “Doing the right thing even when it is difficult.”
    • During this step, simply have the kids repeat the definition after you 3-5 times.  Do this 2-3 times during the week.
  • Discuss what the definition means in more detail
    • Doing the right thing is not always easy.  You may be the only one of your friends who does not want to partake in something you’re not supposed to do and will therefore be deemed “uncool”.  Sometimes doing the right thing means telling the truth when we did something wrong.  Telling a lie to get out of it may save you from getting in trouble but would not be the right thing to do.  If you get caught you will be in more trouble than before.
    • During this step, have the kids repeat the definition after you 3-5 times then have a short discussion on the topics above.  Do this 2-3 time during the week.
  • Use examples in everyday life
    • Example of integrity in karate: Your instructor asks you if you practiced your forms in preparation for the belt test coming up.  You lie and say you did even though you didn’t because you were the only one in class who forgot.  You should tell the truth and say you didn’t even though you might get in trouble or embarrassed.  In this case, the instructor would have taken those students who did not practice their forms and work with them separately to help them further.  Doing the right thing always results in a better outcome.
    • Example of integrity at school: Your teacher says before lunch that when you get back from lunch there will be a surprise test.  A fellow classmate at lunch comes up to you and says he has the answers to the test and offers them to you.  Should you take the answers and ace the test or decline them and possibly do poorly on the test and feel uncool around this classmate?  Cheating is never a good idea and people with integrity do not cheat.
    • Example of integrity with friends: You are in a large group of friends and everyone in the group except for you starts to pick on a kid from school that is walking by.  Your friends keep telling you to join in, but you don’t want to.  What should you do?  Standing up for others is very hard but is the right thing to do.  At the very least, do not partake in the bullying and leave to go do something else.
    • During this step, have the kids repeat the definition after you 3-5 times then have a short discussion on the topics above.  Feel free to replace the examples with ones of your own.  Substitute a different activity for karate if they don’t practice karate.  Be sure to ask them for an example first before providing yours.  Do this 2-3 time during the week.
  • Discuss why it is important
    • Why is it important to have integrity?  Doing the right thing can help someone else like in the example of standing up for a friend who is being bullied.  Despite the fact you may get into trouble for doing the right thing, you will always get into more trouble if you don’t do the right thing.
    • During this step, briefly go over all steps 1-3 before going into this step.  Be sure to ask the kids why they think it is important before providing them with the answer.  Do this 2-3 times during the week.

Remember, it only takes less than 5 minutes, 2-3 times a week to go through these steps.  Feel free to comment or contact me with questions.

Stay tuned for my next post which will be on how to teach kids self-control.

How to Teach Kids Life Skills – Self-Control

In this post I will be going over how to teach kids about self-control.  Self-control is a difficult skill to acquire.  As babies, we learn quickly that when anything goes wrong, we just need to cry, and someone will help us.  As toddlers, we start learning other communication skills as well as physical coordination.  Not only does crying get attention, but now physical tantrums get us attention.  It is a difficult process to learn how to control our emotions and actions from babies to toddlers, to children, to teens, to adults.

Self-control is not letting actions reach a certain level

When kids don’t learn self-control as kids, they will experience a multitude of problems as adults.  We all know adults with self-control issues ranging from overeating and binge Netflix watching to more serious issues like drug/alcohol abuse or domestic violence.  Setting the stage for proper use of self-control early on is much easier than addressing the serious issues that emerge in adults with a lack of self-control.

As I outlined in Part 1 of this series, the 4 steps to teaching kids life skills are: define the word, discuss what the definition means, use examples, and discuss why it is important.  If you need more detail on the process, please go back and read Part 1.

Self-control is difficult for kids and adults

Let’s apply the process to self-control.

  • Define the word/topic in words they understand
    • Self-Control means “Not letting your emotions or actions reach a certain level.”
    • During this step, simply have the kids repeat the definition after you 3-5 times.  Do this 2-3 times during the week.
  • Discuss what the definition means in more detail
    • Emotional self-control means to stop yourself from overreacting.  Getting too angry and yelling/shouting or throwing a temper tantrum would be an example of not controlling your emotions.  If left uncontrolled, emotional self-control will typically lead to lack of physical self-control.
    • Physical self-control means to stop your body from doing a certain action.  Hitting someone or throwing an item at the wall are examples of not controlling your actions.
    • How do you know what levels are appropriate?  We need to listen to teachers, parents, and coaches.  They will tell you what the appropriate level of self-control is.  Parents will teach you the appropriate way to react to something.  Teachers will show you how to control yourself in order to be respectful to others.  Learning these different levels is a non-stop process.
    • During this step, have the kids repeat the definition after you 3-5 times then have a short discussion on the topics above.  Do this 2-3 time during the week.
  • Use examples in everyday life
    • Example of self-control in karate: you are practicing kicks with a partner.  Your partner is kicking much harder than you with better skill.  When it is your turn, you want to kick even harder than your partner because you are upset.  You try to kick so hard you end up hitting your partner right in the stomach, knocking the wind out of him.  This is an example of not having self-control.  Rather than letting the emotions control how hard you kick, take a deep breath and stay focused on doing the best you can, not comparing to someone else.
    • Example of self-control at school: the teacher is asking questions regarding some math problems.  You are really good at math.  She asks a really hard question and only you and one other student raise your hands, knowing the answer.  The teacher calls on the other student rather than you.  You are so frustrated that you just yell out the answer before the other student, who was called on, can answer.  This again shows a lack of self-control.  Rather than yelling out the answer, take pride in knowing you were one of two students who knew it.  Be patient, next time you might get called on.  Also, perhaps the other student gets it wrong, now you have a chance to answer.
    • Example of self-control at home: your mom is baking some delicious chocolate chip cookies.  She leaves the kitchen and tells you not to eat any because dinner is in 30 minutes.  You are so hungry because you did not have a snack after school.  If you give in and have a cookie, you will be showing a lack of self-control.  If you use self-control and resist eating a cookie before dinner, chances are your mom will let you have one after dinner.
    • During this step, have the kids repeat the definition after you 3-5 times then have a short discussion on the topics above.  Feel free to replace the examples with ones of your own.  Substitute a different activity for karate if they don’t practice karate.  Be sure to ask them for an example first before providing yours.  Do this 2-3 time during the week.
  • Discuss why it is important
    • Why is it important to have self-control?  For the most part, when we show a lack of self-control, someone will get hurt, either physically or emotionally.  If you emotionally hurt someone, they will be sad or angry.  Not only could we hurt someone else, but not having self-control could result in getting hurt ourselves.
    • During this step, briefly go over all steps 1-3 before going into this step.  Be sure to ask the kids why they think it is important before providing them with the answer.  Do this 2-3 times during the week.
It takes constant practice and guidance to develop self-control

Remember, it only takes less than 5 minutes, 2-3 times a week to go through these steps.  Feel free to comment or contact me with questions.

Stay tuned for my next post which will be on how to teach kids humility.

How to Teach Kids Life Skills – Humility

In this post I will be going over how to teach kids about humility.  As with many of the life skills I have been writing about, not learning about humility as a kid results in an adult that arrogant and egotistical.  One challenge with teaching humility to kids is to ensure they remain confident in themselves and their abilities.  It is easy for kids to become reserved or lack pride in their achievements when attempting to remain humble.

Humility is an important skill for kids to learn

Another challenge in teaching kids about humility is the word itself.  Being humble or showing humility are not concepts or words commonly encountered by kids.  Caution should be used when first explaining this word as many kids will think humility is a part of humiliate or humiliation.

As I outlined in Part 1 of this series, the 4 steps to teaching kids life skills are: define the word, discuss what the definition means, use examples, and discuss why it is important.  If you need more detail on the process, please go back and read Part 1.

Let’s apply the process to humility.

  • Define the word/topic in words they understand
    • Humility means “Confidently helping others without bragging or showing off.”
    • During this step, simply have the kids repeat the definition after you 3-5 times.  Do this 2-3 times during the week.
  • Discuss what the definition means in more detail
    • Not bragging or showing off means when you do something well, you don’t want to rub it in other people’s faces.  Being proud of what you accomplished and even celebrating a little is perfectly fine as long as it does not make others feel bad.
    • When you are good at something and receive recognition for it, chances are there will be others that feel bad about it.  When you are in this situation, it is important to use your skills to help out those who are in need of help.  At the very least, be a good example of how to act so others have someone to look up to and aspire to be.
    • It is important to remember to remain confident in your abilities when holding back bragging or showing off.  Let your actions speak rather than your words and people will notice.
    • During this step, have the kids repeat the definition after you 3-5 times then have a short discussion on the topics above.  Do this 2-3 time during the week.
It is important to not confuse being humble with lack of pride
  • Use examples in everyday life
    • Example of humility in karate: you are at a karate tournament and get first place in sparring.  You don’t want to tell everyone “I knew I was going to win; I am the best one here.”  A better thing to do would be to congratulate all of the other competitors and tell them something they did well that you liked.
    • Example of humility at school: you got a test back from your teacher and got 100%.  The student next to you did not do so well.  You don’t tell that student “Wow, you did bad.  I would never do that bad.”  A better thing to do would be to tell that student that they will do better next time or offer them some help if they want it.
    • During this step, have the kids repeat the definition after you 3-5 times then have a short discussion on the topics above.  Feel free to replace the examples with ones of your own.  Substitute a different activity for karate if they don’t practice karate.  Be sure to ask them for an example first before providing yours.  Do this 2-3 time during the week.
  • Discuss why it is important
    • Why is it important to show humility?  There are several reasons why we must remain humble.  For one, if we are bragging or showing off, other people will feel bad about themselves.  Another reason is when we act without humility, we aren’t the type of person people want to be around and will likely not have many friends.
    • During this step, briefly go over all steps 1-3 before going into this step.  Be sure to ask the kids why they think it is important before providing them with the answer.  Do this 2-3 times during the week.
Helping others is an important aspect of humility

Remember, it only takes less than 5 minutes, 2-3 times a week to go through these steps.  Feel free to comment or contact me with questions.

Stay tuned for my next post which will be on how to teach kids concentration.

How to Teach Kids Life Skills – Concentration

In this post I will be going over how to teach kids about concentration.  Kids are especially prone to a lack of concentration due mainly to the fact that they are kids.  They are still learning how the world works and everything is interesting.  Kids also lack self-control, discipline, and patience so when something is not immediately interesting, it is easy for them to lose concentration.  They have not yet learned about the long-term benefits of doing things that require prolonged bouts of concentration.  Everything to kids needs to have instant gratification.

Kids are prone to lacking concentration just by being kids

Concentration may be easier to understand than many of the other skills I have gone over but getting kids do it is a whole other story altogether.  It is important to note that concentration and focus get interchanged frequently.  I have separated them out and will talk exclusively about focus down the road.  There are some similarities and some of the concepts will overlap but they are in fact different and warrant different posts.

As I outlined in Part 1 of this series, the 4 steps to teaching kids life skills are: define the word, discuss what the definition means, use examples, and discuss why it is important.  If you need more detail on the process, please go back and read Part 1.

Let’s apply the process to concentration.

  • Define the word/topic in words they understand
    • Concentration means “The ability to focus your mind on only one thing.”
    • During this step, simply have the kids repeat the definition after you 3-5 times.  Do this 2-3 times during the week.
Concentrating requires you to focus your mind on only one thing
  • Discuss what the definition means in more detail
    • Focus your eyes: the first step to being able to focus your mind on something is to focus your eyes on it.  If someone is speaking, be sure to look them in the eyes.  If you are reading, writing, or doing math problems, as soon as you look away with your eyes, your mind will start to wander, and you will lose concentration.
    • Limit distractions: some people have such incredible concentration that there can be an airplane taking off over their head and still not lose their focus.  However, most of us do not have this exceptional ability and therefore need to make a conscience effort to limit distractions when needing to concentrate on something.  Turn off the television when doing homework or reading.  Don’t sit next to your best friend in school who likes to talk all the time when the teacher is giving important information.  Put all toys and gadgets away when your parents are telling you something.
    • During this step, have the kids repeat the definition after you 3-5 times then have a short discussion on the topics above.  Do this 2-3 time during the week.
When trying to concentrate, limit other distractions like television
  • Use examples in everyday life
    • Example of concentration in karate: if you do not concentrate when doing karate, you may end up accidentally getting hurt or hurting someone else.  If you are attempting to break a board with an elbow strike and you weren’t concentrating on the instructions from the teacher, when it is your turn you may end up getting hurt from doing it incorrectly.
    • Example of concentration at school: it can be challenging to concentrate when at school since you are there all day and many of your friends are there.  Let’s say it is the end of the day and the teacher is giving out a homework assignment that is due the next day.  Your classmate next to you keeps talking to you and you lose your concentration on the teacher.  You miss the assignment, get a bad grade, and get in trouble with your parents.
    • Example of concentration at home: your mom is taking you to soccer practice.  In the car you are glued to your tablet playing a game.  She tells you that a different mom is going to be taking you home and you need to walk to her house which is right next to the practice field.  You were glued to your game and weren’t concentrating on what she was saying.  After practice, you wonder where your mom is.  You end up getting scared and worried until you eventually figure it out when the other mom comes and gets you.
    • During this step, have the kids repeat the definition after you 3-5 times then have a short discussion on the topics above.  Feel free to replace the examples with ones of your own.  Substitute a different activity for karate if they don’t practice karate.  Be sure to ask them for an example first before providing yours.  Do this 2-3 time during the week.
You miss key information when you are not concentrating
  • Discuss why it is important
    • Why is it important to have concentration?  If you are unable to concentrate on something you won’t get important information.  This could be safety instructions, so you don’t get hurt or things you need to learn from school in order to get smarter.
    • During this step, briefly go over all steps 1-3 before going into this step.  Be sure to ask the kids why they think it is important before providing them with the answer.  Do this 2-3 times during the week.

Remember, it only takes less than 5 minutes, 2-3 times a week to go through these steps.  Feel free to comment or contact me with questions.

Stay tuned for my next post which will be on how to teach kids self-discipline.

How to Teach Kids Life Skills – Self-Discipline

In this post I will be going over how to teach kids about self-discipline.  While this post will focus on helping kids learn about self-discipline, many adults may find it useful as well.  Self-discipline is something most people struggle with regardless of age.  How many people struggle with obesity?  Overeating?  Smoking? Procrastination?  All of these can be overcome with self-discipline.

Being successful requires self-discipline

So why is it so difficult to have self-discipline?  Well, most of the things that require self-discipline are for our benefit but are also really hard or unpleasant or takes too much time.  Humans are not patient.  We generally take the path of least resistance that provides us with the most near-term pleasure with the least near-term pain.  We need to learn that long-term pleasure will last much longer even if it requires a little unpleasant action.  Once we start to do these things it gets easier.  Self-discipline is like a muscle; when we work on it consistently it gets stronger.

As I outlined in Part 1 of this series, the 4 steps to teaching kids life skills are: define the word, discuss what the definition means, use examples, and discuss why it is important.  If you need more detail on the process, please go back and read Part 1.

Let’s apply the process to self-discipline.

  • Define the word/topic in words they understand
    • Self-discipline means “Doing something to improve ourselves even if we don’t want to.”
    • During this step, simply have the kids repeat the definition after you 3-5 times.  Do this 2-3 times during the week.
Many good things come from having self-discipline
  • Discuss what the definition means in more detail
    • Choose wisely: making wise decisions is the key to self-discipline.  It’s snack time, cookies or an apple?  Watch TV or read a book?  Sit on the couch or go for a walk?  Help kids make the right choices when they don’t know what they are.  Be a good example by making good choices yourself.               
    • Think before you act: most of the time we know what the correct choices are.  Even so, we often talk ourselves out of it.  All we think about is the delicious taste of the chocolate chip cookies.  We don’t think about the sugar crash, spoiling our dinner, or the potential for weight gain.  Before acting on something, be sure to think through all of consequences and benefits.  This will help in making good, healthy decisions.
    • During this step, have the kids repeat the definition after you 3-5 times then have a short discussion on the topics above.  Do this 2-3 time during the week.
  • Use examples in everyday life
    • Example of self-discipline in karate: giving your best effort when doing pushups.  They are challenging, they make us sore, and we hate doing them.  However, overcoming these things and trying our best to do good pushups will ultimately make us stronger and better at karate.
    • Example of self-discipline at school: your teacher asks the class to read quietly on their own for the next 15 minutes.  You do not enjoy the story the class is reading.  However, you really enjoy drawing.  Reading the story, the teacher asked you to read instead of drawing on a piece of paper under the book takes self-discipline.
    • Example of self-discipline at home: after dinner your dad tells you to go to your room and finish your homework.  In your room you have lots of toys and other things that are much more fun than homework.  Doing your homework rather than playing with your toys is an example of self-discipline.
    • During this step, have the kids repeat the definition after you 3-5 times then have a short discussion on the topics above.  Feel free to replace the examples with ones of your own.  Substitute a different activity for karate if they don’t practice karate.  Be sure to ask them for an example first before providing yours.  Do this 2-3 time during the week.
Being healthy is one of the many benefits of having self-discipline
  • Discuss why it is important
    • Why is it important to have self-discipline?  Having self-discipline makes us smarter and healthier.  Without self-discipline, you won’t be successful in life and will likely be unhappy and unhealthy.
    • During this step, briefly go over all steps 1-3 before going into this step.  Be sure to ask the kids why they think it is important before providing them with the answer.  Do this 2-3 times during the week.

Remember, it only takes less than 5 minutes, 2-3 times a week to go through these steps.  Feel free to comment or contact me with questions.

Stay tuned for my next post which will be on how to teach kids respect.