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Sunday, July 22, 2007



Does your child complain about going somewhere only to have fun once you get them there? Once they are at a fun activity (birthday party, friend’s house, karate), does your child resist leaving? Sometimes, parents tell me that their child is difficult to get to class, but love it once they are there. As parents, we worry that our child may be losing interest in the activity. The good news is that this behavior does not necessarily mean that the child doesn’t like the activity. Instead the child is demonstrating a behavior known as “present focus"

What is present focus?

Present focus is a child becoming focused on a current activity and not wanting to stop to start another activity even if they enjoy it. Younger children have difficulty thinking into the future and tend to seek instant gratification. For example, if you offer them a piece of their favorite candy now or a bag of the same candy a week from now. The child will most likely choose the piece now. Children lack the impulse control of adults, therefore, an important part of parenting is becoming the child’s impulse control until they create good habits and make good decisions.

Remember that the child may love karate, but still display the present focused behavior. Over the years of teaching, I discovered many effective techniques to help parents refocus children, in order to get them into class.

Tips to Combat Present Focus

1. Remind them. Remind them about their karate classes early in the day. Children easily forget their karate schedule and resist activities that they are not mentally prepared for.

2. Talk positively. Talk to them positively about karate class. Build an image in their minds about how much fun they have in class.

3. Build excitement. Practice some of the fun karate activities at home before class. This helps get the student excited about going and puts them in the right mindset.

4. Limit highly stimulating activities. Don’t let the student play their favorite video game right before leaving for karate or any other activity that seems to cause resistance to leaving. Have your child perform less stimulating activities like eating dinner or finishing homework right before class.

5. Change at the karate school. For kids, getting ready for class becomes a major sticking point. Make the barrier low to get into the car by grabbing their uniform and changing at the school. Also, favor your student wearing flip flops or another easy slip-on footwear compared to lace up shoes.

6. Get a Friend involved. Children love hanging out with friends. If their friends are in class, they are more likely to stay committed too.

7. Join yourself. Lead by example and reap some of the benefits of the Martial Art too! Children model their parent’s behavior. We always say that “Families who workout together, stay together.”

8. Take Earlier Classes. Look for a program that has classes right after school. Instead of settling in at home and attempting to uproot your child, many Martial Arts schools have excellent after school programs or opt for an earlier class if available.

By applying these tips, you can combat the present focus behavior in your child so that getting them to classes is easier and less stressful, and you’re guaranteed to reap all the benefits that Martial Arts has to offer your child.

Sensei Tim Rosanelli
Maximum Impact Karate

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Yin and Yang of a Team

Master Dave and Tom blogged about team. I feel that there is a whole Yin and Yang to creating a complimentary team. Yin and Yang explains the two opposing forces that interaction on a daily basis to create balance within the world. As part of the Ultimate Black Belt test, we operate as a team. Don"t we? Tom mentioned in his journal that he not organized to the degree that he is creative. I must admit that with my science degree, I always struggle creativity but excel in organization. Thats the beauty of a team. Someone becomes the yin while the other person is the yang creating a complete balance.

What is a team, anyway?

A Team comprises a group of individuals linked by a common purpose. The purpose is the key anything less creates only a group not a team. An effective team works similar to the human body with every system and organ with a specific function working together - although each job is different they support the healthy function of the whole.

Whats our purpose in the Ultimate Black Belt Test?

Our Ulimate Black Belt test requiresments are very flexible leaving the door for opportunity wide open. I guess the answer starts with each individual deciding on something their passionate about and using that passion to make a different in your school and community - using our martial arts schools as the lightning rod for attracting the energy of student activism. It"s about coordinating one of the strongest resources, know to man the resource of volunteerism. With 30 schools on UBBT team 3, if the average school has 100, that equals over 3000 people. That"s more manpower than most companys can coordinate.

Creating a stronger team

Inspire: As instuctors, we need to inspire students to find causes and to follow through on their commitment. Otherwise, our support of 3000 will dwindle down to 500, 250, 100.

Willing suspension of disbelief: The author, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, coined this term in the 18th century. This means turning off that little voice telling us that something is impossible or can"t be done. If Henry Ford or Edison didn"t suspend their disbelief, we would be lighting our houses with candles and riding horseback for transportation.

Appreciate Strengths and ignore weaknesses: A team weakens when we start believing that our strength supersedes the value of others within the team. The advantage of a team is that one person"s weakness is another persons strength. We need to appreciate these differences.

Sensei Tim Rosanelli
Maximum Impact Karate

Friday, July 13, 2007

Further thoughts about Yahara and mastery from a non-master

Okay, I could not help but continue my thoughts about mastery from yesterday.

If Yahara Sensei, Thich Nhat Hanh, Dalai Lama, etc. are able to make people feel a specific way in their presence, I could not help asking myself “how could I use this?”

Well, the answer seems pretty clear. For many years, we have taught students kicks, punches, grappling, throws,and wrist locks, etc. but in my opinion, this only creates a small change in student.

What makes a huge impact?

Maybe, it’s more about how we make students feel about their training – generating that emotion, that deeply spiritual connection. Now, that’s the rub. You know what I am talking about – it’s that Tom Peter’s “Pursuit of the Wow” feeling. We’ve all had teachers, coaches, mentors provide us with this feeling.

In the movie Freedom Writers based on a true story, Erin Gruwell (Talking about living heroes, add her to your list) was an English teacher who helped inner-city students – kids who were who had been ignored or written off by the education system - achieve their dream of going to college. How did she do it? Not by teaching them Basic English. No! She required the students to journal their experiences and used it to transform the way they felt about their education.

This all has me thinking that my teaching should focus more developing the way my students feel about their training. Remember, perception is reality. If you perceive a flood of positive emotions, that’s your reality.

The question is how do you craft this reality for someone else (your students, wife, family, friends)? Isn’t that what a master does? Their vision is so strong that they manifest a perceived reality in thers.
Think of Martin Luther King – he had a dream and saw equality for all men so strongly that others saw it too.

How can we manifest these realities in students?

Here’s my new blocks, kicks and punches.
Empathy. I will start really “see the feeling with my eyes, not my ears” as Stephen Covey said.
This one I am going to begin at home first.

Active listening. I will cultivate the habit to shut up and listen. Learn that I have two ears and one mouth and to use them in that proportion. I’ll ask more open ended questions to really get to know people around me.

Enthusiasm and passion. When a student is feeling down about their training, I want to be the one that picks them up and dust them off – rejuvenating their spirits for their training and art. Too forsake all negative thoughts and ideas in favor of manifesting good in every situation by asking the right questions.

Ask yourself. What feelings are you manifesting?

Sensei Tim Rosanelli
Maximum Impact Karate

What makes Yahara Sensei a master?

Tom e-mailed a great YouTube video of a demonstration by Yahara Sensei.

The video brought back many memories for me. You see, in my youth as I moved up the ranks, I idolized Yahara. He is a true master! He is the reason that I picked Unsu as my kata for the Ultimate Black Belt Test.

What makes Yahara Sensei a master in my eyes?

Is it his awesome fighting abilities and dramatic performances?
Although I truly respect his abilities, I think it is only the tip of the iceberg.

Is it his performance of Unsu?
Actually, it is something much greater than perfect form that seemed to breathe life into his kata.

Was it his great communication skills and teaching ability?
My Sensei was part of Yahara's organization. When I went to the 1998 JKA world championship, I was fortunate to attend his seminar where he taught Unsu. He taught with very broken English and was difficult to understand. So it wasn't that.

So what makes him a master?

Why was I so captivated by Yahara?
I'll tell you why. You could feel (not see), feel a raw emotion a passion in his every action.

Ever notice when a true master walks into the room that you can feel the energy. I remember Skip giving a similar explanation of Thich Nhat Hanh walking into the room.

How can we harness that energy for ourselves through the UBBT?

First, Train. Training with intensity whether its for 5 mins or 2 hours. Really get into it. Totally focus on the process - dont just go through the motions. Also, try to enjoy it.

Second, Learn. Dont stagnate. Be a forever learner. Dive into the book requirement about any subject that interests you. Books get you into the minds of masters from the present and past.

Third, Hang out with the right people. I really wish that I could go to Thich Nhat Hanh in Colorado. I love to rub elbows with true masters and always hope that it rubs off on me. I feel that all of the UBBT events provided me with the opportunity to walk with giants (yes, I am talking about you) and left me inspired with a new lasting energy level.

Fourth, Live in the moment. I wasted way too much time worrying about things that in the end do not matter much. Haven't you? Meditation helps clear those cobwebs out of your head. Also, be careful about what you watch on TV and keep your viewing time to a minimum.

I cant wait to see you all in Cal!

Sensei Tim Rosanelli
Maximum Impact Karate