Beginning with Meditation

We begin each class with some meditation time. Students sit cross legged, eyes closed for anywhere from 1  to 5 minutes. Deep breath in, deep breath out. Breathing in the positive, breathing out the negative.

dom meditating (2)Doing the best we can to clear our minds of all the chatter.

We meditate to help us focus. It encourages us to be present in the current moment. Letting go what happened earlier today. Letting be what may or may not happen later. Numerous studies on meditation comment on its benefits. Even a short daily practice can significantly reduce stress, improve focus, increase awareness, and aid productivity and performance.

It’s often hard for students, young or old, to sit quietly for even a short period. Like anything we want to improve, we practice. There are many different guided audios, videos, classes and articles about  ways to meditate. Start slowly, try not to judge yourself, and persevere. Find what works best for you!

Here are some helpful links: 5 Tips on How to Meditate for Beginners,  How to Start a Beginners Meditation PracticeBest Meditation Podcasts 2015, Meditation for Beginners

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Top 5 Things We Learned from Tournament!

Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance

Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance!

The week following Tournament we reflect on what we’ve learned. The emphasis is always on learning rather than winning. Here’s our top five answers:

5. People are helpful! Staff and high belts were in abundance to answer questions but it’s also wonderful how supportive and encouraging people can be even when competing against them.

4. Holding is key! A properly held board can be the difference between breaking and not. Make sure to check the holds.

3. Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance! A quote from a 6 year old student, “It was just like you said, practicing made it easy!”

2. We learn by watching what others do! Whether in sparring, breaking or forms competition, seeing what others do well helps improve our own techniques.

1. I can do it! Most of us are nervous prior to competition (children and adults) but we persevere. It’s a super reminder that a POSITIVE ATTITUDE is key.

Thanks to everyone who helped and competed! We are super proud of all our students and families!

Helping Your Child Prepare to Compete!

Grand Master reviewing tournament rules.

Grand Master reviewing tournament rules.

Most of our energy the past two weeks has been focused on the upcoming Tournament. We are often asked, “How can I help my child get ready?” Today we were fortunate to have Grand Master speak to us about what the judges look for during the competition. He reminds us that we need to focus on the fundamentals and always PRACTICE! 

Making Practice Fun: Set aside a consistent time free from distractions. Give your child some choices as to the when and where. Try for a performance using grandparents, neighbors and friends. Set small incremental goals. If the timer is a turn off, focus on something else. For example, do the form twice with super strong punches and then once thinking about blocks; try your kick high and low. Remind them of the payoff and call attention to improvement!

Here are a couple of ways you can assist your child get ready for Tournament.

Form Practice: Come to your child’s class and record them doing their form with an instructor or visit our website jkleeblackbelt.com to view their form. Encourage your child to practice their form every day. For tournament, please do not have them count out loud, instead counting in their head to stay focused. Children 6 and under will have a helper do the form with them at competition. When reviewing, talk about what they did right first!

Board Breaking Practice: Have your child practice their favorite kicks on a paddle target. Stress the loud kiap (power scream) before the kick and on the kick as they break the board. All competitors high green and below, will get 2 boards. All competitors brown to high red will get 3 boards. If you have a question about what breaking kicks would be best, please ask one of the instructors.

We are here to help! Come early or stay late for extra assistance.

If you would like more information on our Tournament please visit http:jkleeblackbelt.com

Tournament Ready: Exploring the Five P’s

TournamentWe are working in all of our classes to get ready for the upcoming Fall Tournament of Champions. Our Academy hosts two annual tournaments which take place in the Fall and Spring. We encourage everyone to participate, beginners through Black Belts; children and adults. Tournament is not about winning and losing.  It is about learning how to compete, deal with pressure and use self-discipline to achieve a goal. Participation builds patience, self control, confidence and good sportsmanship.

Our discussions with all students have emphasized the 5 P’s: Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance! In order to do well at anything, we need to practice. We don’t merely go through the motions. We practice how we would want to perform. It’s important to find time every day. Even 10 minutes helps! This adaptation of an old military adage is also a good reminder that our self defense fundamentals should be practiced with that same intensity. It’s difficult to think under stress, but your muscles will remember what they’ve done.

Investigating the 5 P’s  led us to review what it means to be a good student, whether at Tae Kwon Do, grade school, college, music lessons, continuing education, etc. A good student is:

Present – Physically and mentally. Let all those other things wait. Focus on the here and now.

Prepared – Review the previous lesson on your own, with your family or in a study group. Bring all materials or equipment.

Productive – Stay on task. Ask questions. There’s time before and after class to visit and sometimes play!

Polite – Showing courtesy and respect to everyone, including parents, teachers and peers, is part of our core values. Be welcoming and encouraging to others.

Positive – At our Academy “can’t” is considered a bad word. Our school greeting is “Pilsung!” A Korean word meaning “certain victory” or for the children “I can do it!”.

We encourage you to take stock of where you are in relation to the 5 P’s as a competitor, student, parent and professional!

If you want to learn more about our Tournament click here: http://jkleeblackbelt.com/tournament/

Back to Basics!

Last week we encouraged students who had been absent over the summer months to return and recapture forgotten forms and flexibility lost over vacations. All our classes focused on fundamentals! We spent extra time on our stretches, stances and technique.

Working on Flexibility

Working on Flexibility

We found that it was just as beneficial for our students who come regularly! Our foundation makes us strong. Remembering to re-chamber our kicks, use our core muscles for blocks and punches, and think about our breathing give us a better work out.

We encourage you to practice at home! Try adding one or two things from the list to your routine this week.

  1. Begin or end the day with mediation. Even five minutes makes a difference. Set a timer, sit comfortably, and think only about your breathing.
  2. Stretch! Find the time and focus on what you feel needs the most conditioning. Make it a screen time break or after class must do.
  3. Counter Kicks! Place on hand on a counter or back of a stable chair. Start with 10 side kicks and 10 round house kicks. Increase repetitions as it gets easier. Try varying the height!
  4. Small arm circles! Keep increasing your time. Try for two minutes alternating directions.
  5. Start and end your day with sit ups and push ups. We are working towards 100!
  6. Balance! Stand on one foot while brushing your teeth. Extend and hold a kick for 7 seconds.
  7. Move! Go for a walk, run or bike ride.
  8. Shadow Box! Start the timer and work your jab, cross and hook (1, 2, 3 combination).
  9. Do your forms slowly, quickly and facing different directions.
  10. Think about what you are eating and be sure to get enough rest.

Never hesitate to ask for help! As Grand Master says, “The Black Belt is a white belt who never quit.”

A Little More Snap

Sometimes, after a long day at summer programs, children are tired. Occasionally, following a long day at work (inside or outside the home) adults are exhausted. We find ourselves just going through the motions of our kicks, blocks and punches.

Launcher Practice

Practice as if it were a performance!

We remind and reinforce that no matter the exercise or activity, you get out what you put in! Practice how you want to perform it. As martial artists we acknowledge that we are not immediately the best at everything. There is always a way to do better.