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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.

 

 

Iceland knows how to stop teen substance abuse but the rest of the world isn’t listening

It’s really basic stuff, but easy to forget. Teens need a place to belong, and something to belong too. And there is a period in there where it’s sometimes hard to fine. If they don’t find it in a productive and healthy place, it’s easy to find in a unhealthy place.

Kids hit a age where they feel they should be more independent then they are able too, where there is a gap in between being a “kid” and being able to work and gain independence. I think the best thing that can be done at this age is to keep them involved in something outside of school and to help them find a way to feel they bring value to something.

https://mosaicscience.com/story/iceland-prevent-teen-substance-abuse