What your teen is really worried about


Recently I asked a group of teen students about what they thought they would like to learn to protect themselves from the most.  It was not an attack on the streets or hallways at school.  They did not talk of being abducted or physically hurt.  They did not speak of international issues such as war or attacks on the homeland.  The things that they wanted the most protection from or learn how to deal with:


put-downs, cliques at school, teasing, insults, words, exclusion

Bullying behaviors are the biggest things on these students minds.  There were other subjects that came up too, like anger, education, close mindedness, jealousy, cutting, emotional abuse, not being heard, health issues… but far away it was the social / emotional issues that were the of the highest concern.  

Teens are concerned with finding their place in society and especially among their peers.  Being able to do so and feeling safe is key to how they operate in society as adults.  The adults in their life have a responsibility to set the example for them, to guide them through the waters of the social world and to find that secure place.

The six skills that every child needs to start learning at a young age and how to teach those skills will be part of our discussion on September 27 at 10 AM.  The subject title is “The Truth About Bullying”   You are invited to this FREE class to be followed in the weeks to come dealing with What to do if your child is being bullied and more.  Register today or just show up – but be sure to get this information for your family.

Back in Training

I returned to my master’s school in Wudangshan a week ago. The time since has been spent catching up with friends and shaking off jet lag. More than anything, however, it has been spent coping with what I shall call, “Week One Syndrome” (hereafter WOS).

WOS is the inevitable period of adjustment necessary to go from part-time training, no matter how rigorous, to full-time. It goes like this:

The first day, you feel fantastic. Maybe your moves are a little rusty, but your muscles are fresh and loose and ready to go. Maybe your stances aren’t as low as you would like, or maybe your kicks aren’t as extended, but with all that stored-up energy, it just feels great to move.

Second day, however, you wake up in agony. You drift up out of the warm darkness of sleep, try to sit up, and—BAM!—hot knives in your thighs, abdomen, back, chest, calves, and everything else. Particularly sore are the muscles at the front of your hips. Trying to raise your leg to step into your pants is impossible. The test I use to gauge how traumatic WOS is going to be is stairs. If I can still walk up or down the stairs normally, one foot in front of the other, I am doing pretty well, even if it is a struggle. If I have to cling to the hand rail and haul myself up step by terrible step, it’s going to be a rough couple of weeks.

You want to rest, to recover, but day two has all the same training that did you in on day one. Except this time, your muscles are killing you, and on top of that, they have tightened into these angry knots like twisted tree roots. Day one, you could touch your toes. Day two, you wish you could touch your knees. You’ve lived through the WOS ordeal before, though, so you know that if you get yourself thoroughly warmed up and stretched out, you can make it through and even recapture some of the joy of motion that you felt in day one.

Day three and onward continue much like day two, but the muscle pain slowly falls into a weekly pattern, peaking in the training week and slacking in the rest day. Pain and stiffness are still at a high, but slowly they reach a barely manageable level, where they will remain for the duration of your training. At the same time, however, injuries that you had thought gone after your vacation start to crop up again, and your reserves of energy are being drained. By the end of three weeks or a month, your emotional and physical resources that you saved up during your vacation are running low, and every day of every week is a struggle to replenish your strength at as fast a rate as you burn it.

After that description you may not believe this, but it is amazing to be back. Maybe I am a sucker for suffering, but this place feels like home and there is nowhere I would rather be. I can feel myself calming down after the faster pace of life back in the U.S.

And as a sign of my growth, WOS gets a little milder every time I endure it.

Brooks C. does best push ups ever!

At Balanced Life Skills testing for June 2011 at Quiet Waters Park, Brooks showed me his pushups. They rival any push ups done by a Marine. Oh yes his dad was in the Marines. Great job Brooks!!

Maintaining the trust of our children

A series of post's on leadership in the familyWe all know the importance of trust and integrity in our relationships.  There is no place where that is more important than in the relationship that we have with our family members and especially our children.   Warren Bennis  said in his book that integrity “is the one quality that cannot be acquired but must be earned.”

It is as Stephen Covey talks about, like a bank account.  We build it a little at a time by what we say and do.  We can make withdrawals too, by not living up to our word or doing what we say we are going to do.  Interestingly though, like in a construction project, it is easier to tear something down than it is to build it up.   In regard to our children, they come into the world trusting us to the fullest.  They depend on us for everything.   So we want to do everything possible to maintain that trust and belief in our integrity.

How do we maintain and build that relationship?  By saying what we mean and mean what you say – everyday.  Our position of leader of the family is based on our ability to be consistent with our word.   By not threatening an act you have no intention of following through on, by following through on every rule you have set and agreed to with your family, will allow you to grow the respect for each other in the family and set an example that others are willing to follow.

Deep breathing brings better health

While all of us breathe without thinking about it everyday 24 hours a day, we may not be breathing in a manner that is bringing the largest benefits to our health.  Breathing all the way into our diaphragms, deeply is so important for our health and  even our thinking ability.  The oxygen we take in affects all of the cells in our bodies from our bones and muscles to our skin and brain.  In fact the very deepest part of our lungs is where the oxygen needs to get to do the best the job of helping our brain cells.

Did you know that without oxygen that the cells go from being oxygen – burning to one that ferments glucose for fuel.  So it makes good sense to breathe deeply and to doing so as an exercise is a good way of getting started.

  1. Stand up straight with your arms by your side.
  2. Pushing down on your diaphragm and allowing your abdomen to expand, inhale to the count of 10.
  3. Hold your breath to the count of 20.
  4. Exhale to the count of 5.
  5. Repeat 10 times.

If you are able to do this exercise 2 times every day, once in the morning and once in the evening, you will begin to feel your energy level increase within a short amount of time.  You may want to try it at home or work, inside or outside, while taking a walk.  The important part is to keep your concentration and to do it in an area where the air is as clean as possible.  You probably would not want to do it near a busy highway.

5050 pushups on Saturday


On Saturday January 1, 2011 a group of 18 students from the 9-12 year old and adult classes came to the studio for a New Years Day workout and great start to the new year.   Every 10 minutes all of us dropped down and did a set of push ups.  We had a total of 5050 push ups at the end of the day.  In addition we also practiced our forms, and got some sparring in too.  It was a great time, so thanks to Mark, Jeff, Kevin, Claire, Jake R., Wills, Connor, Ryan, Niklas, Caitlin, Katie, Jake V., Kelly, Michael, and Scott for coming out early that morning and getting your year off to a great start.