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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

Happy New Year!

2018 – Where we are and what’s coming

2017 is over, and it’s been a great year. So let’s start with a little review…

We where given the Top Choice Award for best martial arts school in Winnipeg for 2017, and in a few days we hope to get it again for 2018

Our Birthday Parties exploded… We did more parties in the last 3 months of 2017 then we did in all of 2016. Why? Because we decided to take the birthday party experience to the next level.

Our spring / summer camps ran more weeks then ever!

We changed our kids membership options to “all inclusive” memberships based on feedback from our parents. This meant all equipment, special events and more was included in the monthly fees keeping things nicely balanced for easy budgeting.

Our adult program, which has been a heavy no-gi (uniform) grappling program for years brought in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ranks and uniforms to allow a more in depth program.

Lindsay has moved from coming in to help out with events and camps to full time… oh, and we got engaged

We’ve built some great relationships with local schools, business and even the Children’s Museum

So looking into 2018… what’s coming?

Our adult BJJ program is going to explode. Seriously, every program we’ve focused on from preschoolers to camps to birthday parties we’ve exploded. Adult BJJ is one of the big missing pieces and 2018 will put that program up their with our other offerings.

Our kids program is going to relaunch a leadership program in a completely new and improved format. We’ve had so many graduates of our kids program move on to do amazing things in leadership roles, including becoming some of our top staff members over the years. Coming soon we will be inviting several of our top performers into a new leadership program to teach them our approach to leadership and coaching.

More public content. Social media is something we want to start pushing even more content too. We are very proud of what we do, and while we probably have put out more content through our Facebook, instagram and blog then most schools, we want to really blow it up. So make sure you keep your eyes open, we have some really cool stuff coming down the pipe.

We have a name to live up too, and the entire martial arts world has been flipped on it’s head in the past few years. In 1994 Royce Gracie choked out Dan Severn in a triangle choke from guard (bottom) and no one knew what had happened. Now “Triangle Choke” returns 159,000 results on youtube including instructional content from 100’s of instructors. 20 years ago most instructors viewed our knowledge as secret and privileged, advanced stuff taught behind closed doors only. Those days are over… not just in the martial arts but in everything.

Now, thanks to the internet knowledge is free, its everywhere. You can learn anything for free at any time. Our roles have changed, we are not sources of information anymore, but sources of curation and coaching. Martial arts instructors can no longer hide behind mysticism and lack of knowledge of their students, we have to be better.

Not just in our classes, but everywhere. 20 years ago the biggest yellow page ad won in a community. Instructors controlled all the information that came out about them and what they did. Now google and Facebook reviews can tell a story that can’t be controlled.

Join us in 2018, we are going to keep stepping up our game and shaking up the martial arts world.

And keep an eye our youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/innovativemartialartswinnipeg We have some cool stuff about to go down there

Top 6 New Years Resolutions You Should Make

1 – Be mindful of your environment. This is a simple thing, but one that can have a very powerful effect. But what we take in determines a large part of what we will put out. If you spend most of your time with people that are unhealthy, chances are you will be too. If you spend all day listening to negative news stories, chances are you will have a negative outlook on the world.

One of the most powerful ways you can change your life is by changing the information you take in. This includes people, news sources, podcasts, the sort of movies & shows you watch… everything.

Our mindset determines a huge part of our successes and failures in life, and a healthy mindset requires positive inputs.

2 – Love the journey, not the side-effects. Lots of people want to look a certain way, or make a certain amount of money, or have certain things… but that can never make you happy, those are side effects of the lifestyle that gets you there. If you want to look like you are in shape, you have to live a healthy lifestyle. If you want to make lots of money you have to work hard and smart and continue to educate yourself constantly.

People that start a diet & exercise plan with a goal of looking a certain way are destined to fail. The aesthetics are a side effect of a lifestyle, if you don’t love the lifestyle it won’t last. You might get that motivational boast as long as you are seeing results, but eventually those results plateau.

The fitness industry has become a steady stream of before and after pics, progress pics, and fad looks that are unhealthy and unrealistic. There is nothing wrong with getting a lifestyle you enjoy and a level of fitness you are happy as it gives you the energy and ability to have the quality of life you want and then living it that way without worrying about your next Instagram progress pic. At the end of the day being able to run around and play in the yard with your grand kids in 30-40 years is more important then having super defined abs.

3 – Learn a skill, or pick up a neglected one. As we get older it is easy to stop learning what we don’t need to. Part of what keeps us feeling young is learning though, and it is never too late to learn something new or take existing knowledge and expand on it.

So pick up that instrument that has been untouched in years, spend some time learning new cooking techniques on youtube or in a class, go get that black belt you stopped at green belt on the way too, whatever suits your interests, do something that makes you learn.

4 – Do something that makes you uncomfortable. Comfort is the enemy of progress in just about anything. As we get comfortable in where we are we stop going outside of that. Find something that makes you uncomfortable and do it until it’s no longer uncomfortable to do.

Whether it is as simple as door-to-door canvassing for a cause, speaking to a room, haggling a price, posting a video or picture of yourself, starting a new class or talking to someone that you’ve always wanted to talk too. Do something that makes you uncomfortable, you’ll probably surprise yourself by getting good at it.

5 – Make memories, not purchases. Listening to people talk is part of the holidays, one thing that I think stands out in how most people talk is that when they tell a story about something in their past or from their childhood the “things” of the story don’t matter all that much. It’s what happened and what everyone did and who was there that do.

I know all of my memories of Christmases are about the people and the places, never the things I got as gifts. Take the time off to make some memories that will last a life time. Doing the same things you do all year but for longer periods over the holidays will be quickly forgotten. Playing the latest shooting game that will be obsolete in 6 months will be forgotten quickly. A fingerling… that looked so much cooler in the video will be forgotten in no time. Building a giant back yard snow fort painted with spray bottles & food colouring for a afternoon… that will be remembered for a lifetime.

6 – Do something amazing, for someone you have no reason to do so for, without any internal expectation of something in return. Better yet, do this a lot of times. The more good you put out the more will find its way back too you. But anytime you do good with the mindset of getting it back right away it will fail in the long term, even if it works in the short.

There is a famous quote that says you can get anything you want in life, if you help enough people get what they want.

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is one of our favourite holidays at Innovative Martial Arts. We decorate, we throw a big zombie night party and the kids all love talking about zombies, witches and werewolves.

Halloween is not just about the candies though, it’s actually a holiday that fits very nicely with one of our core values, teaching kids confidence.

Letting kids be a part of creating scary things, being the scary thing themselves and getting out in the neighbourhood interacting with people is a great event for building confidence. Taking the scary imagery and creating it takes it from being scary to being fun. Going up to a door and yelling “Trick-or-Treat” is met with a reward for being confident enough to walk past the ghost and the coffin and yell at a strangers house.

The scary looking clown with a blood stained outfit is far less scary when they watched their friend put the costume on.

I’ve seen a lot of nervous and anxious kids that where able to put on a scary costume and then have a blast running around “scaring” everyone else.

If you have a child that is scared, don’t try to shelter them from the holiday, teach them their is nothing to be afraid of. If they don’t want to yell “trick-or-treat” at the door or ring the bell that’s ok, tell them when they are ready to do so they can start getting candy. Small steps are ok, but by the end of the night they might be yelling as loud as they can 🙂

If the time is right even flip things on them, make them hold your hand and tell you it’s only decorations to go up to a particularly scary house because you are too scared 😀

Skills Kids Will Need to Succeed in the Modern World

20 years ago math teachers where still telling kids they won’t always have a calculator on them…

Now I don’t even need to pull the phone out of my pocket to get Siri to solve basic math questions.  Not only that I also have in my pocket pretty much every piece of information I could ever want.

Information is no longer as valuable, because we all have access to it at all times.

This has had a huge effect on the way we conduct ourselves and how the businesses operates and what skills are valued in employees.

As a simple example, if you where going to make a big purchase 15 or more years ago you’d get most of your information from the salesperson.  That person is motivated to make the sale more then anything in a lot of cases and where really the one holding all the cards.  Nowadays you can pull up reviews, compare features, price compare and more on any product before even speaking with a person… or just order online and cut out sales people completely.

If you had a medical issue you relied solely on your doctor for information.  Now you can read studies, treatment options, get in touch with other people with the same issue, see lab results, etc.  All completely independently.

If you need to do some work around the home you can google the problem and pull up countless DIY videos and posts on plumbing, electrical, repair, construction, etc.

Information is available to everyone as easy as a 5 second search on a device we carry with us pretty much 24/7.

Education is needing changes to adapt to the changing world, but changes in education happen slower then changes in the real world when it comes to tech.  So the rest of the community needs to help out and make sure kids are ready for the new and changing demands that will help make them successful in life.

So what are the skills that are becoming more and more important?

Knowing the answer is less important, we all have the answers in our pocket.  What is important is knowing the right question.  Being able to identify problems and find the right questions to produce the answers. Creativity and problem finding lead to problem solving.  Whether it is on a sales floor, in a board room or inventing a new product the person that can ask the right questions is the one that will come up with the best solution.

Creativity.  It’s now been 10 years since Ken Robinsons talk entitled “Do Schools Kill Creativity” went viral and got a lot of people thinking about education in the modern world.  Creativity in a age of easy access to information, automation and rapidly changing landscapes the ability to change, adapt and find new solutions is more important then ever.  Massive businesses like Blockbuster Video can disappear in the blink of an eye as new technology and behaviours take over.

Sales… Now when I say sales I don’t mean just selling people a product or service for money.  Sales happens everywhere.  More so then ever now.  A doctor must sell you on the best treatment options, while competing against 5 other options you found online.  A boardroom is full of sales presentations on which direction a company should turn.  Experts are no longer experts just because they have the information, we all have the information, they need to be able to ask the right questions to get us to buy their solution.

Adaptability.  Chances are, no matter what you do, it’s changed in some significant ways as a position over the past 20 years.  Entire career choices have disappeared, new ones have appeared and virtually every mid to high level position has undergone massive changes in the way business is done.

Media. Something interesting has happened, I heard a stat the other day that said about 40% of adults now have some sort of side business.  Whether it is selling on etsy, online ventures, offering consulting services, involvement in a MLM or starting a full business.  The playing field has levelled out substantially for “the little guy” and starting a small or even side business has never been easier.  The reason is everyone now has the ability to be their own media company.  If your content and message is good, you can have a successful channel on any number of mainstream platforms.  Youtube is now bigger then the big networks, and you can get on free with the camera on your phone.

What’s interesting is that as technology becomes more and more involved in our day to day lives it is a lot of the “soft skills” that seem to be becoming more and more important.  Even in very academic disciplines… an accountant that has a strong camera presence or the ability to write simple and relevant blog posts will dominate in the market over perhaps a slightly more skilled accountant that lacks the ability to capture an audience and build a network and personal brand.

 

 

The biggest change in the martial arts in the last 15 years…


I suspect a lot of people will think it’s the growth of the UFC and MMA.  Or maybe the re-emergence of grappling based systems, but that’s really not it.

The biggest change in the martial arts is the same change that has happened in almost everything… the internet.

What the internet has done has given accountability to businesses and taken power from the instructors and given it to the students / clients.

If we teach you a technique poorly you’ll find out, there are countless videos online showing every possible technique from every possible perspective and variation.  Instructors are no longer the guardians of hard to find knowledge.  It’s all gone public, our role has shifted to curators, organizers and coaches.

If we treat our customers poorly they won’t just tell 5 close friends… they will tell 500 or even 5000 online.  Students have access to a lot more information from a lot more sources then they ever did in the past.  15 years ago the only real information you where likely to find about any business would be stuff coming from that business.

The internet has really helped the martial arts, and every other sort of business by forcing everyone to up their game.  Businesses are no longer the ones holding all the cards and everything spreads faster and farther.

We are not the right school for everyone, no one is.  Which is another thing business can’t get away with anymore.  If you aren’t the right fit for our school we don’t want you here, it does neither of us any good.  The great thing about the martial arts is the huge variety in both what gets done and how it gets taught.  We’d rather recommend a place that is a good fit then have you here and unhappy.  Signing up people on long term memberships that are not a good fit in a time of information spreading fast hurts businesses more then the gain from keeping them on a contract.

That’s the biggest change to the martial arts as I see it.  Now the power has switched from instructors and owners and a buyer beware environment to clients and students having a lot more information from a lot more sources and business not being able to hold all the cards.

our goal is to get ahead of the curve, be the best we can at what we do and offer the best service and value we can.  We are quite happy with the way the world has changed and taken the “buyer beware” aspect of doing business doen

How games can teach behaviour

Games are a important part of learning at any age, but especially with kids they are the most natural and effective method of learning all sorts of skills from physical to mental to social.

We use games in our classes to teach behaviours, as well as skills and I want to take a minute to look at a couple examples of how this works.

First up: “The Ball Game” as the preschoolers call it.

One of our 5-7 year olds helping out with a game of ball tag in the preschool class

The game is pretty simple, we use some big exercise balls and throw them at the kids, the kids have to run away and dodge the balls. If a ball touches them they freeze until rescued by another child. This can be through use of a technique (generally a takedown) shooting under the legs, helping them up from a seated position, etc.

The balls are big, bouncy, and while they can occasionally knock the kid off their feet don’t really hurt at all. Making it fun and safe.

But what are they learning?

There is the more obvious, they are running and exercising. They are learning basic tactics to run and zig zag, to predict collisions as they try to avoid the ball without running into it. Awareness of their surroundings, etc. They are also learning to fall (especially when they are using takedowns), get bumped and keep playing because… well… they are having fun doing so.

But the more important lessons of the game for young kids aren’t as obvious because we often take them for granted as adults.

Being able to resist the urge to run around when everyone else is running around and remain frozen is a skill that for a preschooler takes some practice. They are natural copy-cats who like to run… so when everyone else is running and they are to remain frozen their is a strong lesson in self-control going on.

The second really important lesson is learning to notice the other kids and when they need help, and then helping them. Preschoolers naturally love to help… but at the same time tend to view the world in a very self-centred sort of way for those years.

For the second example: Shield Sumo!

Shield Sumo at Summer Camp

This one gets used with all ages, and is a safe way to teach some really fundamental principles when it comes to wrestling. The basic idea is two opponents get a shield each, they win if the other person steps out of the ring or falls down. This is a game that goes great at all sorts of events and we often use in birthday parties as it is really easy to get started and a lot of fun to do.

But apart from simply smashing each other with shields it isolates some really important strategy and tactics.

When a stronger / bigger child is pushing into them they learn to snap back out of the way, making the pushing child fall / lunge forward. When someone attempts to smash them they learn to pivot. Pushing, pulling, pivoting & shoving are the keys to off balancing when it comes to takedowns and throws, and the game represents a simplified way to isolate and practice those elements in a very safe and very beginner friendly way.

 

Getting kids to do what they need to: Yes Patterns and No Patterns

As a continuation of the previous article here is another useful trick on getting kids to do what they need to.

Everyone that has worked with young kids has seen first hand how powerful “yes” and “no” patterns, especially “no” patterns can be.  This is when the child becomes set in a mindset where they refuse… well… everything and every answer is “no”.

It’s like a car that is stuck in reverse, every time you hit the gas you go backwards, regardless of where you want to go or where you try to steer.

If you know a child you can get a feel for the sorts of things that lock them in that “no” mindset sometimes, and this can help work them through it.

The trick is to first get them in a “yes” mindset, before hitting the potential obstacle.  Once that momentum is going it is easier to keep going then to start at the obstacle.  Think of it as getting through a snow drift, if you start at the drift and try to go you’re going to get stuck, but if you get some momentum going first you have a much better chance of crashing through it.

In class what does that look like?  Well, a simple example is how we start every preschool class.  We sit down, ask them how they are doing and what they’ve been doing. First we listen to them, then they will be more open to listening to us.  Next we start with something simple that every preschooler loves to do… we run.  If our warmups started with something hard like frog jumps it would be a lot harder to get them going.  So instead its something easy, something fun, and something they will want to do.

How might this translate to the home?

Find the things that are sources of resistance at home, and look for the elements of it that don’t meet resistance and start with those.  If bedtime is a trouble spot instead of starting with brushing teeth, try starting with picking out a bed time story,  then picking out PJ’s, then once a little momentum is built it is brush teeth so that we can read the story.

Build that “yes” momentum through fun things and choice, then use it to carry through to the pieces of resistance.

And if they do get stuck in a “no” mindset trying to push forward is not likely the solution.  It’s just like that snow drift, once you are stuck, you’re stuck.  Trying to go forward when it isn’t working just digs you in deeper.  You have to back up, reset, and try again.

This sometimes just means taking a break, letting them have a few mins to reset and then going at it different.  It can also mean changing focus to something completely different and unrelated until you get back in a positive mindset and then taking another approach.

Kids are really not so different from adults, although in some ways a little simpler.  If they have decided “no” and put themselves in that mindset forcing a change too it is taking away their sense of choice.  They sometimes get “stuck” a little more though, so if one thing is a “no” everything can become a “no” until they are able to reset a little.

More jedi mind tricks to follow, so keep watching our Facebook page or our blog 🙂

Getting kids to do what they need to: The choice trick

As a instructor I have the benefit of working with 100’s of kids in every age group. As well as being part of larger networks of experts and other instructors.

So I want to share some useful tricks me and my team use in class to work with different sorts of behaviour.

The thing to remember is that often kids get stuck in a specific mindset, and in order to get past it you have to change the approach.

For example, if we have a child that doesn’t want to do a technique pushing them to do it when they have decided not too is unlikely to work.

Defiance is part of kids finding their own way, learning to develop opinions and preferences. Once they have decided “no” changing that stated opinion is tricky.

One option is to give them a choice, rather then trying to force them to go against what they have already expressed. Even once they decide they do want to do it, they will have a hard time contradicting the opinion they already decided on.

So instead of and order “go do the technique” it becomes “do you want to do the technique with Sarah or Paris” and often that is enough to give them the sense of choice they desire.

This same tactic can be transferred to other aspects of their life as well. Just remember that often defiance is simply a desire for choice.

“Do you want Mom or dad to tuck you in?”

“Do you want to wear your red shoes or blue shoes today?”

“It’s time to go, what song do you want to play in the car?”

Offering a choice gives them some control and allows them to express preference. And once they have expresses it, just like once they have expresses defiance it affects their mindset. Once they have mentally and verbally committed to the red shoes, they are far less likely to refuse to put shoes on at all.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

Happy St. Patricks Day! – Irish Martial Arts?

Happy St. Patricks Day everyone!

Did you know that Ireland is the home to several types of martial arts?

Most people are familliar with Irelands reputation for bare-knuckle boxing.  

At this point bare knuckle boxing has become almost a caricature of Irish culture thanks in part to that Notre Dame leprechaun.

Bare knuckle boxing tended to take on some distinctive characteristics from modern boxing, without the gloves to protect your hands both offence and defence have to change a little to keep your hands in tact until the end of the match.

Especially considering that a lot of bare knuckle matches could go on for a very long time…

 

But Ireland is also the home of a form of wrestling called “Collar and Elbow” which was done both with a jacket similar to Judo and without one.  This style utilized a lot of the same sort of trips, sweeps, submissions and controls as modern Judo and Jiu Jitsu.

Irish wrestling was also very popular in early North America.

Irish collar and elbow wrestling had a influence on other forms of wrestling at the time and it’s influence can still be seen in modern wrestling as well as staged pro-wrestling matches where the collar and elbow tie up is very commonly used to start matches.

 

In addition to the empty handed boxing and wrestling techniques, Irish martial arts include the use of the Shillelagh, or club.  The Shillelagh has become a bit of a symbol of “Irishness” over the years.

In addition to self-defence purposes Irish stick-fighting ended up becoming associated with gang or faction violence and largely faded away by the turn of the 20th century.