Courage – David and Goliath

This week our younger students read a one of the most well known stories of courage,  David and Goliath.  Afterwards they were given the following message.

Message of Courage for Our Young Students

There will be a lot of times in your life when you will need courage. There will be many times you will want to quit because something’s too hard. You may hear people say things about you that make you want to give up. Friends may really try hard to get you to do something you don’t want to do. People may make fun of you for doing something that you know is right.

All of these times you will need courage to keep going, to stand strong, to do what you know is right. We want you to develop courage here in karate, so you’ll be able to have it later.

Courage is like a muscle – if it’s never been used, or never been tested, it’s not going to be very strong. So every time you stand up for someone, every time you keep going when you want to quit, and every time you push yourself to do something you don’t want to do but know is the right thing to do, you are developing your courage!

Message of Courage for Our Older Crowd

For children it is often easier to think of the enemy as the person who is tempting or hurting you.  Outside influences are a much greater threat in their eyes.  But as adults we know that the threat often comes from within.

Whether we need the courage to tackle a new challenge, the courage to do the right thing or the courage to be nice to ourselves, as adults we know that the enemy often comes from within.

It is easier to turn keep doing what we have always done than to challenge ourselves.  It is easier to let things happen the way they will than to stand up and make some changes.  And it is far easier to keep beating ourselves up than to start building ourselves up.  It takes courage to do all of these things.

Today we would like you to think about your Goliath.  What is the biggest obstacle you need to overcome?  How will you find the courage to overcome it?


Courage and Board Breaking

We are starting on a brand new theme, courage and a brand new karate technique, board breaking!  It’s going to be a fun and exciting month!

In addition it is parent participation week. We want you to know ahead of time what we are doing so you can have an idea of what your child might need to “break through.”

Do you have the courage to break through?

So how do they all tie together? And what do we want you to think about before you come to class this week?

 We all need courage to “break through” obstacles in our lives. Sometimes those obstacles are things that we put in our own way! We may think things about ourselves that are not true. Your child might think “I’m not strong enough” or “I’m not fast enough” or “I can’t do that well, so I’m not going to do it at all”.  

 Those are obstacles that we want our children to break through and clear from their paths! It is so important for you as a parent to help your child reframe things using Growth Mindset language.

 Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset

People with a Fixed Mindset believe that their basic qualities, like intelligence or talent, are simply FIXED traits.

The truth is that we have enormous ability to develop any trait, quality, or talent that we want to develop. We love stories of those who have worked hard to overcome obstacles to achieve great things.  These are people with a growth mindset. Yet, we often think that’s not possible for ourselves.


A fixed mindset says, I have the hand I’ve been dealt and there’s nothing I can do about it. A growth mindset KNOWS that through hard work and persistence you can greatly improve the hand you’ve been dealt.

The truth is that the most successful people didn’t start out with more talent or gifts than average. They develop their gifts and talent through effort and perseverance. People with a growth mindset love learning and develop a resilience that can see them through any trial. Isn’t that what you want for your child?

Creating A Growth Mindset

So how do you translate fixed mindset messages into growth mindset messages? Easy!

 “You may not be as strong as you want to be YET!” Or “you’re not as fast as Johnny YET!”  Or “there is nothing stopping you from growing and changing and becoming what you want to be!”

 Breaking boards is a great opportunity to change the fixed mindset limitations we put on ourselves.

What other obstacle might come from our own thoughts that we might need to “break through”?

Comparing ourselves to others ends up putting obstacles in our own way. We might look at someone else’s [fill in the blank, but for karate we’ll use: mawashi geri] and think we’ll never have a mawashi geri as good as theirs. Or we might look at someone else and think “I’m so glad my mawashi geri is better than theirs!”

Either one of these thoughts is an obstacle that we need to overcome! We need to constantly grow, learn and get better. When we look at others and are only concerned with how we stack up against them, we stop improving – either because we get discouraged, or because we think we are already good enough!

 We will be introducing these ideas this week to kick off our month focusing on COURAGE  and board breaking. Help your child to think about obstacles they can “break through” over the next 4 weeks! Each week they will have an opportunity to literally break through an obstacle!

Transition – Are You Facing A New Season?

As my youngest moves halfway across the country and I become an “empty nester” I’ve been thinking a lot about what’s next. Many of us are in a state of transition: changes in family, physical moves, new jobs, entering new schools, even beginning new friendships or new hobbies.  Life is full of transition.

First Step In Transition

When you are facing transition it is important to assess your goals. Are you on the right track? Does this transition line up with your broad goals for your life?

Don’t think you have goals?

I didn’t either. At least I had not thought of them as goals. But when I forced myself to think about what is most important to me, what I really want to have happen in my life, even though they aren’t material goals, I realized, that yes, absolutely, I do have goals! Once you uncover your goals, then you can assess how the changes in your life are helping you achieve those goals.

Hanging onto the past

Some of us get afraid of the road ahead, and keep too focused on the rearview mirror. You know what happens then, right? You keep your eyes glued for too long on the rearview mirror and you WILL crash!

Yes, it is important to glance back and see what’s behind you. It’s important to acknowledge where you’ve been, what you’ve learned, and how far you’ve come. But you can’t stay fixed on what’s behind you.

The best way to focus on the road ahead is to really focus on what’s a bit further down the road; maybe what’s further along than where this transition you’re in right now is leading you.

Don’t drift – Transition With Purpose

It can be easier to just wake up and live each day, doing what needs to be done that day, and on and on. Anyone who’s ever been adrift on a large body of water knows what happens if you can’t (or don’t) steer the boat. You’re just NOT going to get where you want to be.

The idea of living spontaneously has captivated our culture. And to be sure there are times that’s a wonderful idea. But to entrust your future to “whatever comes” is really gambling with your future.

Do you want to be successful?

We all have to learn how to navigate life’s greatest moments as well as life’s greatest challenges. For every goal that is set, there are several transitions along the path to reaching the goal. Often transitions present challenges. How we navigate those challenges, while appreciating past accomplishments, leads to whether we reach our goal (or are successful).

Grit is the key!

Grit can be defined as perseverance and passion for long-term goals. People who navigate transitions well have grit. “Keeping on keeping on” is actually more important than your gifts, talents, or IQ. But you have to be persevering towards a goal. You have to know what that goal is, before you can persevere towards it!

Here in karate we give you goals. You persevere and keep working towards a black belt, and not only will you earn the black belt, but you’ll also have developed a lot of grit along the way. And that grit can translate in to all areas of your life. But you have to know where it is you’re headed!

If you’re at one of life’s transition points, I encourage you to spend some time thinking about your goals. As yourself these questions. Where do you see yourself in a year; 5 years; 10? What do you want to have accomplished? What kind of person do you want to be? What impact do you want to have on others?

Spending time with these questions will show you that you do, indeed, have goals. And once you have your goals in mind, then you can focus on what’s down the road, with only a glance in the rearview mirror!

Parenting Discussion Group

At Warriors of Grace we care about our students and their families.  Because of this we would like to provide something new for our parents.  We want to offer a parenting discussion group.

I am a fan of Andy Stanley and always want to share something I’ve learned from watching him. I have just watched the first in a new series from North Point Ministries.

North Point Ministries

Parent Unscripted is a four-video series that includes practical teaching and tools designed to help you discover your family’s values, each family member’s temperament, how to spiritually lead your children, and how to maximize your time together.”

In the first series Andy and Sandra Stanley share what their goal was in raising their kids (now 24, 22, 20, and 17). It was so insightful and made me look at parenting in a totally new way.

I thank God my instincts enabled me to do some of the same things that they thoughtfully set out to do. I praise God that he was with me, even though I didn’t know it!

Parenting Discussion Group

I want to gather a group of parents together at the dojo and meet on four evenings to have dinner, watch a video, and engage in lively discussion afterwards! I know it would be lively because some of the ideas are very thought provoking!

Relationship Over Discipline – A New Approach

To whet your appetite, the Stanley’s overarching method of disciplining their children was to emphasize honor over obedience; to emphasize relationship over behavior. What this looked like and what their results were is something I think all parents want for their children.

We believe we have a heavenly Father who loves us, and wants to be in relationship with him. That is so much more important than any rules that he has given us to live by. It’s not that the rules aren’t important, but rather, that the relationship is so much more important.

God, as a father, doesn’t punish us because we do wrong and he is angry with us. He disciplines us because he loves us and wants to keep us close, and he wants what is best for us. Isn’t that exactly the same for us as parents? We don’t want to punish our children because we want them to behave a certain way — we want them to learn how to get along with others and be in strong relationships throughout their life.

An example of the differing approaches:
The behavior approach says “Don’t lie because it’s wrong (or because it’s one of the commandments).”
The relationship approach says, “Don’t lie because it breaks relationships.”

This is just a taste. Each of the four sessions are on a different topic. I have only watched the first, but am excited to watch them all. I hope you will join me!

Please let me know if you would be interested in joining a group of parents from the karate school to watch this series together and enjoy food and fellowship together as well!  Call today – 410-729-5111

Think – Integrity In What You Say


Integrity has been our theme for the past few weeks in class.  We have talked about what it means to you, how you know you are acting with integrity and why it is important to do so.  This week the dojo is closed for summer break.  We will open again Sunday the 9th.  But that doesn’t mean our lessons don’t continue.


Integrity is what you do when know one is watching, right?  So even though no one is at the dojo this week, we want to continue our subject on integrity with a short lesson on thinking before you speak or for that matter thinking before you write something on social media.

Social media has become such a huge part of our lives that sometimes what we say or write there is automatic.  We type it and hit send before we have truly taken a moment to THINK it through.

THINK Before You Speak

Before you hit send either in spoken words or written take a minute to ask yourself these questions.


Is what you are about to say true?  Because we want to live with integrity it is important that we always speak the truth.  On social media this could be even more important because what we post can spread so quickly. If we post a lie, even in a joking way, it can be seen by 100’s or 1000’s of people before we have time to retract it.


Have you ever been with someone who talks incessantly?  Someone who talks but never really says anything important.  Now think back to the times you have had a good, honest conversation with a friend or family member and how much that conversation still means to you months or even years later.  When you speak keep these two conversations in mind.

Do you want to be the person who talks just to hear the sound of your own voice or would you rather be the person who people listen to because when you speak they know it is going to be something worth listening to?


When I first saw this list and saw the word inspiring I wondered, how often do I say something inspiring.  Does it even make sense to be in the list.  But then I started thinking about the negative comments I see on a daily basis.  Whether people are talking about politics, the latest celebrity news or even about their work lives, they are filled with negative comments.  Negative comments are the very opposite of inspiring.  While most of us will not come out with words that are inspiring enough to change a person’s life, all of us are capable of using words that will bring a smile to someone else’s face.  That’s inspiring.

Have you inspired someone to smile today?


This may be a do over.  Above we talked about helpful.  Is what you are about to say helpful or necessary? But let’s go further into it here.  While not every word that comes out of your mouth is helpful, sometimes speaking up is necessary.  Sometimes by starting a conversation with someone even when you aren’t sure what you are about to say is helpful is necessary.  Because sometimes your conversation may be the only one that person will have that day.  When you see someone who is sitting by themselves or looking sad, a kind word from you may be the very thing that makes them feel included and happy.  While we want you to think about what you say, we don’t want you to be stingy with your words.

Consider saying hi to someone who looks down today and see how you can change someone’s day.


At Warriors of Grace Karate School we almost don’t have to mention this because our students have this one down so well.  Kindness is part of what makes our students so special.  But today we want to challenge you to try something new.  When you are out for your next run, walking through the grocery store or even in your own home, pick one thing to compliment someone on.  I love to do this when I am running.  As I pass someone I will give them a compliment, even something as small as “those are some cool socks.” What amazes me is that this small compliment never fails to make the person stand a little taller and run a  little faster.  Kindness goes a long way.

When was the last time you received a compliment that made you stand up taller and feel a little better?  Do the same thing for someone else today.




A Goldfinch and the Declaration of Independence?

Ok, it’s a stretch – but it’s how my mind works!

There is a goldfinch that has been hanging around the dojo for weeks now. He seems to have found a friend – his own reflection in the mirrored windows! It makes me think to what lengths we will go to find a friend. And once we’ve found one, we keep the friend despite evidence that we may have made a mistake – or that, in the case of our goldfinch, the friend isn’t even real!

We are called to love our neighbor, and we do need to treat everyone with respect and dignity, and compassion when needed. But those in whom we place our trust are called to a higher degree of worthiness. They need to actually care about us (as well as exist)!

So what’s real for you?

How many times do we place our trust in people, ideas, or causes that end up not being trustworthy? It can be really challenging in this day and age to know what information is reliable.

The words and intentions behind the Declaration of Independence should be periodically read so we remember exactly what prompted them in the first place. This great experiment that is ours, of a country governed by and for the people, is not over yet. It is incumbent upon us to know our history, and to know what drove our founders.

Today is the perfect day to read for ourselves the document that launched a revolution, so that we may think on our trust in this document, this country and in those who govern. Going to the source may help avoid having someone convince us of something that’s false.

Happy Fourth of July!

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton