Wednesday, February 4, 2009

What to do for your child in a BAD economy

Today we are faced in the papers with the BAD Global Economy. Just about everyone I know is affected in one way or another. Some are losing jobs, other are getting more business due to the slowdowns.

Some parents who are reading this have their children in the martial arts, others are thinking about do so. But with today's restrictions on cash flow how do you know what activity is going to be best for your child? Let's face it there are so many to choose from. In Canada we have hockey, soccer, baseball, swimming, etc etc. Some parents just have their children stay at home and play on the computer or video games. But what is the best solution?

Last week I had a prospective parent call me asking about our classes. When he found out the costs he said that he can't justify spending that much money on something like karate. (if his child plays hockey it can cost up to $9000 per year). Sadly he doesn't understand the benefits of martial arts vs hockey or any other 'sport'.

When times are good and parents can spend money on just about any activity the choices are simple. In bad times parents must make a decision based on what is best for their child, "what are the real benefits for my son or daughter"?

What does the martial arts really do for a child? Here are some examples.

  • Increased FOCUS
  • Increased Self Esteem
  • Increased Physical Fitness
  • More confidence
  • Better listening skills
  • Self Control
  • Self Discipline
  • Energy and ambition
  • Goal setting skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Better communication skills
  • Better grades in school
  • Understand social behavior
  • etc, etc, etc

Do the arts really do all these things? YES and more! Do hockey and soccer accomplish these benefits? No they do not! Here is a testimonial on the benefits of martial arts training from one of my students parent. Others can be read on my website Art Mason's Peaceful Warriors' Martial Arts Institute.

"Special Thanks,

I am the mother of a boy, who after many diagnosis from several different doctors, was told my son has a number of behavioral disorders. As heartbreaking as that was to hear and deal with I was so relieved to finally find a place where my son was welcomed and not judged for his disability, but encouraged to thrive beyond expectations.

We tried everything from Cubs, Tee-ball, to city soccer league. While all of them were friendly and tried to work with my son, not one could keep his interest for any period of time. He would loose interest and walk off to do his own thing. He had no focus or ambition for anything he tried.

Then while searching the webs for something to help my son, I came across a website for The Peaceful Warriors'. The name alone made me feel comfort. I set up a meeting with Master Art and his son Master Curt. After talking to them and explaining my son's disorders, Master Art assured me that they were not worried about dealing with my sons unusual behaviors and with a very respectful confidence, he assured me my son would excel in his karate school.

I has been two and a half years since my son joined The Peaceful Warrior's school. He will soon become a Red Belt, is in the Black Belt Club, and on the Demo Team, by his own choice.

In less then three years at this school, my son has grown into a calmer, happier more pleasant person to be around. I believe that this school is more then that, they truly want to see children reach their full potential. They have made such a difference in our lives, they believe it takes a village to raise a healthy well rounded child, and they show it in many ways. The Peaceful Warriors' are always in touch with parents on the progress or need improvements of each child. They even ask for input from the child's grade or high school teachers, before they can advance to another belt.

Please believe me when I say that I tried everything to find positive outlets for my son's Hyperactive behavior and until I found The Peaceful Warriors' family, I though it was hopeless for my son to ever fit in anywhere.

So in closing, I give my most sincere thanks to the many Masters, instructors and people involved in The Peaceful Warriors' family. You all truly have made a positive difference in my family's lives..."

Sincerely - Claire Dupont, Windsor Ontario

After this recession/depression we are going through today, the children with the best life skills will prosper. Those with the best video game skills, hockey skills etc will NOT. If you need to make changes in your life to get your child involved in martial arts it is well worth it! The benefits will far and again out outweigh the costs of a great school.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Martial Arts & Kid's With ADHD Part 4

This series of articles on martial arts and kid's with ADD or ADHD is based on my 20+ years of teaching children with this disorder. That is the main reason for the title of the articles, it is not just what martial arts will do, but also other approaches to use that will work with martial arts training.

I had a parent recently telling me about their child's learning disability. Do you see a problem here? Remember back to when you were in school. Do you recall who the 'dumbest' kid in the class was? It was obvious to the kid's in class, the teacher and the child having the problems. But yet, through all this negative reinforcement, someone thought that this child might improve. GOOD LUCK! The situation must improve first!

A child with attention deficit disorder does not have a disease, they are not suffering from a learning disability, they are simply distracted. These children, who have above average intelligence, also have a better connection between the right and left hemispheres of the brain than do other children. Therefore they receive on a continuing basis more information from their non-conscious mind than most people do.The sad part is that the education system and doctors don't know what to do about this (even if they understand it) and will subscribe drugs to stimulate the conscious mind, thus 'dumbing down' the unconscious mind, helping (supposedly) the child to focus. WRONG.

Our educational system works with what can be called 'explicit learning'. It is focused on learning using the left side of the brain, memorizing and calculating with the information provided. Children with ADD or ADHD thrive at learning in a way that is 'implicit'. Actually, that is the best way for everyone to learn anything, but that ability has been silenced by our eductional system.

What are example of implicit learning? Learning to walk, crawl, run and talk as an infant. All the rules of your primary language are learned this way. Right/Wrong, manners, much of the day to day behaviors you have were all learned implicitly.

Martial Arts instruction is an implicit learning method. This would apply to about 90% of the materials. This is a reason why martial arts is so very beneficial for children with ADD/ADHD or other similar conditions. There is one catch at this being successful! We need to work on the child's self esteem,becuase they are often being confronted by parents, teachers and piers about their alleged learning disablilities!

My final bit of advice for this article. Children will always live us to the expectations of their parents. How high are yours? If your child is not excelling is life, raise you expectations!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Some Great Information

I just posted 2 excellent PDF files on our website about Martial Arts training and children with attention deficit disorder. Check them out!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

ADHD and the Mozart Effect

ADHD and The Mozart Effect

The Mozart effect can refer to:

A set of research results that indicate that listening to Mozart's music may induce a short-term improvement on the performance of certain kinds of mental tasks known as "spatio-temporal reasoning;"[1]

Popularized versions of the theory, which suggest that "listening to Mozart makes you smarter", or that early childhood exposure to classical music has a beneficial effect on mental development;

With this being said imagine what the possibles are for kid's with attention deficit disorder. Could we use classical music to help calm the mind of a child with attention deficit disorder, and help them focus and therefore do better in school and life in general?

It has been reported than when Albert Einstein was trouble, or confronting an problem, he would often pickup his violin and plan along with Mozart. This would calm his mind and help to find the answers he was search for.

What affect does certain kinds of music have on the human brain? First let's look at the different brain wave patterns;

There are four categories of these brainwaves, ranging from the most activity to the least activity. When the brain is aroused and actively engaged in mental activities, it generates beta waves. These beta waves are of relatively low amplitude, and are the fastest of the four different brainwaves. The frequency of beta waves ranges from 15 to 40 cycles a second. Beta waves are characteristics of a strongly engaged mind. A person in active conversation would be in beta. A debater would be in high beta. A person making a speech, or a teacher, or a talk show host would all be in beta when they are engaged in their work.

The next brainwave category in order of frequency is alpha. Where beta represented arousal, alpha represents non-arousal. Alpha brainwaves are slower, and higher in amplitude. Their frequency ranges from 9 to 14 cycles per second. A person who has completed a task and sits down to rest is often in an alpha state. A person who takes time out to reflect or meditate is usually in an alpha state. A person who takes a break from a conference and walks in the garden is often in an alpha state. Classical Music, like Mozart will induce an Alpha Wave state in the brain.

The next state, theta brainwaves, are typically of even greater amplitude and slower frequency. This frequency range is normally between 5 and 8 cycles a second. A person who has taken time off from a task and begins to daydream is often in a theta brainwave state. A person who is driving on a freeway, and discovers that they can't recall the last five miles, is often in a theta state--induced by the process of freeway driving. The repetitious nature of that form of driving compared to a country road would differentiate a theta state and a beta state in order to perform the driving task safely.

The final brainwave state is delta. Here the brainwaves are of the greatest amplitude and slowest frequency. They typically center around a range of 1.5 to 4 cycles per second. They never go down to zero because that would mean that you were brain dead. But, deep dreamless sleep would take you down to the lowest frequency. Typically, 2 to 3 cycles a second.

When we go to bed and read for a few minutes before attempting sleep, we are likely to be in low beta. When we put the book down, turn off the lights and close our eyes, our brainwaves will descend from beta, to alpha, to theta and finally, when we fall asleep, to delta.

Now, what would happen if we were to bring the ADHD child to an Alpha state, using music, when they needed to complete a task (homework is a good example.) Children with normal brain activity will product Beta Waves when they are engaged in an activity. ADHD kid's will produce more Theta Waves, which is why they tend to drift off more easily that other children. The ideal learning state, a state were the non conscious mind is absorbing the most information is Alpha Wave state.

Now, this is only a theory, I will do more research and make amendments to this article as needed.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Martial Arts and Kid's with ADHD Part 3

In our last article on the Martial Arts & Kid's with ADHD we talked about increasing lung capacity through underwater swimming. I hope everyone has given this a try. Reading about it is great, but action must be taken to get results.

Let's take a look at building intelligence and focus at the same time. Now, it really does not matter if your child is ADHD or not, in fact you can do this to build your intelligence also.

The brain does not record information they way we first thought it did. Science now knows that memory was created for survival, not school or career. Our memory is an intricate web, very similar to the internet. We all know how hard it is to find thinks on the NET. If Google or Yahoo have not indexed it, it is impossible to find. With memory, something of interest is easy to retrieve and reconstruct, if it is not of interest, then it is very hard to locate.

Your unconsciousness mind is were memory is stored. All sensory input is woven into the web or your memory. Some is very deep inside. Your conscious mind edits this information for your attention. I deletes 99.9% of what comes in.

So your child goes to school, they are filled with energy (when I was a kids this was expected) and are taught things that in real life are irrelevant and uninteresting to them. They hear or read the information and delete it from the conscious memory, because it is boring!

This deletion is instant! That is why an child can forget what you said to him or her 2 minutes ago.

How do we overcome this is the real question. No drug with do this for them either!

Ok, here goes, have your child list on a piece of paper all the letters of the alphabet. List them vertically on the paper. Beside each letter your child will write a word, form a specific topic list, that corresponds to the letter. This will build associations in the brain for the topic, the letter and the word. This is will trigger other thoughts related to the topic and thus what happens in the mind is exponential! Do topics that your child likes at first, then slowly more to other topics that are school related.

How does memory work? Here is a brief explanation. Imagine you are holding a 15 inch flashlight in your hand. You are in a room that has no light at all, and you are looking for something is a file. The flashlight is your conscious mind, the darkness is your unconsciousness mind.The problem is the dark room is approximately 11 square miles in size and your flashlight is 15 inches long. See the problem?

The random thoughts that are constantly flowing into the mind of a child with attention deficit disorder are not only remarkable, but the way we all should be! They just don't have the tools need to tap into the unlimited potential. This exercise will build these tools! Drugs just numb the mind, they don't increase the ability to use this amazing gift!

Here is a sample of the exercise I am talking about. I am using martial arts terms for this one.

A -Aikido
B - Budo
C - Combat
D - Discipline
E - Elbow Strike
F - Front Kick
G - Grapple

The list goes on till Z. Try to get your child to do one list per day, then 2, then 3. The results in a month will astound you!

Yours in building strong, focus children,

Master Art Mason

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Interesting Information Video

Here is an interesting video on Attention Deficit Disorder

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Martial Arts & Kid's With ADHD Part 2

In the last article I discussed the idea of underwater swimming to increase a child's focus. This is especially beneficial for a child with ADD or ADHD. So, why exactly does this work? First, think about a time when you are really trying to focus on something. What happens? You guessed it, you hold your breath!

Anytime someone focuses intently on any object they hold there breath for a few seconds. When they begin to breath normally again, their attention does dwindle, but it is still there.

Having someone swimming underwater holding their breath will increase lung capacity substantially. Also, the act of holding your beath while swimming underwater in of itself will increase attention and focus.

For more information on this topic check out this book by Dr Win Wenger called The Einstein Factor

So, how does the martial arts help kids with ADD/ADHD? First, it provides physical movement, along side of work that requires focus. The need for focus starts small and builds over the months and years to follow. Martial Arts also provides a disciplined environment, with set routines that must be followed. Let us also not forget the built in goal setting that our belt system provides.

One of the most important things that needs to happen in the life of a child with ADD/ADHD is for things to be routine and consistent. This is also very important at home. Rules and boundaries must be set, and held to consistently. This is the same for punishment. All punishment must be consistent and then must be reinforced with positive afterwards. When a martial art school and parents work together, a child with ADD/ADHD will thrive!

If you would like some parenting tips on bringing up strong focused children, check out my book called; Children Don't Come with an Owners Manual.

Your in building strong, focused children,

Master Art Mason