Posts Tagged ‘practice’

The next time your kids don’t want to practice…show them this story!

Personally, I would have made her a Black Belt…she already has more courage than most!


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Here’s a great story sent to us from one of our instructors, Kal Betts. This is about a 77 year old woman crossing guard in the UK who just earned her black belt!

Click here for the full story!

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The ancient masters taught that martial arts practice was the key to expanding the mind as well as strengthening the body. Now scientists are starting to understand why.

It seems that consistent practice actually creates significant changes in the brain.

“Recently Claudio Del Percio of Sapienza University in Rome and his colleagues reported the results of a study in which they measured the brain waves of karate champions and ordinary people, at rest with their eyes closed, and compared them. The athletes, it turned out, emitted stronger alpha waves, which indicate a restful state. This finding suggests that an athlete’s brain is like a race car idling in neutral, ready to spring into action.” (Carl Zimmer, “The Genius of the Jock,” Discover Magazine Presents the Brain, Spring 2011)

Of course martial artists identified this phenomenon hundreds of years ago. The Japanese call it “mushin,” the Chinese call it “wu shen.” Both these terms translate roughly to “empty” or quiet “mind.” It’s no coincidence that some of the traditional forms practiced at the Black Belt Mindset Institute are called, from the Okinawan dialect: “Pinan,” a word that means “peaceful mind forms.”

The ancient masters knew that practice quieted the mind. Practice reduces the conscious effort needed to perform a technique and allows room in the processing regions of the brain to handle and process more data quickly.

“Even as practice changes the brain’s anatomy, it also helps different regions of the brain to talk to one another” the Discover article continues. “With practice, the prefrontal cortex grows quiet. Our predictions (about a task) get faster and more accurate, so we don’t need so much careful oversight about how to respond.”

Every moment you spend in practice strengthens your brains ability to process information quickly and more accurately! This is the natural progression of novice to master; from Think Like a Black Belt

“…Practice.  That’s the “secret” if you’re looking for one, and it works as well in business and real life as it does in martial arts.

“A few years ago I was at a martial arts convention. One of the sessions featured Master Yamazaki, a renowned master of Japanese sword craft. In fact, his family was part of an unbroken line of instructors to the Imperial Family of Japan. Master Yamazaki taught most of the session through an interpreter, but he mustered enough English to tell this story, which I’ll remember for the rest of my life. I’ll do my best to share it as accurately as my concussion damaged memory will allow:

A young swordsman asks the Master to teach him how to become a great sword master.

“Simple,” says the Master, “you only need to follow three simple rules.”

“What’s the first rule?” asks the student.

“Rule number one” the Master continues; “Basic practice!”

“OK, rule number two?” The Master answers again, “Basic practice!”

Rule number three?

“MORE basic practice!”

“A huge grin spread across Master Yamazaki’s face and in his thick Japanese accent he boomed out…

“Like-a-Nike! Just do it!”

As it turns out, this story that has been handed down for generations, albeit with Master Yamazaki’s addition of the Nike reference, has a sound scientific foundation. Maybe the most valuable part of martial arts practice is the particular attention we pay to the value and benefit of the process of practice itself.

Zimmer also notes: “…even the most genetically well-endowed prodigy clearly needs practice- lots of it- to develop the brain of an athlete. As soon as someone starts to practice a new sport, his brain begins to change, and the changes continue for years.”

The act of practicing has long lasting effects and any martial artist will tell you those benefits extend well beyond the constraints of the mat! Whatever you want to achieve in life, the secret is practice.

“That’s it! The same secret works if you want to become a doctor, actor, lawyer, or janitor in your local high school.  All professions are admirable, provided you treat your job as a profession. That means taking meaningful action and practicing your trade as an art. Practice is really the ultimate action; it’s the beginning, the middle, and the end. Practice is what transforms any action into artistry. It is the trademark of the Master.” (From Think Like a Black Belt.)

That mastery can be applied in any area of your life including work and school.

The evidence is now clear! Science proves that every time you practice your technique you’re tuning your mind for high-performance! Martial arts training does strengthen the mind as well as the body!

Turn your mind into a high-performance engine! Check out our introductory programs for the whole family!


You can “Think Like a Black Belt at work and on campus too- and you don’t have to kick and punch to do it! Book Jim Bouchard for your next event and learn how to “Think Like a Black Belt!” Follow this link for more information!

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American kids are falling behind the world in academic performance- way behind.


A more important question is: What can we do to better prepare students to compete in tomorrow’s global community?

According to Eva Moskowitz of the Success Charter Network two of the key components that will help reverse this trend is to:

1) Establish higher expectations.

2) Develop strong parent/school partnerships.

The fact is that kids need to be prepared at home to perform well in school. As a culture we’ve got to restore expectations to perform at higher levels and we’ve got to help kids reach those expectations.

Kids who participate in martial arts have a decided advantage over their peers. A well structured martial arts program cultivates and supports the life skills of discipline, self-confidence, problem solving so essential for success in school and beyond. A quality martial arts program demands excellence and teaches kids how to perform to their full potential.

Most of all, martial arts instills the same values you work so hard to teach your children at home- respect, creativity and a good learning attitude.

School age children involved in martial arts:

  • Perform better in school.
  • Demonstrate more respectful behavior in school and at home.
  • Have better focus and longer attention spans.
  • Resist peer pressure.

The greatest gift you can give your child to best assure success in school and life is to enroll your child in a quality martial arts program!

AMAZING HOLIDAY SPECIAL! One FULL YEAR of martial arts training for your son or daughter- or anyone else in your family for just $500!

Our program features limited class sizes to assure personal attention for all students. Reserve your space now- only 5 openings in each class- children and adult. Offer ends on 12/17/2010. Call 721-0299 today!

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By Master Jim Bouchard

You’re getting ready to organize the afternoon shuttle; one kid is going to karate class, one is headed for soccer practice and you’re picking up another friend for a sleep over. You call out to the pool, “Come on guys! We’ve got to get going!”

The enthusiastic response: “It’s too hot! I don’t want to go today!”

Here are some tips for getting the kids willingly to the car for karate and other afternoon missions:

  1. Put a chore between pool time and class time. Let’s face it, you wouldn’t want to leave a nice, cool pool to sweat it out in the dojo or on a new turf soccer field either!Give a simple chore a while before departure time, then you call out, “Do you want to go to karate or keep cleaning the garbage cans?”
  2. Bribery! Yes, I do believe in well placed bribes when it comes to getting kids to class! On a hot day the promise of an ice cream stop after class can work miracles. Make sure the treat is tied to the kids being ready to go on time with no fuss.
  3. Straight-up encouragement and reminder of commitment. I do this constantly during the summer months- I give a tough class and then praise them for their efforts. I tell them that while some of their friends are lazing around the pool eating Popsicles, they were in here making themselves better, healthier and stronger.They may have dragged in hot and tired, but they leave beaming knowing that they’re doing something special and that they genuinely earned that praise!

Finally, and I’m very blunt about this- sometimes it’s just a matter of reminding kids who is actually in charge. I’ve talked with too many parents who say that they just don’t want to do battle about getting to class on a hot day. It may seem expedient to cave in when faced with this challenge, but one missed class leads to two. Today it’s a battle over going to karate or baseball practice, tomorrow it’s about school- in a few years it may be about getting a job and paying rent!

The benefits of discipline, focus and self-motivation will serve your child for the rest of his or her life. It’s important to be consistent about teaching these values- even when it’s hot!

We’re taking some of the heat off this summer!

Now through July 30th- Save 50% off ANY program at Northern Chi Martial Arts Center in Brunswick, Maine! Call 721-0299 to RSVP today- ALL classes are limited in size to assure maximum attention for each student!

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Tonight is the Black Belt Training Camp. Our next crop of candidates begins the long process of preparing for the best day of their martial arts lives!

This article will be helpful if you’re working toward your Black Belt at Northern Chi, or if you’re facing Black Belt tests in personal and professional life as well!

From Think Like a Black Belt: The Blog. Click here for article…

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By Master Jim Bouchard

The “secret” of martial arts is, in one word, “practice.”

Practice and discipline are essential ingredients to enjoy success in martial arts. Works pretty good for the rest of your life too!

“Simple, not easy! In fact, earning a Black Belt is simple; the keys are dedicated practice and perseverance. Keep practicing and you’ll get to Black Belt! It’s not always easy. It’s sometimes painful, frustrating, boring, and tedious. On the way, you’ll doubt yourself and you’ll subject yourself to the sometimes harsh criticism of your teachers.

“Isn’t it the same way in real life? As you learn to think like a Black Belt, you may feel a bit overwhelmed at times. If this happens, return to the basics. When a Black Belt is struggling with a technique, we break it down to the most basic movements, even a simple punch or kick, and work from there. When it’s not easy, come back to simplicity!”  From Think Like a Black Belt

Everyone who starts martial arts training has the potential to become a Black Belt. Train consistently and approach each new day with the wonder and curiosity of the beginner and you’ll continue to grow, develop and progress toward Black Belt and beyond!

Want to learn more about Black Belt Mindset and how to apply it in business, personal and professional life as well as in the dojo? Read Think Like a Black Belt and visit Think Like a Black Belt: The Blog!

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