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Respect on the mat – at your martial arts school

bowing300Showing respect in our martial arts class is much like showing respect in our classroom at school.  It begins with showing respect for your instructor.  In line with the eastern manner, we remove our shoes and bow before coming on the mat to practice, and inside our head we say “respect” as a way to remind ourselves of where we are and what we are doing.

Respect on the mat is shown by taking care of the equipment we are using, putting it away properly.  It is also shown by sharing it with our classmates.  In fact being kind to our classmates, addressing them with respect, listening to their comments and using the manners and etiquette of the dojo in all that we do.  When someone new comes to the class, introducing ourselves to them and welcoming them warmly shows respect both for the new classmate and to the school.  Encouraging and ‘cheering’ them for progress shows respect for their efforts.

Listening to the instructor, following directions, using manners, saying Yes sir or Yes ma’am,  not talking when others are talking, not raising our hand when others are talking, practicing at home,  placing our shoes neatly in the cubbies or under the benches so others do not trip are all ways of showing respect.

If we are waiting for our class to begin, sitting quietly on the mat, tying our belt, helping the instructor if asked to,  are ways of showing respect for the class ahead of us and to the instructor.

Finally one more way we can show respect for the martial arts school is to talk about Balanced Life Skills and what you like the most about it to your friends, inviting them to be a part of our efforts to be the best we can be, to be aware, compassionate and respectful.  How have you benefited from what you have learned?  Help your school to be healthy with a full population of students, is a positive way of showing respect for the efforts of the instructors.

If you really enjoy your classes, you may be able to help too by assisting the instructor in class.  Helping to teach a class is rewarding and even if you believe you are not qualified or ready to help – you may be more ready than you think.  How so?  The most important part of teaching is our attitude of respect for others.  Do you have that attitude?  We would love to have your assistance.


How to be a respectful community member

Toyota-Way-SmallWhat steps have you taken to show respect for your community and even the environment?  Each of us after many years have learned that showing respect for the environment begins with the 3 R’s Re-use, Reduce waste and Recycle.  Our environment is just that – our environment.  It is not just the responsibility of others to care for the health of the earth.  It is our responsibility to do our small part to contribute to the bigger picture.  This is not just a one time on Earth Day project that we take on.  It is an everyday responsibility.  

Simple things like not throwing trash on the ground to staying on walkway paths all show respect for the efforts of others and ourselves.  Are we wasteful with our food or belongings or do we show respect for the earth by finding ways to reuse items or at best to reduce our consumption.  For most of us living in the American society, our consumption outweighs most of the world many times over.  Could we reduce?

Showing respect for our community also is shown by being a part of the community, helping to resolve problems and make our community a better place.  One way would be by taking part in the conversation – not just sitting back seeing what happens and complaining about how bad things are.  Speaking up, taking part in the election process and doing so in a respectful manner – listening to others, understanding where they are coming from and finding ways to compromise and work together to make our world a better place.  There may be times that we have to make changes in our self, recognize where we are mistaken and acknowledge our mistakes.  Taking these steps make us a valuable part of our community and when we are valued by others – respectful behavior is soon to follow.  Showing respect to each other is a great beginning step in creating a culture of peace in our family, schools, community and the world. 


Overcoming stress with the right question

sunWhen an event takes place in your life you no doubt will describe it in either positive or negative terms.  Doing so will set the tone for how we feel about the situation and dwelling on the event with the idea of it being the greatest or the worst thing that can happen to us can create a great deal of stress on our minds and bodies.

If you describe an event with words like, “terrible”, “horrible”, or “nightmare”, we generate negative feelings in our body which may actually disable you emotionally.  It is much better to focus on what might be done to minimize the effect of the event or as we have suggested previously ask yourself, “What is great about this?”  Does this sound like a crazy question when a “disastrous event” just took place?

Think about it for a minute.  At first you will say “there is nothing great” – but on thinking about it further you may find something good that could come.  Now you are problem solving.  How much better to do this than to complain and get worked up, maybe to the point of being short or aggressive with others who really do not deserve the aggression?  Most of us can look back on an experience that at the moment looked like the worst thing ever, that 5 years from then we look back on say it turned out well.

I personally like the question, “What is great about this?”, but in addition to that question just using different words will also help to keep the stress levels lower.  If you see a problem or event as an inconvenience or a challenge – that is very different than seeing it as the end of the world.  Maybe there is an opportunity for growth, or it is a setback – but not a permanent one that cannot be recovered from.
Remember that the feeling of anger occurs when we do not reach a goal or someone does not act or react the way we think that they should have or we wanted them to.  The behavior of anger though can be better managed when we ask ourselves the right questions or use words that put us in problem solving mode vs. negative aggressive roles.


Showing respect in school

greetingThe one thing that brings the greatest amount of angst or embarrassment to a parent is when their child shows a lack of respect in a public place – where others are able to observe the behavior.  Disrespect can be shown in many different ways in different forums – really by anyone.  Lets talk about showing respect in our community starting with school.

How do we show respect when we are in school?  It may begin with how we treat the teachers, classmates and even the support personnel in the school.  Of course we expect that our children demonstrate respectful behavior towards the teacher.  What does that look like?  Following the directions given, doing work quietly without disruption to the class.  It may also include see what additional help we might be able to give the teacher – running errands, cleaning up after ourselves and others, speaking to them as if we value their efforts.  As a side note if teachers would like to have respect shown towards them, then they also must show this same respect to the class, by being well prepared, addressing them without sarcasm, providing their expectations in a clear and reasonable manner.

What about our classmates?  How do we show respect for them?  When they are answering a question are we listening closely or are we wildly shaking our hand in the air because we want to talk.  Respectful behavior would be to put our hand down and listen in a manner that shows that we value what they have to say (even if it is not the “correct” answer).

When taking a quiz or test, being sure that we answer our own questions and not be looking to others to help us on a test (cheating).  Being fair to others is a way of showing respect.  This is true even on the playground or in the cafeteria.  Respect can be shown by being kind to each other, even if they are not a part of our closest acquaintances.

Continuing this thought about school – are we careful with the equipment in the classroom?  Treating books, the media room equipment, the chairs and desks with the utmost care, knowing that others need to have use of this equipment is a way of showing respect for the property that does not belong to us, but that we have been invited to use while we are in the classroom.

This sort of culture in the classroom and school really begins by working on this at home and reemphasizing it as our children go to school.  Even teachers who show respect to their students will find that the students will return the respect.  Working on this culture will  have its rewards in the community – not just at schools but also at restaurants, grocery stores, museums, and other public venues.


A treatment for PTSD – with great success!

I have been amazed by the results of the work being done by this group.  Having seen the damage that is done by PTSD in returning war veterans and abuse survivors – and to children dealing with ADHD and other neurological issues, I am very hopeful that this treatment continues to have the success it has begun with. If after watching this talk you would like to speak with Tracy Hoover, please contact me.