Karate develops skills for life!

Karate makes everything better.

No matter what the activity!

The character traits of discipline and self-control are foundational to almost all other things in life.

Whether we are pursuing a sport, music, or just want to be a better mom or dad, karate helps us be better at everything!

I want to introduce you to three sisters who have been with us for a while. The strength training, coordination, and persistence they developed in karate has led to their success in three quite different areas.

We all have unique areas to excel in!

Being disciplined on the karate floor leads to discipline on the dance floor. Strengthening the core that we need for self-defense leads to that same strong core that serves in ballet.

The benefits of karate for sports might seem obvious. Sure, there are many similar traits needed for both, but it’s the ones you might not think of that lead to excelling beyond the average.

The focus and concentration needed for karate helps one persevere when tackling other hard to learn skills that don’t come naturally. Is it really natural to be able to catch a flying ball in a little net at the end of a stick?

And the memorization of kata, bunkai, and Japanese, translates to an easier time memorizing lines needed in a play.

Karate develops skills for life!

And what about being able to listen to coaches, directors, instructors and follow directions well? 

You can’t exactly slide through karate class without putting in effort. You learn that if you put in the effort, you get to reap the rewards. Sometimes that’s learned the hard way: you also learn that when you don’t put in the effort you don’t get the reward!

How about the courage needed to audition for the play, or try out for the team? And what about dealing with the inevitable failures that life will send? Life can feel (and be) awfully unfair at times. Karate is a safe place to experience unfairness and learn to overcome and even thrive anyway.

We’ve been focusing on humility for a month now. Karate is a good instructor of humility because it is so hard. We’ve learned that without humility you don’t learn, you don’t grow, and you don’t even love.

Thank you for allowing us to a part of your lives!

We are grateful to all the wonderful families that have shared their precious children with us, even if only for a season. It is an honor to watch them grow into the unique individuals that God has created each one of them to be!

 

 

 

Does being humble mean thinking less of yourself?

Of course not, but sometimes that’s the way we look at humility. 

Does that mean we stop learning and growing? 

Of course not!

I want to share the recent mat chats we’ve been having with the kids at the karate school.

Last week’s mat chat:

We often say awareness is the first step to making any changes. Being more focused on others starts with being aware of others. What’s going on around us? Can we get any sense of how those around us are feeling? It just takes getting used to NOTICING! Notice your surroundings, notice the people around you, and notice how they are acting, and whether you can tell what they are feeling.

The best way to reach out to someone who is sad, for example, is to say something kind BEFORE they even tell you they are sad.(Most people WON’T tell you!)  If someone seems angry, is there anything you might do to help? It might be to just ask if they’re all right; asking if there’s anything you can do for them can make a difference in how they feel. How does it make you feel when someone asks if there is anything they can do for you? Does it make  you feel good to be noticed? You want to make OTHERS feel noticed and cared for.

That’s part of what it means to be humble – to notice others and to care about them.

This week: you are enough!

We’ve talked about a lot of ways to be humble.

Being a good listener, being curious about someone in order to get to know them better, noticing  and caring about those around us; these are all traits of a humble person.

We’ve found out that these same things apply to “how to love people”. Being humble and loving others is pretty much the same thing.

What we haven’t talked about yet is loving yourself. In order to be able to love others well, we have to love ourselves. That comes from knowing who we are. When we know who we are we don’t have to listen to the messages of the world.

The world says: never enough. Not thin enough, not smart enough, not good looking enough, you don’t have enough friends, you don’t have enough toys, you don’t have good enough grades…. It goes on and on.

But when you KNOW who you are, you can ignore all those messages and KNOW that you are ENOUGH. That doesn’t mean we don’t do our best to learn and grow, but it means we can have confidence that we’re on the right track and all the gifts we’ve been given are ENOUGH.

So please don’t mistake being humble for being LESS THAN. There is no benefit to thinking LESS of yourself, or by putting yourself down. You can always love others without putting them ABOVE you, or yourself LESS THAN them.

Where do you get your identity from?

How do you know who you are? The people closest to you can tell you that. They send you messages all the time. Who do your parents say you are? They probably tell you wonderful things about you, but you think they’re just saying that because they love you. If your mom tells you that you’re smart and capable, just because she loves you doesn’t negate what she’s told you!

We believe each and every one of you are a beloved child of God. You are special and created by God for a purpose. You can always claim your identity from God. You are wonderfully and fearfully made. And he is closer to you than anyone!

But even if you’re not ready to trust God, you can find out from the people who love you most, who you are. Just don’t let the lies of the world that say “you’re not enough” define you.

 

 

Emulating the most humble man who lived

Yes, it’s Jesus. If that’s offensive, I’m giving fair warning so you can stop reading now.

Was Jesus the most humble man to ever live?

The most humble man who lived? Isn’t that a bit unfair, given that he was actually God? A good answer comes from blogger Matt Perman:

“The truth of Jesus’s humanity is just as important to hold to as the truth of his deity. The apostle John teaches how denying that Jesus is man is of the spirit of the antichrist (1 John 4:22 John 7). Jesus’s humanity is displayed in the fact that he was born as a baby from a human mother (Luke 2:7Galatians 4:4), that he became weary (John 4:6), thirsty (John 19:28), and hungry (Matthew 4:2), and that he experienced the full range of human emotions such as marvel (Matthew 8:10) and sorrow (John 11:35). He lived on earth just as we do.”

So why do I say he was the most humble man to live? We’ve been talking about humility as putting others first. Caring more about others than yourself. While he lived and taught, he was always teaching and healing, regardless of what others thought and said. His concern was for the person right in front of him, no matter what the conventions of the time said about that same person. 

And of course, as we are getting ready to celebrate on Good Friday, he went through excrutiating pain and suffering, all for us. 

So, yes, I think it’s fair to say he was the most humble man to live.

What’s a convenant?

Before Jesus came into the picture, God had already made two different covenants. The first was with Abraham and it was one way. No matter what Abraham did, God would make him a nation and bless the world through him. 

Later, to develop a nation that would be light in a dark world, he made a covenant with the whole nation, through Moses. This was convenant which laid out all the rules and told the people: if you obey the rules, I will bless you; if you don’t obey the rules, you will be punished.

What happens when there are a lot of rules?

Yep, that’s right. We break them. We find loopholes. Somehow, the more rules there are the more tempted we are to work around them.

Andy Stanley shares that he basically narrowed down the rules for his kids to two: honor your mother, and don’t lie. Those two rules pretty much covered everything. (He and his wife Sandra also had the goal that teaching their children was all about maintaining relationships. You can watch a wonderful talk given by them on parenting here.)

So, how does this help us emulate Jesus?

Jesus brought a whole new covenant. He gave himself FOR us. The new covenant signaled a new relational agreement with God. The new arrangement completed and ended the old covenant. It replaced much of what had been in place. Jesus came to fulfill all the law and the prophets.

People were expecting him to do something for the nation of Isreal. But he came to do something for YOU. And for me. And for the whole world.

What were the new terms of the new covenant? Jesus distilled all of the laws and prophets down to ONE law! 

John 13: 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Can you imagine how transformational this would be if everyone just focused on this one command that Jesus gave us? 

THIS is how we emulate Jesus. 

THIS is how we are known as Jesus followers.

Is it easy? No, of course not. But it IS simple. If you love God, your love for God is best demonstrated by how well you love others. Will we ever be able to do that well? Maybe not. But is IS something to keep striving towards. 

Finishing out our month of looking at humility, it seemed only appropriate to look to the one who was most humble, and how to follow him. It wasn’t planned this way, but God is good, and had us finish this topic as we’re getting ready to celebrate Easter!

(I want to remind everyone that the karate school will be closed Good Friday, March 30, through Easter Monday, April 2.)

 

 

Can Humility Be Developed?

It might be helpful to look at some of the underlying habits that help to create a humble person. We CAN develop habits! We all know they can be good or bad, and it would be a whole other post to discuss how we can develop GOOD habits. (In fact, there WAS a whole other post – check out our May 2017 post!)

We’re going to be sharing with kids during mat chat what habits will help them to become humble. 

Is HUMILITY good?

First they have to WANT to become humble! We need to clear up some common misconceptions about humility. It’s NOT being weak or passive or allowing people to walk all over us. And it’s NOT being insecure, afraid to speak up when something needs to be said. 

Being humble is quite the opposite. When you know WHO you are, and you KNOW the power you have, you can stand strong no matter what others may think. Humble people choose to use their power for OTHERS instead of boosting themselves, or boasting of themselves.

Habits that develop humility

We encourage all of our students to be good listeners.  It’s a challenge for the 3-6 year old set to just stand still long enough to listen to instructions! But really, for all of us, it can be challenging to put our own thoughts and motives aside to really LISTEN when someone is talking. 

One way to foster good listening is to develop CURIOSITY! We can learn so much just from listening to other people. We are all a lot more alike than we are different; if we just listened to each other we would discover that!

Always learning, being curious, is another habit that leads to humility.  The more you learn, the more you realize you don’t have all the answers.

People who are AWARE of their surroundings, of the people around them, and especially of how those people are feeling, are often humble people. When we are aware of what everyone else is going through, we realize what we’re going through isn’t so bad. Being aware of others helps to grow our empathy, which also leads to humility.

Develop the habit of standing up and speaking truth. Sometimes it seems so much easier to just keep our mouth closed and try not to get involved. But when we see a train wreck about to happen, it’s important to speak up! Humble people are not afraid of what others may think. They are strong and confident so they can use their power wisely.

Sounds like a good thing to be, huh? So these habits of being a good listener,  always learning, being aware of what’s happening around you, and speaking truth, are great habits to start working on!

We’ll go over some other good habits next week!