Thursday, March 30, 2017

An interesting thing happened to me the other day after writing my blog.

An interesting thing happened to me the other day after writing my blog.

You are not going to believe it!?

So I have been writing articles for over 30 years, for many different publications throughout many different industries. I have written for MAIA – Martial Arts Industry Association, NAPMA – National Association of Professional Martial Arts,  Karate International Magazine, Action Martial Arts Magazine, and Night life magazine, to name a few.  I have published my poetry and even have helped others write by being a ghost writer all while  publishing 5 books and being featured in three others by prominent authors.  While doing this I have contributed to Members Solutions, Napma’s blogs and websites.  Like my mom said I have the gift of Gab.   
Today, a prominent martial artist, reached out to me about the re-release of one of my most widely read articles ever.   At first I was unsure if the individual was joking with me as they insinuated that I stole the article from them. Well, at first they said “glad I was able to help you write your article.”  Immediately I was unsure whether they were making a joke or just messing with me.  After I inquired they expressed that they were quite serious.  Then they sent me the link to their article published within the last few months on their blog.  When I read it I was astounded at the similarities of the article.  There were punctuation and grammatical things that followed my exact copy.  It was almost word for word in many sections. I like to live by the live and let live mentality and to be honest over the years, follow the principle that there are no coincidences in life.  I then received a few snide remarks and hecklers on my posts on facebook that posted links to his article saying, “Hmmmm, looks like I read this before.”  They also were insinuating that I stole it.  
After telling the writer that I had written this article over a decade ago, and published it many times on the internet and had slightly altered it this time, they fired back immediately that the right thing to do, was to retract my article because obviously I read their article and changed mine because of theirs.  This wasn’t true at all. In fact, I never read their article at all.  I strategically wanted to be sure that they told me when they wrote their article and they told me it was only about 5 months old.  I stressed that my article was written over a decade ago and has been in circulation for over a decade.  This didn’t seem to matter to them.  They insinuated that I should be honorable and take it down.  

I had to prove my point, I was not a thief and was the original writer of the material in question and it was not at all influenced by him, unless I owned a time machine.  Although at times, our subconscious mind works without us even knowing.  I knew I wrote the article and I was not worried, because it has been published many times in many magazines, on different industry blogs for martial art school owner.  My bet proof was that I wrote and published this in 2011 and then again as far back as 2013 on Facebook.  I just had to find the link.  So I searched high and low, and low and behold I found it after an hour and a half.  When I showed it to the martial artist, he gracefully apologizing and changed his perspective.  I knew this individual would handle it like a true martial artist, they even made an edit on their blog.  However, I find it so interesting that we actually almost word for word, wrote the exact same article.
What I think is most interesting, is how at times things look totally different than they actually are.  Maybe this individual read my article years ago and forgot about it although they say they didn’t.  Maybe our business of running a martial art school is so strangely similar that this situation could happen to him almost exactly.  I believe in the laws of attraction and the thought of the “Spontaneous Fullfillment of Desire.”  So maybe when he put pen to paper, it all came out in their article.  The similarities of the article they wrote were uncanny, even down to the punctuation.  However, I believe that it was possibly coincidental due to the extremely unique way we think.  We as martial art schools go through the exact same things, but may live on opposite sides of the world.  It is so amazing, when I speak to a school owner in Germany, England or Australia and they tell me the exact same story or situation on the opposite side of the planet.  The one thing is we have to realize that we are living the same lives, have the same desires, and same struggles in life all over the world.  We should realize that the world is such a small place and we have to live with the understanding that every action we take and every reaction others take are all interconnected.
In any event, I am glad that this article has been really going viral and I am honored that people are enjoying it.  I hope that between this other individual and I, we have made a difference in people’s lives.  I think, this planet needs more people like him and with me helping spreading the positive message of love, light, commitment and martial arts.  I am still on my journey of helping others.  I hope you will join me. Please leave your comments below. I would love to hear your opinion and from you.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

I quit!

 I quit!

Recently, I bumped into an old student.  Well this happens to me on a daily basis if I come out of the house.  I stood on line waiting for my Bagel when I noticed this young man.  I immediately realized that I knew this individual but didn’t know from where – I know a great deal of people.  After a few glances back and forth, I realized he had been a student when he was about 5 years old.  His face looked the same but he sure did grow up.  I said hello and he immediately said “Sensei” and bowed.  I was happy to see him and that he still followed the protocol of the dojo and the respect that I had taught him.  I asked what he had been up to all these years he was now 19 years old.  After a few seconds he told me he thinks of our school and my teachings quite often.  I told him he should come back to train again.  He said he wished he never quit.

This is where the story gets interesting.  Not very often do I hear that students quit, normally they always tell me they will be back someday.  This very rarely comes to fruition – but many promises have been made.  We spoke a bit more and I asked, if you wished you never quit, then why did you? What he said is an amazing testament to life and how parents should think about when they make their next decision.  He explained “I was a kid at the time and my mom was the guiding force as to whether I did things or not,” he blamed his mom for letting him quit. 

This is kind of ironic because I am a father and have brought up a daughter in the martial arts.  She is now almost 18 and getting ready to go to college so I have jumped through all the hoops that every parent does and I feel your pain.  I see sometimes how children make it difficult on their parents with all the complaining, crying, whining, resisting and reasoning etc.  “Mommy, I don’t like it any more, Daddy, I am bored, Wah, I didn’t get my yellow belt yet, or that kid was too hard on me in class, the sensei yelled in my direction.”   I also see how the parents do their best to continually motivate the children.  They use  all of positive motivation they learned and logic as well as explained scenario’s way to far above any child’s understanding, and it falls on deaf ears because it their children are not willing to listen to logic.  In the long run (not so long) they give up.  It seems like the words I here most from my students parents is I can’t force them to do something they don’t want to do. Plus - I am sure paying to get aggravated and I don’t want to be annoyed.  So they give up. 

I can’t disagree more with a parent when they make this statement.  I am a father of a 18 year old daughter and if I don’t force her to do what is good for her, then who will?  Even at this age, I have to still stay on top of her to keep her focused and motivated at times.  When she was little, I believe if I listened to her she would be eating chocolate for Breakfast, lunch and Dinner and staying home playing on her DS2 video game (dated I know). 

I made the conscious choice; she would not quit martial arts, no matter what.  You may ask how I did this? Simply put; we never, ever discussed it being an option, nor will we. Secondly, I do what ever I can to keep her as engaged as possible. We do many special events and watch movies and read books continuously on the martial arts.  The martial arts is her second home, like it is for many of my students.  What if your child wanted to quit school, would you let them?  Obviously not – I hope.  I know you are going to say the martial arts are not school.  They are an extra-curricular activity.  However, that statement couldn’t be further from the truth.  I realize that, in school they don’t learn how to defend themselves, ward off pier pressure, in school physical activity has been limited to only a few hours per week and most of the time it is not concentrated physical activity.  So you are right when you say it is not school. 

Oh – did I mention that at a martial arts school you learn how to learn.  How you ask, simply put, it is the methods in which martial arts are taught. Martial Arts are taught in many ways - mental lessons, physical and spiritual and each method is tied into the visual, auditory and touch through physical activity.  We are also experts at what we call Edu-tainment, education and entertainment combined.  We also enable our students to develop confidence, how? - Through a bunch of mini successes and failures, each day is a lesson. So rather then thinking of martial arts as an extra-curricular activity, think of it as a life-enhancement program.  Something that ties into school and works hand in hand, in fact it is your ticket to peace of mind as they get older. 

So would I ever suggest allowing your child to quit – of course not.  Martial arts are absolutely the answer.  Even if your child doesn’t intend on becoming a martial arts expert, a teacher or continuing for ever, achieving a certain proficiency in it will change their lives everlastingly.  I know this because many of my students are police officers, doctors, lawyers, accountants, nurses, and entrepreneurs; we have thousands of success stories. If I could only jump into the future to show you how the martial arts will enhance your child’s life you would never consider ever letting your child stop.  Martial arts are simply the best thing for your child ever!

            If you are running into some struggles and need help, most instructors are experts at motivating students. Don’t wait till the last minute before letting your instructor know you are having motivational struggles.  Let them help you and be a part of your success team.  In closing, I urge you to think about this – if one lesson, one move, one shift in perspective – kept your child from harms way, wouldn’t the stress, struggle and investment be totally worth it.  I think so! 

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Speed Bump is So Annoying, or is it?

The Speed Bump is Soooooooooooooo Annoying!  Or is it? 

Watch this old video that I put up in in 2011, explaining my thoughts on how to deal with every day frustrations, issues, problems etc.  This philosophy is something that I live by every day and today, I was reminded of it by a conversation my daughter and I had while I was driving her to school.  I look at these early meetings as inspiration to me and I should start a blog called conversations with KIARA.  These conversations as we are used to will come to an end soon, because she is going away to college this coming August and I will not be driving her to school any more.  It makes me happy and proud, but sad at the same time.  I came home and started to prepare to shoot another video blog, however, I realized I had a video on this very topic, that I could show you. 

Don't get me wrong, sometimes I struggle with it too, just like you.  However, I continually remind myself how this is the TRUTH!  I work hard not to let my speed bumps consume me.  Please check out this video, and let me know below what your thoughts are.  I am also open for questions, email me if you want me to answer a question for you on my blog.  I can do it anonymously if you want. email me at 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Common Sense is not so Common!

Common Sense is not so Common

When I think about this saying, “Common Sense,” I am reminded of all the times I have heard this saying in my life and even the times that I have used it.  Picture an older man speaking to a younger, reprimanding him for not thinking about his last task. He says to the younger man “what is wrong with you?  This is common sense,” as he shakes his head in disappointment.  This is not an uncommon mindset and statement in any area of life.  I am sure you have had this statement directed at you at one time or another. Sometimes our reference of “common senses” seems so common to the person using the statement, however the reality is it is not always what it seems.  For the person on the other end it may not be common at all and to the person we are working with or talking to it could totally be like speaking in tongues.   

An example comes straight out of the headlines where a jungle worker in some far off land was on his lunch break and fell asleep and never work up.  They found his remains in the belly of a 25 foot boa constrictor.  You would think common sense would dictate because of the danger of wild animals you don’t take a nap on the log of a downed tree.   But for this man he obviously didn’t realize this was a possibility or forget that it was not a wise nap place.  I have seen the pictures of this man who was eaten it wasn’t pretty.  So in this case “Common Sense,” it wasn’t so common after all.  When speaking with someone about something they have no reference to is something that goes on quite often nowadays.   For example you may be speaking about how to defend yourself, or play an instrument or run a business etc,. I deal with this all the time, when coaching martial art school owners. I find that the things that are easy and natural to me, are many times not even thought of.  What I would consider common sense is not.  After 25 years of experience this is second nature to me, but to the newbie it is not even in their frame of reference.  Common sense is actually a highly trained skill and without the correct training a person/business owner or musician will fail terribly.  So what is common sense? 

While consulting with a myriad of different people, I have found they all feel similarly.  Over 4 decades of being a martial art teachers, I have found the same thing as well.  I believe is the basic core fundamental principles of what I call life skills.  However in the 21st century it seems that many of the things necessary to make a person well rounded and able to function under almost any situations is now falling on deaf ears like a brand new discovery.  We don’t have to learn how to start a fire, from two sticks, or hunt and forage for food. None of that is necessary in the world we live.  At times what I think to be basic necessity is not something of interest for other people.  So my approach when I consult all the time, no matter who I am dealing with is to treat everyone as if they were starting from scratch.  My theory is – if one simple lesson is lost or missed, whether it is the most basic it can have a long term effects on the growth of that individual. When I teach martial arts I teach sword.  I have had people say to me, no one is out there attacking you with a sword. The majority of attacks don’t happen with a sword, but machete and knife attacks are becoming more and more prevalent in the world we live.  So practicing defense against a sword, is not a bad skill to learn.    

So what is common sense in life?  I would have to say with total confidence the answer is nothing!  What is basic to one person may not be to another. A boy growing up on a farm in the Midwest has common sense knowledge that is quite different then the city boy or child of a millionaire.  My approach is a no nonsense, experience based lesson program.  That is the way I teach my students, friends, people I love and also in the consulting industry with my clients the basics on up to advanced training. I learned from personal experience, what works and what doesn’t, I share what I am using and what I have failed at with those that I am teaching.  I am not afraid to say, I tried this and it didn’t work. I am also not embarrassed to speak of my mistakes because they are the best lessons in life.  I remember being very disappointed with Tony Robbins when he got divorced. I thought to myself, I listen to this man, I believe in him. I have used his philosophies in my relationship.  If he can’t have a successful marriage, then how can I listen to him about marriage?  When I came to reality I realized, you only learn from people’s experiences good and bad.  Mistakes are equally beneficial as successes. This is why I share openly and honestly with everyone.    

I believe in following an owner’s manual or script of some sort, although I have to admit many times I assembled many items without using a step by step guide and have found a few extra bolts, when I was finished.  Initially it didn’t matter, but in the long run what ever was left out came back to haunt me, the strength or the structure was weakened.  Your life is no different a personal owner’s manual so to speak.  Make not of your experiences because they will be your blue print for success.  Even though things may differ slightly from situation to situation, even culturally, but all in all, concepts are adaptable.  A business owner has to school himself in the concept of common sense, a school age child or teen, as well as a parent too. If you learn one thing from this article – is “common sense, is not so common.”

It is my goal to continually create common sense action principles for a variety of things that will help the world arming people with the tools to live their lives to the fullest. 

Five Core fundamental Protocols of common sense and life.
A set of formal rules describing how to
1)      Learn as much as you can about the topic at hand. Don’t do it on the surface, dig in deep and actually learn as much as you can.
2)      Embrace lessons as painful or uncomfortable as they are.
3)      Procedures Protocol’s – develop a system to process the lesson, what and how does your mind work best, find that out and then use that over and over.
4)      Core Functions – the 9 levels of competency – I will release this in future articles.
5)      Trust others and allow yourself to be the student.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A Message for Parents from a Martial Art Teacher!

A Message for Parents from a Martial Art Teacher!

Imagine a room filled with highly motivated, excited and energetic students, learning skills that will change their lives forever.  This vision is the exact one you see when enrolling a child in a martial arts class.  Martial Arts activities are not only fun and exciting, but filled with lessons that will change a student’s life forever.  Lessons in hand eye coordination, focus and variety of kicking, punching, grappling, falling and high-energy exercise drills are only the bi products of what is taught.  The lessons in the martial arts are endless.  However they are so much deeper then most parents and students even realize.  I have been doing martial arts for 48 years.  Coming from some one who has lived it on a daily basis and having watched my students for over 30 plus years I have a clear perspective. Many have started off as children and are now adults  and some have their own children in my school, I can tell you the martial arts is one of the best things you can ever do, bar none. 

I want you to view the martial arts not only as a fun activity or sport, but more as a necessary life-skill and way of life.  I call my martial art school the “Life Skill Institute.”   After the excitement and newness of the class has subsided and the realization takes place, there is nothing left but hard work.  To progress it is inevitable that at some point a student will lose  some motivation.  This happens to every champion, no matter whether it is baseball, hockey, soccer or martial arts at some point.  As long as they are in it for the long-term. Parents sometimes see motivation as a form of love or excitement for a desired activity.   However all student’s motivation has peaks and valleys and sometimes even plateaus.   DON’T WORRY!  This is all part of the program and it is a temporary condition for those who stick with their training.  This is crucial point for the student and if they don’t allow the Sensei to help them through it, it will not teach them the important life lesson about the importance of commitment and "sticktoitiveness."

If the time comes when you or your child wants to QUIT, the age old saying may be “chose your battles wisely.”  After all, why make them do something they don’t want to do, right? WRONG!!! We make our children do things they don’t want to do every day because, as parents, we know what is best for them.  We make them go to school, take swim lessons, go to the dentist, etc.  Why?, Because it is for their health, long-term education and well-being. Basically it sets them up for success for the rest of their lives. 

This is one of the best fought battles you should ever fight. In all my years of experience, I have never had a child complain to me or their parents that they were mad for making them earn a black belt. I have, on the other hand, heard kids come back to me years later and wish their parents had acted in their best interest and made them stick with it.  This has happened hundreds of times in conversation with students after they have grown.    

Remember a student dedicated to training in the martial arts increases their chances of success drastically and will give them the confidence, focus and strength to succeed in all areas of their lives. That is only the mental benefit because in our society it is essential to also give them the tools they need to have a level of comfort, knowing that should a bully attack them, they are better prepared. It could potentially save their life. 

I have heard this hundreds of times and parents have said that they don’t want to argue with their child about coming to class and that they have to pick their battles, but isn’t a lifetime of success, confidence and safety worth standing your ground and going to battle for? The answer is a resounding YES SIR!  Now apply this to anything you do or your child does.