On the weekend of 2nd December we held our biggest grading of the year in Basingstoke. We had students from Karate, Ju Jitsu and Judo all grading. Of which Seven of them were being examined for their Black Belt.
The weekend started with the younger children from the Young Legends, aged between 6- 9 going for their first belt. Their grading consisted of a 60 minute class to give a brief reminder of the things they had to demonstrate. They progressed onto the formal grading itself which consisted demonstrating blocks, kicks, strikes, throws and groundwork along with their forms and partnerwork.
As parents we have an ability and even a responsibility to help our children to become confident. Confidence will lead them on the path to success.
Confidence is the belief in one’s ability to master your body, behaviour and the challenges you encounter in school, work and life generally. If our children believe in themselves, they will are willing to take more of the right kind of risks in life, accomplish their goals and accomplish more. Children who have good self esteem will find it easier to feel valued and accepted by family, friends and peers, they will be proud of a job well done and will feel good and thing good things about themselves and they will be more prepared for the challenges that they will face everyday.
None of us are born confident, it’s something we learn as we grow up and develop, regardless of a child’s situation or feelings. As parents we can help to improve our children’s self-confidence by giving them many opportunities to practice and master their skills. Let them make mistakes and be there to boost their spirits so they keep trying, even if they sometimes fail.
Have you heard the old Japanese saying, fall down 7 times get up 8.
These are some ideas as to what we can do to increase our children’s sense of self-worth
Create a wall of fame
Every child is good at something. Help them to discover it, encourage it and celebrate it by displaying it proudly for all to see. If your home is missing a wall of fame to celebrate their achievement your child is missing their moment of recognition. If you have a child who is not into team sports or athletic, try scouting/guiding. Everyone wins and everyone gets lots of badges. As children walk by their showcase, they can see at a glance five to ten years of achievement. This gives them a lift, especially during times when their self-confidence is faltering.
Nurture their special interests
Try to expose your child to a wide variety of activities, and encourage them through the ups and downs when they find something they really love to do. Kids who have a passion — whether it’s Martial Arts, Theatre or Minecraft, justifiably feel proud of their expertise and skills and are more likely to be succeed in other things at both school and in life in general. Unusual hobbies may be particularly helpful for children who have a hard time mixing with other children at school. Try and use this hobby to help your child to interact with other children and develop friendships. For example, if your child likes to draw but most of the children in their class are into sports, encourage them to do drawing of the sports that their peers enjoy.
Focus on the Glass being Half Full
Help your child to be more optimistic and to look for positives and to continue to work hard towards their goals. Try to avoid offering glib reassurances to “look on the bright side,” or something like “don’t worry you didn’t really want to do that.” Instead encourage them to think about specific ways to improve a situation and bring them closer to their goals. For example if they are behind their classes in reading at school, offer to spend extra time with them reading their school books together. If they weren’t invited to grade this time, ask what they need to practice to be invited to grade next time and then spend some time working on it together to increase their chances of getting the result they desire next time.
Don’t forget also that the glass can be refilled, time and time again.
Watch something motivational to put things into perspective. Nick Vujicic and his positivity is a great example of what we should all aim for.
Don’t over praise your child
Everyone of us likes to be praised, but reserve it for real accomplishments, not just used as a figure of speech. If you tell your child that everything they do is “great” or “awesome” or “fantastic” then when things do get a little (or even a lot) tougher, they can be discouraged at having to face adversity.
What’s the secret to success? Hard work and lots of times things not going right and then the occasional success. The cycle repeats until the successes outweigh the failures. Then we move onto face the next challenge. Give old fashioned good honest praise when it is deserved and justified that way your child will feel good, they’ll learn to understand that hard work, spirit, effort, failures and achievement are all part of a natural cycle but one that they can conquer and receive just rewards.
Don’t give in to Fear
Sometimes we all get nervous or scared about doing something. It might be learning to drive, asking a potential partner out for a date, moving up a class in Martial Arts or starting a new job. Sometimes fear is a good thing and can help us to stay safe at other times fear can be a real limiter to our levels of success.
Fear shouldn’t be ignored, sometimes its a real valid and sensible response. Are you afraid of swimming in a rip tide at the beach, riding on a motorcycle with no protective wear, swimming in a pool with crocodiles in it, going to war, skydiving et al. There are many things to be justifiably afraid of, they are risky and often dangerous to life and limb. Fear in this case is a matter of self preservation. In some of these examples, although fear is felt, the action must still be taken, for example a solider on the battlefield generally has little choice as to whether to engage with the enemy, they have to to ‘just get on with it.’
Some kinds of fear we have to learn to recognise as not being fear of a physical outcome, but something far worse, a fear of failure or even embarrassment.
Ralph Waldo Emerson summed it up quite nicely ” What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do.”
Take the following examples:- The child that doesn’t want to try that new activity at school or has passed a new Martial Arts belt and now has to work with a more advanced group of pupils or where they previously loved an activity and now now longer want to do it. This is what, as parents we play the part of Sherlock Holmes and start investigating a little deeper. Ask them what they do in their activity, ask them what they enjoy and what they don’t enjoy. Compare notes with the coach or teacher and see if you can identify the real underlying issue. Is their enough fun in the activity, are they still still motivated, are others progressing faster than them. Are social pressures intervening, are friends asking them to do other things? Are the games consoles calling? Is the activity getting harder to do because your child has progressed and now they are being asked to further improve their skills.
Sometimes all it takes is a little constructive support from a child’s parents to help them overcome their nerves and worries and to move forward with more confidence and to set themselves up for later life.
A team of 11 competitors from Shin Gi Tai Martial Arts Academy were selected to be part of the England team competing at the World Union of Karate-do Federations (WUKF) World Championships in Dublin between 15th and 19th June. The event was held in a large conference centre in Dublin, Citywest. Which was just as well given the logistics of housing all the competitors and spectators under one roof for the three days of the championships.
WUKF have members from Countries all over the world and many of them sent competitors to this event. In total 74 Federations attended, 2274 individual competitors and 455 teams supported by 230 Coaches and 128 referees or judges. As it turned out there were 12 competition areas, which on all three days of the competition where in daily use for at least 14 hours. In short it is the biggest Karate championships worldwide during 2016.
The members of the team from Basingstoke comprised of Bryan Andrews (48) Lindsey Andrews (41) Katie Dolan (43) Mandi Miles (39) Mark van Meerkerk (45) Edward van Meerkerk (17) Zara Hughes-White (17) Jack Wyatt (13) Zane Sewell (13) Harry van Meerkerk (13) and Kienan Dolan (12.)
The team had worked hard towards this event with many training sessions and squad events since February. Lots of work on developing the fitness to compete in the large categories. More work on fine tuning their Kata skills. (* Kata is a choreographed solo sequence of movements where attacking and defensive movements are practised in sequence. Kumite is fighting against an opponent) Their timing and rhythm, the quality of their techniques and the ‘look and feel’ of the Kata. In the Kumite, people worked on some bread and butter techniques, the fundamentals to ensure that they were optimised in all kinds of different positions and situations, they worked their favourite techniques which were tried and trusted and they looked at tactics and ringcraft to ensure that they could control the fight and the area.
The team assembled for their first training session in Dublin on Wednesday afternoon which was a seminar with multiple World Champion Christophe Pinna. This covered his system and gave us some things to take away and practice to improve our fighting. After this we worked on our individual Katas together as a team with the coaches providing feedback. For the majority of the team it was then a restful evening. Some of the senior coaches had to attend a presidents and officials meeting and dinners, looking at plans for the next few years with WUKF.
Thursday morning was an early start for all the coaches who had to attend a mandatory coaching seminar to enable them to coach Matside during the event. There was another seminar with Pinna which many of the team again attended to learn some new skills. Late Thursday afternoon, the whole squad had to register and be checked to ensure weights and heights were correct for the categories entered and that everyone was who they said they were. Some more light training for the squad with stretching and Kata to keep limber.
Thursday evening was the official opening ceremony with all a full house in terms of the spectators and all the competitors and officials. The officials speeches were given and some excellent displays of Irish folk music and different forms dancing were given. This was the first time that the World Championships had included people with a disability and they asked Shin Gi Tai to perform in the opening ceremony with Mandi Miles demonstrating some Wheelchair based Kata and also doing some fighting and self defence drills along with Lindsey and Bryan Andrews. All three had worked hard together over the previous three months to choreograph a strong routine, which in the end was just over seven minutes long. There were thousands of people in the audience and estimated at 100,000 watching online. Our demonstration brought the house down with several standing ovations received. It was a great example of Disability Karate and ‘able bodied’ Karate being practiced side by side, as it should be.
Friday morning was the first day of the actual competition and it started early with an 8:30 arrival in the venue. The event started with Children’s kata performed in groups based upon their age range in age order. The standard was high and the number of competitors in each category massive, one of our team had eighty fighters in his category. We saw some spirited performances during the course of the day from the children in particular Jack Wyatt pulled off some fine victories in the team fighting including a very nice head kick to win that bout. Jack’s team went onto win a Bronze medal in the team event. Mark van Meerkerk performed some good Kata but wasn’t quite able to make the final rounds in a strong category, Bryan Andrews in the same category made it to the semi final. Next up were Katie Dolan and Lindsey Andrews competing in the Veteran’s A Kata (35-40 yrs), again with a large category it was somewhat of a nail-biter. Katie made it through to the second round and showed great promise for her first World Championship. Lindsey battled through to win a silver against a very good Italian competitor. Next up, again was Lindsey in Veteran’s B Kata (41-45.) She went through the preliminary rounds and in the final drew for 1st place. She then had to perform a different kata as a tie break. She picked Anan, which is an old favourite that had helped her to two previous World Titles. Her American opponent picked the same Kata and it was clear within the first 1/3 of her performance of the Kata that Lindsey had won her third world title.
Bryan Andrews was called onto the mats to fight at 8:20pm. With over 40 competitors, the category was a big one. He started off well with a 7:0 win over a Welsh opponent and this set him up for the following fights. There were a couple of nailbiters, the quarter finals were a notable one with the match going into sudden death extra time as a result of some penalty points against Bryan, he scored first and won the bout. The final of this category started at 11:35pm and there was a partisan crowd cheering the Irish competitor and a few hardcore English fans who stayed to the very end. There was plenty of action to see and some lumps and bumps for both competitors, Andrews, eventually won the match 5:2 and secured The World Championship title. His medal was finally presented at 00:10, a long day but a very successful one. The end of day one and we had won Bronze in the teams, one Silver and had two Gold medals and World Champions.
The rest of Saturday morning came along very quickly and it was a prompt start with the teenagers coming out for their Kata prompt at 9:00am, we saw some great performances with Edward van Meerkerk finishing 9th in the world and Zara Hughes-White getting through to the semi final. Harry van Meerkerk did a little better than his big brother coming in 7th place. The boys teams of Harry van Meerkerk, Kienan Dolan and Zane Sewell fought bravely in the teams coming up against a team who were all at least a foot taller than them, sadly their courage wasn’t enough to give them the win. Our last competitor on Saturday evening was Kienan Dolan in the boys 11-12 category with over 80 people in his category, they split it into different pools across several areas to facilitate a faster finish. Kienan fought through his own and then beat the winners of the other pools to reach the final. The American he fought was just a little too experienced and quick for Kienan this time, so he won a richly deserved Silver medal and came #2 in the world.
Sunday morning was an earlier start at 8 and for Shin Gi Tai, there weren’t many of our team left competing. Zane Sewell performed well in the fighting as did Harry van Meerkerk, neither made it through the preliminary rounds though. Edward van Meerkerk and Zara Hughes-White fought valiantly with some good techniques, but weren’t able to pass the preliminary rounds. Mandi Miles was next up and she performed some great katas to win a Gold medal in the Wheelchair category and become the World Champion for this, a great achievement considering she only started training in March 2015. Our last event was the cadet females team fighting for Gold against the Polish national team, undoubtedly there were some nerves, but this didn’t seem to affect Zara Hughes-White or the other girls as they won the match convincingly 6:0 to become Team World Champions.
The days were all long and tiring, the competition was intense with some excellent teams competing against us and an enviable standard. All things considered we’d do it all over again to compete at this level.
Our final medal tally was
Gold Medals and World Champion
Shin Gi Tai Martial Arts performing at The Opening Ceremony.