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Can you imagine a world were everyone is respectful, all the time?

Onegaishimasu Parents,

You may notice us talking a lot in class about respect, and here’s why…..The foundation of karate, your dojo, and our lives is always respect. Respect is, in fact, the first and most important lesson in karate and life. Without it our karate is empty and meaningless and becomes pure violence.

Hey mom and dad remember this: “Everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten” For many of us this was the place where we first learned “The Golden Rule”…..Treat others as you would want to be treated….or better! WOW!!! such a simple definition of respect. From my experience there are three types of respect: Self respect, Respect for others, and Respect for the institution. One of the key things to remember before we begin….RESPECT IS A CHOICE. Lets take a look at the three types and what they mean.

1. Self respect: This is where everything starts. A lack of self respect will certainly denote a lack of respect for others…you can not have respect for others if you are unable to respect yourself. The first and best way to practice this….A POSITIVE ATTITUDE! What we say about ourselves, taking care of our bodies both mentally and physically and even spiritually are all ways we practice this important character trait. Eating healthy, practicing moderation, exercising both physically and mentally(choosing to read over video games) and making certain the story we are telling ourselves is the “right one”. It all starts within.

2. Respect for others: This is really all about “how we make other people feel” Most parents, and students are familiar with “bucket filling” I am a HUGE fan of BUCKET FILLING!! We have the power in every thing we say, and in everything we do, in every moment of our lives and in every interaction we have with people to either BUILD THEM UP or TEAR THEM DOWN. The point is…It is a conscious choice we make.

3. Respect for the institution: Simply put, this is about adhering to the rules wherever we happen to be, whether we like it or agree with it is irrelevant. We just follow the rules. We may not always understand them to start, but they are there for a reason. This applies anywhere, and could be at home, at work, on the road in your car, in the dojo…. wherever…We all play by the same rules for the same reason..RESPECT. There can’t be a set of rules for one person and a completely different set for another. That will never work! We must all respect the rules equally

So parents, the question is………HOW do we teach our children RESPECT? From my experience I have discovered the answer is simple. We must model the behaviour and character we wish to see in our children in every moment, every word, and every action of our lives. They are watching and copying us ALL THE TIME!!

Here are a few important perspectives to consider:

1. Life is a mirror....What you put out always comes back to you. Parents often come to me saying their child is disrespectful to them, or that their kids are disrespectful to each other? If you want to be respected you have to give it first. You cannot demand a person to respect you. You cannot make someone be more respectful. You cannot get/make a child give you respect. You have to give it first. “Life is a mirror…..” Same goes with gratitude.

2. Self control... Our ability to control our emotions and rationalize the situation in order to put into perspective the potential consequences not only for the other person but for ourselves. You are not responsible for other people's actions and words, but you are fully responsible with how you react to it!Disrespectful behaviour almost always leaves a very lasting scar or negative impression on the people affected by the behaviour including the perpetrator.

3. Think…. Think very carefully before we act or say something that might undermine our respect. Then think again!!! What we say and do have very lasting impressions and quite often aren’t easily forgotten or forgiven. Think….Is this something you would want for ourselves or our children?

4. Self regulation....This is the ability to not only moderate our responses to things like frustration, and anger but also to calm ourselves down to avoid an emotional outburst. Avoid decisions, saying words, or taking action based on emotion. It rarely, if ever, turns out well.

I hope you find this useful. Have an Amazing week!!!


Keiko Karate – “Actually we do make Ninjas and Superheroes here………………we turn kids into Ninjas and we turn their parents into their superheroes!

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