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Remembering What It Is Like To Be a Beginner

Each week, I have the opportunity to introduce new people to the world of martial arts. We begin new students with a private orientation and lesson. Still, sometimes when new people come in, they are really scared. Are they afraid of getting hurt? Nope. They are afraid of failing. And it's not just kids. You know that our greatest fear as adults is public speaking. More people say they are afraid of public speaking than they are of dying. We are deathly afraid of making fools of ourselves. We'd rather be in the casket than give the eulogy! So when people come in to my class, they are really nervous, and sometimes in a debilitating way. 

This is why we offer 3 weeks of classes (2X a week) for new kids. This gives them time to get used to it. The analogy I like to use is that if I asked you to go to a party where you didn't know anyone, if you are like most people, you would feel uncomfortable. I can tell you that everyone is really nice. I can tell you you will have a great time! But if you don't know anybody, including the host, how comfortable are you going to feel for the first fifteen minutes, even if the host and everyone in the room is friendly and welcoming? We put our kids in new classes and new activities and expect them to go in and be social right away. Not easy!

One of the reasons that I believe we are successful with helping new students to overcome their initial fear is that we never forgot that we were Beginners once too. In fact, we are still students of martial arts as well as instructors. We are continuously learning and working our way through the ranks. In addition, we strive to learn new skills outside of martial arts. In the past three years, I've begun two new hobbies that challenge my mind and body. I know about working through frustration. I understand what it feels like when your brain knows what to do but the body is on another planet! This helps me to have patients with new students. I get it!

This month in the dojang we are talking with the students about compassion. My message to them is to be compassionate with themselves. Allow yourself to make mistakes. The world is full of people who quit when things became difficult. Everyone who has achieved success has hit points of failure more than once. They say that they thought about giving up. But then, they dug deeper, and achieved their greatest success. When we feel bored, or frustrated where we are, we can quit, or dig deeper, and reach new heights.

Parents, my message to you this week is that kids are asked to learn something new every day in school. That must be exhausting! If you haven't learned something new in a while, learn a new skill or start a new hobby outside of your comfort zone. Remember what it is like to FEEL like a beginner, where nothing you do seems to be as good as you want it to be. Then, have compassion on the kids. That is their world. We can help.

To learn more about how martial arts can help you and your children to develop perseverance and indomitable spirit, ask us how you can get started for just $39. It's a great time to learn something new!

Master Robert Fox



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