Well, let me tell you...
When I teach children martial arts I draw my philosophy from a few different sources that have inspired me over the years. I know as an instructor I cannot simply impose my will along with a single-sided approach to instruction and I have learned over the years how to use those who have inspired me to help mold and inspire children.
Most of you know that children involved in martial arts usually meet about twice to three times per week and that our time we share together is limited. It is this reason that I attempt to make the biggest impact I can in that time we share together because, to me, the children's martial arts program is more to me than kicking, punching, armbars and push ups. To me, it is about helping a lost child find their way, a weak child to realize their strength, a shy child to recognize their confidence or a special needs child to understand that they are just like everyone else. It is in that that I have found my purpose.
Here are the people who have guided me and have helped me to become the instructor I am today. Some I have been personally guided by and others have influenced me heavily through their music, speeches or lifestyle.
Mom- Encourage kids to be their best and let them know when they are making you proud. My Mom has been one of my biggest supporters. She has always encouraged me to find what I am passionate about and with her help I made the leap to make the martial arts my full-time career.
Dad- Teach a child how to stand up for themselves and protect what and who they love. My Dad grew up fighting with purpose and reason. He’s a real “man’s man” and always told me to protect the ones I love and to always fight for what is right. Stand up for yourself because not many people will stand up for you when the cards hit the table. Today I use the same message to the children I teach.
Bob Marley- Never lie to the children. Always be honest and break through banter and PC that clouds their lives. "Tell the children the truth", he said. I am always honest with kids in response to their always entertaining questions-with discretion, of course.
Gabi Brandt- Take chances. Don’t stay in your comfort zone because while you’re there you’ll be missing out on the world. My girl, my lady. She took a chance seven years ago and left her family and home country of Brazil to come to the US in search of a better education and life. She spoke no English and had zero connection to the area. She has made herself quite the life and in a few short months she will marry her Americano! ME!
Master Melody Shuman- Always have a plan and another one behind that one. Organization and consistency are key to success in teaching children. For years I have followed Master Melody and recently I had an opportunity to meet and work with her at her school in St. Pete, Florida. She is an industry leader and innovator when it comes to teaching children and I hold her in the highest regard as an instructor and a person.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.- Equality and Understanding. “ We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools”. Today there is still sentiment of racism, sexism and hate towards others of different religions and cultures. When I have a class that is mixed with kids of different faith, skin color, culture and gender it makes me proud to prove to the world that it CAN work.
My Grandmom- Faith. Never give up on what you believe in. Have faith that what you believe in will guide you in both good times and the darkest moments. My Grandmom grew up with immigrant parents during the Great Depression. She never lost her faith and went on to beat the odds. She was the matriarch of a big, connected and loving family for the simple reason that she never doubted her belief.
Grandmaster Chae Goh- Technique will beat strength ten out of ten times. Paying attention to the way things are done and practicing them with relentless discipline and intent will ensure that the technique will do its duty when summoned. Grandmaster Goh was the greatest martial artist I have ever seen.
Brian Petty- Education and enlightenment. Know what the hell you’re talking about before you open your mouth. Each time i enlist my wisdom for a lesson I make sure it is backed up properly with good information. Kids find ways to cut through b.s. They are clever and sneaky like that. Brian taught me the importance of reading, researching and growing my own personal knowledge regarding the martial arts beyond what I have been taught on the mats.
Each one of these people quietly yell at me when I am faced with challenges in my teaching and in life, for that matter. I think that I have gotten to where I am today because each of them has giving me tidbits of info that has in some way shaped me into the instructor that i am today and will help me to grow as the years go by.
Have you ever written about the people who have influenced you?
Dragon Gym Martial Arts & Fitness