Tuesday, February 16, 2016

It's Not camaraderie, It's Family

Yesterday we had the part of our Black Belt Testing life cycle were we test their understanding of their lineage, their ability under attack and most importantly, their understanding of the breadth and depth of the specialized community they have joined. This is not about how awesome our testing cycle is, though, it is awesome, but rather, it is about the realization that we have arrived at a destination we have been pursuing since we opened our doors over 20 years ago.

Our black belt testing cycle contains 5 sections, the first through third have been physical, with the first being the most emotionally demanding.  If you ask anyone what the hardest part of their journey to Black Belt was, they will tell you phase 1.  Everyone, literally, has a moment in phase 1 where
they really don't think it is worth it anymore.  We do that deliberately.  We want them to face that moment of doubt, and hopefully overcome it.  The 4th phase was, up until the last few tests, a written test on general knowledge of their art and their lineage, and an Oral test.  This was also the first phase that is "open" to the public, in that they can invite their family to the oral test, and they must invite a community leader that has influenced their life. We did this not so much to brag to the world, but to fight the 70's stereo type what martial arts is.  We have let the community see what our adult and children black belts think a black belt is, mentally and physically, so that they can help spread the news.  It's worked.

Non-the-less, we altered the test this time, by giving them a question in advance and having them
perform a weapons demonstration of their choice, fight off a senior black belt attacking them in a Red Man Suit, the Question and Breaking. I was surprised at the result.  We hope that what we have done to, for and with them would leave the feeling of family, or camaraderie.  We hope that they will carry this from our family into theirs, into their communities and into the world.  We seldom get a glimpse of whether or not we have succeeded. This time we did. Our question for this phase 4 was, "Describe how camaraderie had helped them to and through their black belt test thus far." One of the adult candidates told us that the question was not deep enough.  She went on to say that our teaching team, staff and owners had created an extension to their family.  We had helped her, and her teenage daughter, achieve in a time that was
difficult in her families life. That we had provided a safe place for success to grow. That we had provided, for lack of a better word, Love.  Wow.  But that was only one of 10.  The others echoed the same themed.  We encouraged, challenged, demanded, befriended, awed, grew and lead them to where they were now, strong enough to walk through the door, the tests, on their own power.  The recognized the contribution of all of their class mates and families as well.  One candidate even witnessed to her faith, and being a person of faith, this struck me deeply as well.

I was astounded.  I still am.  This is how you know that you are doing with your life what you were created to do.  Thank you to our instructors, our students and particularly our black belts.  As we help you change your life, you have helped us change ours.  Tang Soo.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Bringing The Light - A Christian Perspective on Business - Part 2 Finding Your Weaknesses

One of the hardest things I had to do in learning how to sell, was watching myself do a selling exercise on video. Looking back on it, it was far far worse than having someone critique my methods and skills, for it was I who was watching me perform, and I am a far more difficult judge of my behavior and actions than anyone I have ever met on the outside.  That is not to say that outside or third party critique is bad.  On the contrary, the outside observer, someone not in your team or family, is likely to see things you had never even looked for.  Part 2 of "Bringing the Light" is one of those places where you are going to judge yourself, then, as if you really wanted to make a giant step forward for the Kingdom of God, you are going to let a third party judge you too.

Before I get into the exercise that I have run myself through more than a few times, I want to draw a better picture of why this method will work.  I have my entire life been an athlete.  I have many varsity letters from both High School and college, though I was never a gifted athlete.  I just worked hard, and I really liked the boast I got from the rest of the team, when I made a difference.  Karate is not different.  I took my first karate class in college in 1975, after 4 years of wrestling, and few attempts at boxing and fencing.  To be honest, I really like the Kung Fu TV series in the early 70's, and not knowing the difference between karate and kung fu, I signed up for karate classes.

From that day I discovered I could endure, through confusion and pain, and eventually get it right, even though others came and went that learned faster and performed better than I could. I began to do tournaments, in order to get a third parties view, on what I needed to be better.  I was not particularly motivated by the trophies back  then.  I just wanted to know what to do to get better.  Later, when I began studying Tang Soo Do, I was forced to watch my Hyungs (forms) on video.  I still have those early videos.  I was horrible.  I began to tape and do tournaments, because now I wanted to WIN. It hurt.  It always hurt, more spiritually than physically, because it seemed like for every step I took forward, there were 100 more things to conquer.  It is like that still.  This part of "Bringing the Light" is like that as well.  One step forward, and 100 more things to fix.  The only difference is, you have already won, because this is about the Kingdom, and you are a soldier for God.

The exercise is straight forward.  First, I was my own judge.  I asked myself a simple question.  "What are the thing you do, and what do the accomplish?" I answered this challenge in 2005 with these observations:

1) Floor (Where we teach): We teach our students to succeed in life using karate and their Black Belt attitude.

2) Advertising - We show the community what we can do for them.

3) Customer Service: Do to them what we wish was done to us.

4) School and Church Talks - Maintain community service involvement.

5) Public Service Seminars - give basic education to the community so that they will either seek more in depth education or gain enough to give some security to their lives right now.

6) Fitness - Keep our bodies well and life longer.

7) Tournaments - give a competitive edge and advantage to our teen class.

To get the most out of this exercise, Write down 5 to 8 answers to this question yourself, giving the what and they why.

1) ____________________________________________________________________________


2) ____________________________________________________________________________


3) ____________________________________________________________________________


4) ____________________________________________________________________________


5) ____________________________________________________________________________


6) ____________________________________________________________________________


7) ____________________________________________________________________________


8) ____________________________________________________________________________


The Next exercise is absolutely useless if you don't do the one above first, so stop here, and write your answers down.

Now, take at least the most important 3 of those, and write down how that benefits the Kingdom of God? Our answers are shown below.

1) Floor - helping other to relate and grow while seeing in us an example of Jesus.

2) Trying to make an obvious example of loving your neighbor by not advertising directly against another business.

3) ?

4) Showing Love to the community.

5) ?

6) The Body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

7) ?

1) ____________________________________________________________________________


2) ____________________________________________________________________________


3) ____________________________________________________________________________


4) ____________________________________________________________________________


5) ____________________________________________________________________________


6) ____________________________________________________________________________


7) ____________________________________________________________________________


8) ____________________________________________________________________________


Finally, ask yourself what the last thing Jesus said to us, before he returned to heaven?

Matthew 28: 18-20 (NIV) "Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Now, look at your last 8 answers.  Do any of them have anything to do with the Great Commission quoted above?  I thought ours did, if I skipped the "making disciples, baptizing in the name of ...." part.  We do teach SOME of the things we were commanded to teach, but by no means all.

This caused us to sit down with our own pastor and many other pastors and read till I though I could have gone through seminary.  In the end, we decided we are NOT a church, so we don't baptize anyone here.  We do, however, Love the Lord our God, and Love our Neighbors as ourselves.  We are attempting to do this now in every aspect of our school, in the hope that they will ask how we have the patience or energy, or why we ...... anything, so we can tell them.  If they do not ask, we are not shy about telling people our faith.  We don't ask them to share in it, only to know that we have it. In fact, I want to make sure that when I die, and someone asks, what was his life about, the first thing out of their mouths is God or Jesus, followed by a list of things I did to show love to people.

In this way, we teach by example, and more an more, by communion with our students and friends. We become the light that is within us.  We shine out on everyone.

That is our goal at any rate.

So now, ask yourself if your business satisfy your desire, or Jesus' commands.


Also in the series:

Bringing the Light Part 1 - A Christian Perspective on Own a (Martial Arts) Business

Monday, February 1, 2016

Bringing the Light Part 1 - A Christian Perspective on Own a (Martial Arts) Business

When I was a physics undergraduate in the 70's, the watershed event was not learning how atomic and nuclear bombs were made or even that light was both particle and wave. The scary thing to learn was that only a few people, perhaps 10%, had sufficient imagination to run a physics experiment of the impossible within their own heads, rather than in the lab. This rocked my world, because I had always had that gift, and just assumed everyone did. (Albert Einstein's famous Gedanken Experiment. Britannica defines a "Gedanken Experiment" as term used by German-born physicist Albert Einstein to describe his unique approach of using conceptual rather than actual experiments in creating the theory of relativity.) I have learned, however, given discipline and time, anyone can run such an experiment in their own discipline.

So, to start this article off, I have a Gedanken Experiment for you in business, specifically the Martial Arts Business.  If you are a Christian, you already have the requisite information to see what I have seen. If you are not, replace my moral code, that of the Jesus, with your own.  It works still.

Imagine, if you would, Jesus getting out of a car in your parking lot.  At first, you don't recognize him, because he is in a suit, and his hair is short, and he just looks like he's just another guy.  But when you open the door, you notice something about him.  It's hard to pin down, but there is peace, and authority around him, like a force field. This puts you a little ill at ease, because your a martial artist after all, and it is generally your authority that rules the roost, but there it is, making you feel strange, perhaps a little wrong.  Yet, you overcome your moment of doubt, stand up, approach him as you would any other visitor, with your shoulder's back, your head held high, and your black belt attitude of confidence and success on full, just as it always is.  Your extend your hand, but before you get your verbal greeting out, you're frozen in place as his hand meets your hand. You have completely forgotten about how awesome your days is, and how much you can help him.  You just stop moving, and for a few second, breathing too.

Jesus' power flows from him to you, and you fall to your knees, trapped somewhere between awe and shock. You know who he is now, and a tear starts to run down your face.  Doubt, fear, love all rush in, and you bow your head.  At that exact moment, he reaches out with his other hand, places it on your shoulder, and says, "Fear not, my good and faithful servant.  Rise and greet me." And so you do. You grip him in a hug, and your fears are all washed away.  Jesus is here, to see you!

As you break away, he looks you in they eyes, and says, "Show me around this section of my Church." You heard him right.  His Church.

You see, your business is not a business, but it's your mission, a part of the church of Jesus, just like any other in importance, but it's the gift he has given to YOU to run for him.

So, you are ready.  You have spent 100's of hours sharpening your business skills. You know your are one of the best, perhaps the best; or, at the very least, very competitive with those other martial arts schools which are just not quit as well run as yours.  You understand investment, and you have fairly well memorized the story of the talents, and you will be, again, that good and faithful servant. You got this one.

Where would you start?  The Front Desk, where you are standing? The intro room, one of the floors, the book keeping software?  Think for a moment, where would your start Jesus's tour of your business, showing how your were using this gift he gave you?

Just then, Jesus says, "When I returned to the Father, I told my servants that they were to go forth and preach the gospel, and that they should be known by others as mine, because of how they treat others. Show me how you do that."

Now where would you start?  Do you show, preach or live the Gospel at your school? 

Do you think that the story of the talent's teaches capitalism?  Do you flip "groupons" into regular programs for more profit?  Do you bait and switch so that they buy the bigger experience? Do you ring in cash purchases or just stick them in the drawer?

Where would your start your tour for Jesus now? 

As you are thinking about this, Jesus actually rescues you, just as if he knows what you were thinking.  He knows you have a talent for business, so he lets you off the hook, and says, "Show me how you spend your profits for the betterment of the kingdom."

Yep, your business is part of you, and part of the kingdom. Are your ready to tell him how it profits you or are you ready to show him how it profits the kingdom?

Then he says, How big of a Christmas Bonus did you pay to the UPS driver I just saw leave your parking Lot?  

Are you bills paid on time, and if not, how do you deal with that? Do your suppliers recognize you as a successful business or as a Christian who is successful?

So, to finish this article up, the real question you need to submit to a Gedanken Experiment is: Jesus says to you, "How have you used this gift from the Father to benefit the Kingdom of God" and your answer must start with:

Lord, This is what we do to show the world we are Christians:_______________________________





Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Thank You For Your Service.

Last night, during our weekly leadership class, we were running the third week of drills where we gave the students a mental/moral lesson and a physical lesson they had to teach, and we gave them 3 minutes to do it.  We had been teaching them all month how to teach the lessons along with the karate, without having to resort to 10 minutes mat chats.  For example, we would say, teach the class "Speed" and 'Front Kick," and then they would have three minutes to teach.

After their 3 minutes, we would gather the group, and asked them what the "2 things" they think they were being taught, so that the class would gain insight on both how to teach the lessons and get feed back on how well it worked.

When it was my turn to give the goals, I gave one of the team members 'Be Loyal to Ones Country," and "Front Kick."

The reason I picked 'Be loyal to ones country," is multi layered.  First, it is one of the Codes of Tang Soo Do," though that might not have been enough to bring it to my mind.  The second reason was that the next day was Veteran's Day, and I do like to bring the lessons into the real world wherever possible.  However, the real reason was that I was still somewhat in shock as a result of a brief exchange from an 8th grader earlier in the day.  During afterschool pick up, one of the kids said to me, "do you know we don't have school tomorrow?"  Frankly, I had forgotten, so this sounded like a good conversation right at the get go.  I then asked her if she knew why.  She told me that it was Veteran's Day, so I asked her if she knew what that was.  "Nope," she said, "the teachers don't want us to talk about it. They just do a moment of silence, and then tell us we have no school or homework."

Couldn't let it go.  I then asked her if she knew what it was. "We honor dead soldiers."

Errrr.  NO.  That would be memorial day.  Veteran's Day is for those who are alive, and served. People like my Dad, like 2 of my instructors, and like one of the leadership team's lead instructors.

That brings me back to Class.  After the team member taught, I asked her what loyalty meant.  She and others said it was something like being nice.

So, I taught a short version.  I said that there were many ways to look at it, but the best way was to think of loyalty as sacrificing your own free will to the common good.  Like a soldier, sailor or marine. They agree to follow military law, discipline and put themselves in harms way for our benefit, as well as their own to be sure, but they sacrifice their free will and their lives at times, for the concept of their country.  This lesson is made all the more direct, when you know that ours is a country that is founded on argument and freedom.  I then when on to explain boot camp as a start to this sacrifice.

We went on with class, and at the end, the navy Vet who is also a lead teacher, took them for a 5 minute introduction to boot camp, leading them down the path of confusion and immediate obedience.  At the end, they had a good picture of what sacrifice might actually be.

Why was this important?  It reminded me, an army brat of 2 officers serving in 3 wars, that Veteran's day is not just a day off from school.  It is a very critical day, where we thank those who have never doubted that "loyalty to ones country," was an action, not a concept.

If you served, Thank you for your service.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Glow Games Lock In (Sleepover) at the Karate School

5 x 7 Glossy Invitations - Available Below
We run 2 Lock-Ins (sleepovers) a year, one near the beginning of the summer and one for New Years.  This is the lesson plan for the Summer Lock-In.

We print up 250 invitations on 5 x7 glossy card stock, professionally printed, for $75, or 30 cents each.  At staples, with that color copier made at home look, the same job costs $270, so we suggest you design and have printed your own, or order them below, with your information, and get them in 10 -14 business days, after you approve the art.

Anyway, ours runs from 7:30pm to 8:00am, and we squeeze it in between Friday night classes and Saturday morning classes, because we all teach in Sunday School

Our age range is age 5 to 17, and the attendance is generally equally split between children and teens.  We design it so that the teens generally stay up all night being social, playing video games, and helping us supervise the children after the get to sleep (Leadership training.) 

The Schedule:

Gaga Dodge Ball
7:30 - 9:00pm - Dodge Ball. Actually, we also have a Gaga Pit that we built for around $100, and we use at camp and for the annual Relay for Life, but dodge ball is dodge ball. 

We run a few standard games, then run teams against all other teams, and then something we call vampire ball, because if whomever gets you out, equal to vampire biting you, is eliminated, then every play that he/she eliminated is back in the game, until the last person is eliminated. We also take care to run more than a few with the teens teamed with the little guys, so they feel included, and we start with leadership right up front with the teens.

9:00pm to 9:30 pm - Pizza and juice, as well as socialization time.  We also open the karate floor.  Some people trick, some people sit and talk, most play dodge ball.

9:30pm to 11:30pm - Glow Games.

Tube of 100 8inch Glow Sticks
0) You will need 8" glow sticks that can be made into bracelets or necklaces. We use ones we buy at Amazon, which you can buy if you click 8" LumiStick Brand Glowsticks Glow Stick Bracelets Mixed Colors (Tube of 100) or the picture on the right. You will also need some 6" glow sticks for some of the games below, and they too can be purchased from Amazon (25 at a time) by clicking 25 Lumistick 6" Premium 15mm Industrial Grade Glowsticks - Assorted Colors  
1. Glow stick Capture the Flag: Here is an easy and fun indoor or outdoor game perfect for spring and summer. 
6" Glow Sticks - Amazon - click to order
This is capture the flag with some simple and basic changes. First, put bracelets or necklaces of the same color on each player on two teams. Second, the Flag is one of the 6" glow sticks, which must be "hidden" in such a way that it can be seen from some angle without moving anything.  We also allow the losing team to Draft any player on the winning team, to keep depression from taking over with the younger players. (This serves as a leadership drill for the teens also.) We play ours indoors if we have children and teens, for safety reasons, and out doors with teens only.  However, you need to do what is safest for your group.
2. Red Light Green Light - Red Light green light, but instead of saying red light, or green light, you Show a Red Glow Stick or a Green Glow Stick. We have played this game with children and adults with no flash back to it being "too simple."   Just make sure you illustrate how to play the game at the beginning, and whenever you need to re-energize the game.  Eliminate the other players whenever it is possible.
3. Glow Stick Ring Toss - You make the "poles" for balloon toss by taking a water bottle, dropping a 6" glow stick into it, and sealing it up.  You make the ring by taking 1, 2 or 3 (similar too Frisbee throw below) bracelet glow sticks and connecting them.  We suggest you use packing tape to seal the joints. We took 3 games for out of doors, this one, Frisbee Throw and Glow Bowling, and made three stations, and divided the group into 3 smaller groups, giving them 5 to 10 minutes at each station.  For this game, we suggested they have a minimum distance, and gave each player 6 turns, then either make it closer or further away for the entire team for their next turn.  (We left the actual play up to the Teens in each group, as a leadership experience drill.) 
4 Glow Stick Balloon Head Butt - Fill balloons (white or colored) with glow sticks for an awesome party decoration, or just as a fun past time for the kids. After your balloons are half filled with air, carefully insert a glow stick or two, and then finish blowing them up and tying them off. Next, put the balloon on the ground, turn the lights off, and have them pick the balloon up with their heads (thus the name head butt) and carry it to the other side of the room.  If you want a more complete set of rules, Click Here for Unit 7, and Sunday School lesson plan that uses this game, including a video and complete rules.)
5. Glow Stick Hula Hoop - Use the connectors on the necklace glow sticks to make one large hoop, and then connect it to your hula hoop with packing tape. Make 1 hula hoop – see who can make it go the longest.  
Frisbees, bucket and Glow Stick Lights
6. Glow Stick Frisbee Toss - Simply connect the glow sticks into circles. We made 7 Frisbees, took a blue bucket, tossed 5 or six glow sticks in the bucket for light, and put the bucket on its side, on a chair, then had the toss the Frisbee's into the bucket.  Hard. Very challenging. You could play glow basketball by putting the bucket with the opening facing up, rather than on its side.
7. GLOWSTICK HIDE & SEEK— VERSION 1 - It’s simple. One person hides all of the glowsticks in the room and the rest of the "family" finds them. 
8. GLOWSTICK HIDE & SEEK— VERSION 2 - Make glowstick necklaces to wear and play traditional hide and seek (in the dark). 
11:30 to Midnight - S'mores.  First off, we planned this part to last 30 minutes.  It lasted an hour.  
     a) We bought Campfire Roasting Forks with Coated Handles 33-inch, 4-pc Set to roast marshmallows.  We also purchased marshmallows, Hershey Bars and Graham Crackers from the local store.  We had the teens roast the marshmallows, and adults make the S'mores. We have learned over time to limit it to 1 each.
     b) We had them in a semi-circle around the fireplace shown here, trying to keep them out of the smoke. We then had them volenteer to tell jokes, starting with the teens, who we reminded to tell jokes good for kids.  We then just went around the circle.  We thought that they would run out of jokes by midnight.  We were wrong.  We had to stop them at an hour.

Midnight to 7:00am  - Sleep for children. We allow them 1 hour to burn out.  We used to, 20 years ago, bully them into sleeping, but we discovered in a moment of weakness, they ran out of energy by 1 pm, if we just asked them to keep it down, so those who wanted to sleep, could sleep.  The teens, nearly 100% of them, stayed up eating the remainder Pizza, drinking the remainder punch, and playing video games.  One of us stayed with them in a separate room.  The teens were also charged with checking on the younger children every 15 min to 30 minutes, which they took very seriously.

7:00am to 8:00am - We wake them up with the sound system cranked to speaker ripping loudness.  We then require them to pack their sleeping bags, tents if they brought them, and collect their stuff to one area of the school.  Since the teens were already up, they had already done this, so they helped the little ones. Once they were done, we had already prepared microwaved pancakes, sausage and juice, which they ate.  We put a cartoon movie one, and the little ones mostly watched it, while the older kids and teens played dodge ball. Parent's picked them up from 7:45 to 8:15am. We don't make a big deal about the time. Keep it low pressure and happy.

8:00am to 8:45am - Clean up by us.

A final note, about cost.  We don't charge much.  $35 per child, $90 per family.  You can charge whatever you feel is good for your school. We opted for more to come, and more to help, so we kept the price low.  Whatever is good for you, is good.

To order the Invitation Cards shown above, please use this paypal order form here.  Make sure to give us the required information in the notes as you order.  Also make sure to include your phone number - allow 10 to 14 business days after proof approval for delivery.

Name of Sleepover or LockIn
Date and Time for Card

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Star Wars Double Light Saber & Create a Movie PNO

This Parent's Night Out is a theme revisited for us, combined with our Summer Weekly Themes, one of which is "Class Movie Week."   I have included the video below, so you can see the "Double Light Saber" is easy to make in bulk.  In this case, we used 2 feet of PVC Pipe, as well as normal sized pool noodles.

We actually have discovered that for speed, quality control, shipping costs and the ability to return if its wrong, using Amazon.com is our best bet.

We buy them in bulk packs since we use them so much for PNO an in class.

You will need Robelle Pool Water Noodles Blue and Pink 12-Pack for normal use,

You will need Robelle Big Boss Pool Noodles Teal and Blue 6-Pack for the light sabers.  In addition, the bigger size makes them safer to use.

Finally, you will need Duct tape in a variety of colors.Bazic Fluorescent Colored Duct Tape, Assorted Colors, Pack of 6, 1.88-inch x 10 Yard for accents, and Scotch Duct Tape, White, 1.88-Inch by 60-Yard for the base of each sword.  You can also get the colors at Staples or Home Depot.

Second, the Movie is one we made by taking class videos from Monday through Thursday, having the teens and children create a 60 second segment of class where they either created a skit or just performed some section of curriculum.  It took about 2 hours to make the movie, and there is ZERO advertising intent, beyond social.  We wanted to make sure the kids say themselves, not our business.

This particular PNO also did not follow out standard plan, in that the first 45 minutes were games designed to teach the desirability of playing to win at the same time being "Kind."  Oddly, we created the drills for www.easysundayschool.info, but a good drill is a good drill, so we used them in class the Friday of the PNO, as kinda of an advertisement, as well as teaching the lesson, and then again, full blown, at the PNO. For more information on materials and rules, see Unit 7 of ESS by clicking Here.

This is the Order of Events we followed:

1) Name of Game: Balloon Head Butt Version 1 - Definition of Excellence: Excellence is a talent or quality which is unusually good and so surpasses ordinary standards. For all practical purposes, excellence is achieved by doing your best, every moment.

This game shows the difficulty of following simple instructions when you are driven to win or reward.  At the same time, it demonstrates that you can have fun while pursuing excellence and not winning. If you want more information, rules of supplied, click Here for another blog out ours that uses this game.

2) The name of the game is Drag Them Down With You - The video shows an adult leading the game, and we have found that the first time you play the game, this is a good idea; however, we have also found that you get better, more energetic participation if you let them lead it after and adult has led the game. We have had this game run as long as 45 minutes without losing steam, but we suggest you run it through to a winner maybe 3 or 4 times.

This game is very similar to Simon Says, but it is designed to teach how easy it is to make others follow you, abandoning the rules, just to feel like a winner. (Peer pressure OR Bad Leadership.)

3) The Name of the Game is - The Shell Game with a Twist: The video shows an adult leading the game, and in this case it should remain so. Warning, since this is using the Shell Game, if it is presented by a child, it might be construed as having children playing a confidence game, while in fact, we are using the same game to teach them the dangers of people playing such a game one them.

This too is a peer pressure game, but this time we use the Crowd to try to mislead the main player.  If you want more information, rules of supplied, click Here for another blog out ours that uses this game.

4) Dodge Ball.  We play a large variety of dodge ball, and if you want some ideas, leave a comment, and I will give you some video and ideas.  However, the most successful is called "Create a Game." In this game, they have to use the supplies we give them, say a 30 foot rope, 3 balls and 4 hula hoops, come up with the rules, and then play the game.  The "leader" then asks them if they liked the game, and if there is anything they can do to make it better.  They then make the game better, or harder, or easier, based on the feedback.  We supply supervision, but we try to let them experience the growth.

5) Pizza

6) Star Wars - Basically Capture the Flag using swords and double foam light sabers to "tag" people.  

After we play a few games, we either alter the game ourselves, if we need to, or we let them suggest and implement changes to the game.

7) We then put the movie on, 20 minutes before the parents are required to be there for pick up. Have them clean the floor as we play the movie, and then, we play a game of Dodge ball WITH THE BROTHERS, SISTERS, FRIENDS AND PARENTS WHO CAME TO PICK THEM UP.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Fruit Ninja Buddy Day / Super Saturday


We have a buddy day on the Saturday after every stripe test, during stripe test week.  We do not force the issue of bringing buddies, but rather make sure they know that this is a Super Saturday reward class for successfully completing stripe test. We allow them to bring family members and quests.  We also provide invitations, nearly always in the same format, so that they can recognize the invitations for what they are, also reducing the pressure to come or to ask friends.  As a result, we get a steady stream of friends to try one or more buddy days, and have as AWESOME TIME with our students.


Stand: We have used a stand made of PVC pipe to hold melons and pumpkins (To View Pumpkin Fruit Ninja click HERE.) for a few decades.

Fruit: Recently we we thought we might do a strike that required more accuracy and control to succeed at, so we moved to Potatoes, Tomatoes, cabbage, apples and onions.

Wooden Bokken: Practice Kendo Katana Hardwood Bokken (from Amazon)
Wooden Shoto: BladesUSA C1803-N Natural Hardwood Shoto 22-Inch (From Amazon)
Not Sharp Katana: 40" Full Tang Katana Sword Stainless Steel Blade (From Amazon)
I suggest you do not use sharp weapons with children.  I also suggest you use weapons that are throw away to you, because they will be dropped, scraped, nicked dinged and damaged. You can get any sword, have the blade dulled  to prevent injury.)

Order of Class:  We have generally decided what strike we want to teach to each class level, making it the same if possible, from tiny children through adults, but if an class is in the middle of curriculum that involves the katana or bokken, we use a strike from that form or series.

0) We show a katana. In our case we use a XMA or HYPER sword, a real sword and a bokken; however, you can use whatever your have.  We also pass on any lore we know relating to Samurai and the Katana.

1) Teach the strike in the air. (Bokken)

2) Teach the strike on Pads (heavy bags if possible to prevent injury)
Click Picture to buy from Amazon

3) Line them up in line facing instructors or helpers, about 10 feet away if possible, and slowly throw tennis balls at them, to give them practice hitting "fruit" sized objects. (If you are using the Stand and Mellon version, you skip this step.

We use a package of 12 balls, Tourna Mesh Pack of 12 Tennis Balls be purchase from Amazon for a little less than $1 a ball. (Actually we also allow the kids to name the balls.  They normally last 12 months after this buddy day, just in time for the next one, so we use the balls in class for targets, and they love remembering the names.  Sometimes they actually ask for them by name.)

Finally, take pictures and videos, and post them on the FACEBOOK fan page.  Parents, students and staff all like to see their good work.

Video's of Fruit Ninja Buddy Days from Days Past: