Canada Day Specials!

The 151 Package

Canada turns 151 years old this weekend, and to celebrate we are offering a special trial membership to new members.

For $151 you get a full 2-month membership PLUS we will inlcude a uniform for our kids MMA program or our adult Jiu-Jitsu program, or a pair of boxing gloves for our Fighter Fit Kickboxing program.

That’s well over a $300 value, for only $151!

Click Here for more information

The 1867 Package

Canada was formed in 1867, so for Canada Day we are offering a special 1867 package. We’ve never done this one before, and it’s quite the deal..

For $1867 you get a full 12-month family membership.

Kids, adults, the whole immediate family. For our kids programs, Adult Jiu-Jitsu and adult Kickboxing classes, the whole family can get involved for a full year, for only $1867.

Come prepared to sweat, learn and take on a activity as a family!

Click Here for more information

Birthday Parties

Our Birthday parties have exploded in the past year, we take care of everything for you and the kids always have a great time. We launched this special earlier this month with a limit of 20, as of this post there are only 3 left!

Simply use the promo code “canada151” to take $120 off your booking!

Click here for info on our parties

Bullying pt 5 – An Under-Reported Problem

Bullying is something that happens in schools far more then it is reported.

The thing to remember is bullying is a “power” behaviour. It is the bully making the victim feel powerless in order to raise themselves up.

As such victims often don’t like talking about it, they may feel ashamed or embarrassed. Bullies often target things perceived as flaws in the victim, and talking about it would be talking about their own perceived flaws and weaknesses.

They may also be concerned that talking about it will make it worse, that they will be then bullied for being a tattle-tale or a snitch. That they will be perceived as being weak for seeking out help.

They may also fear losing privileges if they do report it. For example that telling adults about online bullying may cause them to lose access to online activities.

The important thing is to keep in mind that bullying might happen and go completely unreported. Bullying is a problem, but it is not one that can’t be dealt with, however kids often need help in doing so and it is up to the adults to watch for signs and keep open and non-judgemental lines of communication.

And remember, bullying is a power and control behaviour. Solving it involves giving power back to the kid, or rather reminding them that they still have it and helping them use it. The best solutions are when they have options and make the decisions on their own. This doesn’t mean don’t help, but it does mean that they should be involved in the solution and not have more power and control taken from them in an attempt to solve it.

Bullying pt 4 – The “CALM” Rule

How a child deals with bully like behaviour will help effect how much bullying they are likely to be a target of.  Responding to bully like behaviour in a “CALM” way can help shut down bullying early and prevent them from becoming a target.

CALM in this case stands for “be Calm, be Assertive, Look them in the eyes and Mean it” and can provide a basis for teaching children how to interact with a bully.

Be Calm – Bullies feed off reactions.  If they are able to get you worked up or get a reaction out of you they are successful.  Picking on someone that doesn’t get a reaction is noun to them and they are more likely to move on.  When you get nervous you tend to talk faster, so practice speaking slow and be mindful of how you talk.

Be Assertive – Bullying is a power game, it’s an attempt to knock someone else down in order to feel in control and powerful.  Being assertive shows them that you are still in control.

Look them in the eye – similar to being assertive, bullying is about balance of power.  Looking someone in the eye is one of our primal power plays.  Practice looking someone in eyes, staring contests are a common children game, but they also teach how to appear confident.

Mean it – Don’t say things you don’t mean, and mean what you say.  If you say “back off or I will do X”, it needs to be something that you can follow through on.  If it isn’t, and they call you on it you lose credibility.

 

“Kids Need Something Like This Nowadays”

“Kids Need Something Like This Nowadays”

I’ve heard this line many times, and while I agree I suspect the reasons are a little different.

Most of the time when I hear it the person means that the world has gotten more dangerous, and kids need to know how to protect themselves and have the confidence to do so.

I’d agree to the second part, but the first is just not true. Statistics show police reported crime is the lowest it’s been since the 1960’s and has been on a downward trend for the last 25 years.

The perception of crime has definitely increased though thanks to 24/7 news coverage and social media. 10 years ago if someones garage got broken into 8 blocks away you’d never hear about it, now every time someones unlocked car gets their change removed it’s posted on Facebook neighbourhood watch groups.

But the truth is we are safer then we have ever been.

Unfortunately the result of the perception of danger has led to kids losing a lot of freedoms they once had. Walking to school without a parent in elementary school was once normal… now parent’s discussion groups have people asking if 10 or 11 is too young to do so without worrying about someone calling CFS.

Meanwhile anxiety rates and obesity rates in kids are on the rise.  Which should come as no surprise as kids sense of independence is being pushed to older and older ages.

So when you take a activity, such as MMA / Wrestling / Jiu-Jitsu / Kickboxing / etc. that teaches kids to be strong, to remain calm under pressure and that they can do things they didn’t think they could… yes, I think they need something like this.

Bullying pt 3 – Kids need more then one circle

One of the simplest defences to bullying is making sure kids have more then one circle of peers.

They have one at school, which is their primary one.  It’s one they spend 10 months of the year with,  5-days a week, 6.5 hours a day.  If this circle turns toxic for them at all it can be easy for them to think it is them that is the problem, at least if it is the only circle of peers they are a part of.

Kids that participate in year round activities 2-3 times a week have a built in buffer.  If school turns they have a place where they can fit in and be a part of a peer group that hasn’t turned against them.  This can help keep them from thinking they are the problem, and help them bounce back from things in other environments.

Confidence is really the key to beating bullying, both in the victim and the bully.  Unfortunately confidence is sometimes slow to build and easy to destroy.  Having more then one circle provides a safety net to bullying behaviour destroying confidence.  Once that confidence starts to crack it is far easier to end up a target of bullying, or even becoming the bully in an attempt to rebuild it through knocking others down.

Bullying pt 2- On Fighting Back

Fighting back is a often debated aspect of dealing with a bully.

The case against it is that it can lead to escalation, making the situation worse for the bully.  The bully is often larger, sometimes multiple bullies, and with the possibility of a weapon being carried at older ages can prevent a real threat.

Telling a scared child to simply hit the bully in the face could very easily make the situation worse.

That said the right to self-defence is something that should never be taken away from a child, and in some cases may be the only remaining choice at a given time.

Children should be taught to use other options whenever possible, and not to escalate the situation whenever possible.

So step 1 should be tell the adults in charge.  Same as in the adult world, we attempt to bring in law enforcement or security when there is a problem.  Taking matters into their own hands when not necessary can escalate a situation.

The next thing they need to try and do, which can be hard for anyone, is to ignore the problem and not respond.  Bullies feed off of the reactions, if they get upset or worked up the bully was successful and will continue.  If they leave the bully hanging with deflection or ignoring them the bully will end up looking silly and hopefully move on.

But when a situation becomes an assault and the adults in charge are unable to, or unavailable at the time the right to self-defence of any person should never be taken away.

But without giving them the tools to do so is unfair to the victim.  Martial arts training can definitely be one avenue to provide those tools, as well as provide the confidence to avoid the situation in the first place.

The other problem with a “fight back” strategy is not all bullying is physical, so much of it is done through words, both in person and nowadays through the internet.  “Defend yourself” doesn’t work quite as well when the bully is behind a screen or across the play ground.

Physical self-defence skills are a part of the answer, but not the whole answer.  The confidence from having them can do a lot to prevent being a victim in the first place, and be prepared to act in defence when the bullying is in the form of assault, but kids need more tools then just boxing and wrestling.

The Cycle of Success

This image is on the first page of our Instructor Training manual, and it is one of the key pieces of our teaching philosophy.

The basic idea is when people are more confident they apply effort in a more meaningful way, greater applied effort leads to success, and success leads to a increase in confidence.

As coaches & instructors our job is to create and feed that cycle, meaning create opportunities for our members to feel success, which leads to a increase in confidence.

One of the great things about martial arts is that pretty much everyone can achieve success to some level as it is a individual sport, accomplishments are individual.

Success is something every child needs to find, and as the adults our job to make sure that they are able to find that success.

One trouble is often when the child’s primary area of success doesn’t match with adults.  In those cases the adult can often attempt to push the child towards that particular area, and in some cases pull them away from the area that the child has actually been seeing success in.

Confidence gained through success tends to bleed out into other areas, so when a person achieves a high level of success in something, anything really, it can boast their confidence and therefore increase their applied effort in other things.

This is the basic idea behind how students often start in martial arts, or other activities, see some level of success and recognition and the result is a increase in grades and focus in school or other areas of life.

On the flip side one thing that we see that doesn’t work that is all to common is taking something away from a child that they are good at in order to try and redirect their focus to something that they aren’t seeing as much success in.

The truth is not all people will be good at all subjects, however most students can find success in something.  If a student is lacking in school, taking the things that they are good at outside of school away will not help their school, it will only cause the cycle of success to break and can end up hurting their confidence and their level of success.

As a martial arts school we also believe we have a distinct advantage over many other extra-curricular activities.  Our program is set up with the idea of progressing through ranks in a mixed rank environment.

After a few months in the program just about any kid will be able to demonstrate a level of competence over any beginner.  After a year or two they will be able to start assisting beginners in learning basic techniques. A few years in and they will be well on their way to being leaders within the class.

Contrast this to a team sport where the team progresses along as a unit, and in most cases the top players remain the top players and the weaker ones remain the weaker ones.

Their is also something very real about the martial arts when done right.  The confidence that comes from knowing that you can effectively pin / control / submit another person is a very real confidence.  It’s unfortunate that so many martial arts schools have drifted away from reality to choreographed routines and “self-defence” where an attacker throws a punch or does a grab then freezes while the defence does 8 return hits against a opponent standing still…

Anyways, whatever your child is good at, encourage them to that and recognize their success in it.  Success in one thing and recognition for that success will bleed into all other areas of their life, even if the thing that they are seeing success in isn’t what should be the top of the priority list.

Success & ADHD

I was watching Shark Tank last night and one of the pitches was for a fidget toy (not a spinner) designed to help with ADHD and other learning disabilities.

As it turned out the majority of the sharks had grown up with a learning disability that led them to doing poorly in school, and all obviously went on to become massively self-made success stories.

We get a lot of kids at the gym that struggle in school and are looking for a outlet, and some of them are amazingly fast learners capable of being great leaders… unless you asked their school teachers from what I’ve heard.

When you have a child, or are a person, who learns differently it’s very important to remember that success in school does not always translate to success in life. Yes, it’s important, but with the children who struggle in school it is absolutely vital to help them find something they can succeed and do well at.

“There’s a great freedom to being dyslexic … if you can avoid labeling yourself as a loser in a school system that measures people by A’s and B’s.” — Barbara Corcoran

I also don’t think the Sharks are unique in their stats, a very large chunk of self-made multi-millionaires where people that did poorly in school do to one learning disability or another.

The message kids that struggle need to hear is that they can succeed, despite their struggles, if they find the right thing. Instead they too often here things like this:

“When I was in 11th grade I was diagnosed with ADD,” Burns says on the episode. “The woman who diagnosed me said that my ADD was so severe that I would never be able to survive at a four-year university, and I shouldn’t try to pursue a job that required any type of education.”

But good grades in school are only one path to success, and education can come in many forms. When you have a child with a different learning style it is important to help them find there “A-Game” instead of focusing only on the areas of struggle.

“If I were to make a list of my top, say, seven or eight entrepreneurs I’ve invested in on ‘Shark Tank,’ I would say all but one have a learning disability,” she says.

Confidence is a big element of success, and when you have someone that struggles by traditional measurements in school it is very important to help them find the things that they can succeed at. Having one or two things that you can not only succeed at, but excel at can build that confidence that will help in all areas of life, and confidence can possibly turn D’s into C’s in way’s that yet another extra hour of struggling through reading text books can’t.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/10/09/why-barbara-corcoran-invested-50000-in-fidgetland-on-shark-tank.html

Announcing the Parent / Child class!

We’ve been working on something cool for a while now, and it’s time 🙂

For years we’ve had younger siblings in our 3-4 year old class wanting in, and occasionally we let them in for pieces of the class or to come in and play a game with the “big” kids. And they do amazing…

Even at 18 months we have had kids out running obstacle course… balancing on punching bags, jumping off bosu’s, clearing hurdles and vaulting over bags. They’ve taken me down, pinned me, escaped, passed guard and more!

But obviously at this age they need a little more attention then they can get in a class working with other kids and often have some anxiety around new people such as instructors.

So…

We are extremely happy to announce that we are launching a parent & child class for those under 3!

Here’s what this class is going to look like, and what the kids will get out of it:

It will start with a warm up. You will be doing this with them, they will run, jump, backward run & jump, log roll, bear crawl, and other basic movement exercises. This is going to teach them gross motor skills, balance, strength and get them used to moving with a group in a structured way.

We will teach them (and you) how todo basic martial arts techniques. We will show them how do basic escapes, takedowns and pins, as well as teaching you how to ensure their safety and how to get them doing it most effectively with you.

They will do “obstacle courses” stressing agility, strength and balance. Picking up medicine balls, vaulting over punching bags, jumping hurdles and balancing on our balance training equipment.

They will play games emphasizing helping each other and interacting with the other kids.

The primary goal of this class is to build gross motor skills, to have fun with your child, to build their confidence and get them used to a structured class environment. We’ve seen the amazing progress some kids in this age group have made watching sibling and occasionally participating for bits and pieces and are very excited to see how they progress with a full class!

So now the important questions…

When does this class take place?

This class takes place from 2:00pm-2:30pm on Mondays & Wednesdays.

What is the cost?

The cost is $69 / month.

What are the ages?

This will be 18-36 months. That said every child develops differently. For our class a couple milestones we’d like to see before they join are running, climbing stairs, kicking a ball, throwing a ball overhand and the ability to follow simple 2 step requests. (ex come here and sit down, take this toy and put it away, go get your ball and bring it here, etc.)

Kids in this program may have the option to advance into our 3-4 year old class a little early if they are showing good progress as well.

Will the parent’s get a workout?

Parents will be active, however the focus will be on the kids. Parent’s will be racing their child, getting up and falling down a fair bit, doing some basic movement exercises with them, etc. But it will not be a intense workout for the parents, but you will be involved and active.

I’m interested, what now?

Go to this page:  http://innovativema.ca/student/signup.php?type=parentchild  to get registered

Birthday Party Price Change

In the last 6-months I’ve personally run well over 50 birthday parties for all ages, 3 year olds to 12 year olds.

Since the summer our birthday parties have exploded… the reason? around that time we made a big change to how we ran birthday’s. Instead of doing what everyone else was doing, providing an hour of fun then leaving the rest to you we decided to do everything. Order the food, provide the plates & napkins, serve the food, include a stuffed pinata for treat bags, take care of all the clean up. Everything.

This seems to have gone over rather well, the kids leave happy and wanting to hold their party with us, the parents have the least stressful party they ever ran, and we have a lot of fun running these parties as well.

100+ Birthday parties later, our parties run like a well oiled machine, not only durring the party, but in getting ready for it.

So after a party the kids leave happy, the parents leave happy and we leave happy.

The truth is we love doing parties, and we feel that are parties are at the top end of the tier. It’s not simply access to a place to play, it’s a structured experience designed to leave the birthday child feeling like a star and leaving with thier confidence through the roof. It’s designed so that the parents simply need to show up with a cake and then sit back, relax and maybe take some pictures without having to worry about if they forgot anything.

So after some thought we decided that everyone that wants a party with us should be able to get one, and that while our experience is worth more then the 299 we charge (we’ve been told we should charge more by people after the party) we are going to lower the price, and hopefully open this experience to a few more people where 299 might have been hard to budget. So effective today, all-inclusive parties are only $247, this might change in the future obviously, but right now,

Chech out this page for full details: http://www.innovativema.ca/school-info/birthday-parties/