Latest News

The Annual Phoenix Halloween Spook Fest is Back!

Calling all students ages 6-11, our most popular kids Themed Night Out is here again! There will be fun games, treats and a contest for the best costume of the night, so get creative and show your fun, spooky looks to scare your friends or make them laugh! Call today as due to COVID spaces are limited. See you there!

Phoenix Academy Summer Camp is back! After last summer’s isolation due to COVID restrictions we are proud to announce the Annual Summer Camp is here at last for all belt levels from age 5-12. We will have games and skills workshops that cover poomse, weapons, fun sparring, and more! Don’t miss basic Parkour obstacle course balloon games and the always popular DODGEBALL! 340 AED covers the three day camp, snacks, and a special camp T-shirt! Sign up today as space will be limited!

Phoenix Academy Third Annual Board Breaking Championship Another Great Success!
The third installment of our annual board breaking tournament was an amazing experience for everyone that came out to show their skills. Students from our Little Tigers age 4-5 were fierce competitors! More advanced belt levels and age groups had increasingly difficult breaking techniques such as jumping and spinning kicks that demanded a combination of precise timing and power to earn a gold medal! Many thanks to our adult students that volunteered to judge, referee, and organize the event to give our students the valuable experience of performing under pressure. Go Phoenix!


We have a special offer for new students of any experience level, from ages 4 to 94, join us today and see why Phoenix Academy was named a Top Ranked Dojang by World Taekwondo Federation in Korea! For AED 200 we offer special class timings for four beginner classes over a 14 day period to see if our program is right for you. We also throw in a free Taekwondo uniform and belt to begin your journey. Learn discipline, self-defense, and self confidence while making new friends. Join Today!.

Happy 10th Birthday Phoenix Academy! 

It has been an amazing journey with many friends and families sharing with us along the way. We want to thank everyone that has supported our students, staff, and community over the years! From our humble beginnings at the American School of Dubai with a small class on February 23rd, 2011 to our growing classes at our modern facility in Al Quoz, and the COVID lockdown forcing us to switch to zoom classes. We have had many students earn their Black Belt over the years, our Competition and Demonstration Teams have won lots of trophies and medals, we sponsored First Aid and Leadership Seminars, Kids Night out and Halloween Parties too! We hope to continue for years to come and prove again that a Black Belt is just a White Belt that never gave up!

Congratulations to all New Black Belts!

Great job to all our newest Black Belt students that successfully earned your first Dan! Everyone worked very hard over the last few months with the COVID restrictions that made it even more challenging. We has most of the 3 hour test in our Dojang but held the board breaking portion of the test outdoors and on zoom so families and friends could cheer them on. It is an amazing accomplishment for students of all ages, so be proud of yourselves and thankful to your families that have supported you on this life journey. Well Done!!

Belt Testing Schedule 2020-2021

See our updated belt testing schedule for all ranks and age groups for the coming season. Plan your training and class attendance starting today! These dates and timings may be subject to change so check back and follow us on social media to get any updates.

Poomse Skill Series Workshops!

Sign up now for this years Poomse/Form Skill Workshop series being offered this fall. There will be four different levels: Basic, Intermediate, Advanced, and Master Levels. We are offering five sessions to strengthen your foundation in stances and techniques, building on this to improve your precision and strength. There will be demonstrations on how these forms have many practical applications in self defense and daily life. Come see what Master Graves learned at the Masters Class in South Korea to improve your skills, confidence, and performance at the next belt testing!


Please review our updated Membership Guidelines to ensure the continued health and safety protocols mandated by the UAE Ministry of Health for all sports academies. The protection of our members and families is our top priority as we reopen our academy. Thank you for your continued cooperation.


Here is your free report on how to help your child develop their ability to concentrate (download PDF)

Distracted. Easily frustrated. Hyperactive.

If any of these words describe your child, you’re probably worried that he or she lacks the ability to stay focused.

A rare few children are born with the innate ability to concentrate, but sometimes a healthy attention span is harder to develop. These children are sometimes referred to as “dreamers,” “fidgety” or even “a problem child.” Society seems quick to label them as having Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

There is no dispute that the ability to concentrate is an important life skill. Knowing how to help your child develop that ability is the real key. In this report, we’ll share some ideas on how to accomplish this.

Know What Is Normal

First, it’s important to make sure that certain factors are in the right balance.

Is your child’s daily diet a nutritious one? Does he get enough sleep? Does she get plenty of exercise? Are there other factors that are making your child sad, mad, worried or excited?

Second, it’s important to make sure your expectations, and those of other adults in your life, are reasonable. For most children the ability to stay focused takes practice. It’s a learned skill, not a natural reflex.

Waiting for that development to happen naturally can be more frustrating for first-time parents than for those who have experienced it all before.

Compare your child’s behavior to others who are about the same age. Talk with other parents. Ask educators or your pediatrician what the average attention span is for your child’s age. You may be surprised by the answers.

“A ‘normal’ attention span should be 3-5 minutes per year of a child’s age. For a 3-year-old, that would be nine to 15 minutes; for a 10-year-old, it would be 30-50 minutes,” explains Dr. Becca Harrison, resident of psychiatry at the Medical College of Wisconsin and an assistant martial arts instructor.

“It is a little more complicated than that though. Attention is thought to develop in stages,” Dr. Harrison adds. “First, kids tend to be overly exclusive, focusing on one thing for a long time to the exclusion of everything else. We see this mainly in babies. Second, they tend to be overly inclusive. Toddlers tend to switch from activity to activity rapidly. Third, kids develop selective attention, the ability to switch focus when they want from being exclusive to inclusive, for instance. Some kids just take longer to reach that third stage, just like some kids walk later than others.”

Still, your child may be described — by you or by others — like this:

* Fidgety: Can’t sit still for the expected amount of time that is average for his or her age; constantly gets up to do other things

* Daydreamer: Routinely seems lost in his or her own world; facial expression goes blank or takes on a dreamy look as he or she stares off into space

* Easily distracted: Regularly goes from one activity to another or can’t stay on-topic in a conversation

* Hyperactive: Routinely and excessively excited; always on the go

* Impulsive: Constantly acts before thinking; uncontrolled physical and emotional responses or verbal outbursts

Find a solution

There are many ways of addressing these issues. From our experience with kids of all ages and discussions with other professionals, we’ve found the following methods to be effective solutions in helping focus-challenged children.

1. Encourage age-appropriate brain exercises. Paint and color. Play board games. Put together a jigsaw puzzle. These are especially effective in helping younger children because parents and older siblings can participate. These types of activities can be completed in a short amount of time, and there is a tangible reward at the end (a pretty picture to hang on the refrigerator or a finished puzzle that looks just like the picture on the box). More complicated games and larger puzzles can be introduced as your child gets older.

2. Provide a challenge. Word searches, crossword puzzles and chess let children exercise their minds on their own or with a partner. These also require self-directed concentration as the child works independently or, as is the case in a game like chess, must anticipate upcoming moves.

3. Sign up for lessons. Dance classes. Violin lessons. Cake decorating. Whatever your child’s interest, consider signing him or her up for classes. While it may seem like the last thing you want to do is put your child in yet another class where he or she won’t pay attention, matching the right class to your child’s interest can make a world of difference. They’ll want to pay attention, which will help them teach themselves how to stay focused.

4. Get into sports. Exercise is the best remedy for all that pent-up energy. Solitary sports like swimming, skiing and track are even better because participants are constantly in motion without the added pressure of letting down the team.

5. Praise more than you criticize. We all work better and want to try harder when the result is positive. Children want, and need, praise. That may seem easier to do when they’re adorable and tiny, but it doesn’t lose its value when those tiny tots start turning into real people. Tell them when they’ve done something right and they’ll want to do it again.

6. Turn off the TV. Both TV and video games cater to short attention spans. Limiting a child’s time with each will ease your battle.

Here’s the challenge

These all seem like good, easily-implemented ideas, but committing to them on a regular basis is difficult. Schedules are hectic and, at this point, you’re as easily frustrated as your child.

The good news is that there is one solution that incorporates all the above described methods.

This one solution is martial arts. Here’s why.

1. Martial arts strengthen minds and muscles

Among the many benefits of a martial art is the way it strengthens the mind. There is a certain discipline that develops quickly among students, a shift in their ability to pay attention.

2. Martial arts provides brain exercise

From the very first day in class, students are challenged to think as much as they act. Learning new forms and movements takes concentration. One reason why martial arts is so effective is that it reinforces working memory. Anthony Meyer, MD, medical director of Aurora Psychiatric Hospital in Milwaukee, Wis., and a specialist in attention deficit and child/adolescent issues, compares working memory to that of an executive secretary, taking in all the sensory information, sorting through it and compiling a list of priorities for the “CEO,” or frontal lobe of the brain. If the executive secretary isn’t working properly, that list of priorities isn’t correct or in some cases not delivered.

To enhance working memory, Dr. Meyer says, it’s important to use repetition and multi-sensory stimulation — meaning one sees, then hears and then attempts the task at hand. Martial arts fits that bill. Students are taught by example, explanation and repetition.

3. Martial arts provides a challenge

Martial arts teaches life skills like discipline, respect and concentration. A student can’t move up in rank without showing those characteristics at an age-appropriate level. And as students advance, their level of precision and even the intricacy of their movements become more challenging.

Together these factors help children retrain their brains so that, whether in class or in the real world, they are able to act and react in a responsible manner. “It’s exercising their ability to focus,” Dr. Harrison says. “They tune out other things around them when they’re in martial arts class, and that is transferable at school and at home because they’ve learned how not to be distracted so easily.”

4. Martial arts provides a great class environment

Martial arts keep kids engaged physically and mentally. They have fun while in class, and take pride in knowing that they are learning something most kids don’t know how to do.

Dr. Meyer explains that martial arts “enhance motivation, which is like turbo power that gives you interest to attend to something. The master is able to give one-on-one instruction or work in small groups, which helps motivate. It uses the whole body, a number of sensory modalities, and has to do with focus, centering and getting along with friends and family, as well.”

5. Martial arts provides vigorous exercise

Like swimming, skiing and track, martial arts is a solitary sport. Martial arts classes remove the pressure to do well in front of the other kids or to score a winning play. Students concentrate on their own movements rather than what everyone else is doing. They never have to worry about disappointing their teammates. Instruction is focused on the individual and his or her journey toward attaining the next belt rank. And every class is wall-to-wall movement. There’s nothing like an hour worth of running, jumping and blocking to get rid of any pent-up energy.

6. Martial arts instructors are trained to praise more than criticize

In a sport like martial arts, the emphasis is on learning the basic steps and techniques. Good martial arts instructors use a “praise, correct, praise” approach in which the student is praised for what he or she did right, instructed on how to improve what was not quite right, and then praised for making the correction. Children also get rewards like stickers, trophies and belts.

“Martial arts require a certain amount of focus to participate. The process of them learning their forms and coordinating the movement of their hands and feet is helpful, and the kids get tangible rewards like stickers, trophies and their next belt,” says Dr. Harrison.

7. Martial arts pulls kids away from the TV

When kids are in class, they’re not in front of the television. They’re moving, active and engaged.

“I have heard parents say that they have seen a change,” says Dr. Harrison. “They see a difference in their children’s behavior, and the teachers tell them that their children pay better attention in class.”

If you’d like to learn more about how martial arts can improve your child’s attention span, please contact us and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.


Here is your free report on how to help your child improve their self discipline (download PDF)

For many parents, child discipline is a tricky concept to embrace, and no wonder. Too often, discussions about discipline revolve around punishments — scolding, time-outs or even spanking.

We view discipline, at best, as a necessary evil.

It’s time to give our views on discipline a makeover. Discipline is a powerful and positive tool for providing structure and encouraging achievement.

Living with discipline is a long-term, achievement-oriented path to success. Here are just a few examples:

* Does your child want a new bike? They’ll need discipline to save money for this lofty goal.

* Is he or she dreaming to be the next American Idol? Not without the discipline necessary to practice.

* Does he or she want privileges — a new puppy, a later curfew — that come with good behavior? They first need to demonstrate they’re disciplined enough to follow through with their actions.

This principle guides us throughout life. Even as adults, the qualities of health and happiness — working hard, doing our best, eating right and living well — all require self discipline.

So how do we get discipline?

Anyone who has tried to change a child’s behavior or break a bad habit of their own, knows that two things are necessary — a vision for success and enough time and patience to make improvements the right way.

We’ve all got plenty of goals for our children. Until they can learn the qualities of self discipline that will enable them to reach goals on their own, parents need to both lay out the goals and pave the pathway.

That’s not to say you need to turn your home into boot camp. When it comes to discipline let’s avoid words like “strict” and “harsh.” Think of discipline as a set of built-in guidelines, like the supports that keep a building straight and tall.

Start with a vision: If you want your child to be successful, define exactly what you mean. If you expect your child to be a good student, establish this as a family priority.

Make it happen: They’ll bring home the homework. It’s up to you to create the environment that fosters high achievement. Make sure he has enough time, enough rest, enough food, a sharp pencil and a clean table to get it done. Get the idea?

Encourage them: If you set high expectations, they’ll surely need your support and maybe a gentle push along the way. Do be careful — nagging, pushing and harping will get you nowhere. You want to build your child’s self-esteem, not damage it irreparably.

Reward their accomplishments: If they’ve reached their goals, that’s cause for celebration! If they didn’t make the grade, however, that’s not an excuse to withhold love, affection or attention. Encourage them to do better next time and help them learn another important life skill — perseverance.

What can I do today?

Taking this report to heart and rethinking your approach to child discipline is your first step! Also, take a minute to reflect upon the rules you now have in place. Do you:

Have routines in place? Any schoolteacher will tell you that children learn best within a safe, comfortable, structured environment. Having routines, especially when getting ready for school and going to bed, will help your child internalize the habits they need to accomplish these tasks.

Establish clear limits? Your child should know your expectations and your boundaries. They are less likely to test your limits if they know you have set a line that they should not cross.

Maintain a consistent approach? The rules should be the same and so should the punishments. Any inconsistencies and children are more likely to test the limits and push their boundaries.

Offer guidance? We all need a little help along the way! Make sure you know your child’s teachers, for example, and keep the lines of communication open. Address any problems, too, that would prevent your son or daughter from learning. And never forget to aid them on their journey by praising their achievements, no matter how small.

Set a good example? Instead of pointing your attention to your child, take a critical assessment of yourself. Are you modeling self discipline through your own habits, from eating and drinking to working and staying organized? While nobody’s perfect, it’s true that your actions speak louder than words and your children are watching and listening.

Reinforce the message? Teachers and parents are usually united in their efforts to cultivate self discipline, but messages from popular culture — ranging from video games to TV advertisements — promote indulgence and excess. Even a child’s extracurricular life should reflect the values you hold dear. Music lessons, team sports and martial arts are some time-tested activities that promote discipline and achievement.

Have a plan for the future? You should have goals and an action plan to turn your hopes for tomorrow into a reality.

We’ve all heard stories about the students who may have gotten straight A’s in high school, but dropped out of college because, when left to their own devices, they couldn’t budget their time or manage their studies.

Certainly, you don’t want set up your child for future failure due to their lack of discipline.

Yet it can happen. These types of examples reinforce the importance of helping a child establish and internalize self-discipline skills.

But how?

Consider martial arts!

Very few activities inspire self discipline like martial arts training. A new student starts as a white belt and gradually works their way toward the ultimate symbol of achievement, the coveted black belt.

The black belt is a sign of a martial artist’s dedication, their perseverance and ability to identify and attain their goals. It is a monumental tribute to self discipline.

Regardless of the variety of martial arts, whether it’s tae kwon do, karate or judo, etc., new students start at the white belt level. As they build their skills and ability, they progress through a succession of colored belts until they reach their black belt.

At this moment, untold thousands of children are among the martial arts students training for this goal, one step at a time. They (or more specifically, their parents) know the physical, mental and emotional task before them. Thanks to the discipline they are cultivating, they are eager and enthusiastic to take on this challenge.


Because they have discovered the many benefits of martial arts:

* Improved focus at school, leading to greater academic achievement

* Physical conditioning, meaning, more energy and better self image

* Greater confidence, lessening a child’s chances of being victimized by schoolyard bullies

* And, of course, a greater appreciation of the rewards that come with self discipline!

We make discipline happen

Earlier in this report, we suggested specific recommendations to positively promote discipline in your child. Here’s how we cultivate discipline in martial arts schools:

1. We start with a vision: We firmly believe that every student has got what it takes to achieve a black belt, as long as they can stay focused to keep on learning.

2. We can make it happen: Our classes are highly structured, with drills and routines that sharpen skills. New curriculum is introduced in a way that is non-threatening, building both confidence and enthusiasm.

3. We encourage and motivate: The journey to black belt is full of incentives — students get new colored belts as they advance through the ranks. Other incentives range from stickers to elite teams and competitions.

4. We reward their accomplishments: We never fail to praise. We celebrate achievements, and ultimately a student earns the rank of black belt, our ultimate symbol of discipline, excellence and goal setting.

Can you envision your child wearing a black belt? Today, it’s only a dream, but as we say in martial arts classes, “a black belt is a white belt who never gave up.”

The martial arts community recognizes the connection between self discipline and physical/emotional wellness. We’ve got the wisdom and expertise to make a difference in your child’s life — today and every day.

If you’d like to learn more about how martial arts can improve your child’s self discipline, please contact us and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.


Here is your free report on the principles for helping your child reach and maintain a healthy weight (download PDF)

Are you concerned about your child’s weight?

Given the overwhelming media coverage about the child obesity epidemic, it’s difficult not to be concerned. We hear almost constantly that U.S. children are getting heavier and that we must do something about their unhealthy diet and low physical activity.

This sounds logical doesn’t it? To address the increased incidence in obesity among our nation’s youth, we just need to get them to eat healthier food and exercise more.

But, there’s a big problem with this logic — it hasn’t worked.

Kids are still getting heavier despite a massive effort by governments, communities, schools, health associations and parents to encourage healthy eating and physical activity.

What’s going on here? If eating healthier food and getting more physical activity are the keys to weight management, why is our population of kids still getting heavier?

In this report, we’ll explain the real reason for the child obesity epidemic and then share what this means as far as your efforts to help your child reach and maintain a healthy weight.

The fallacy of the traditional advice for weight management

Despite what you’ve heard, the truth is that your child’s weight is not affected by what types of food they eat or their level of physical activity.

We know this statement sounds heretical, but that’s what all the scientific research shows.

In contrast, here is a statement that is well supported by research.

**** If children pay attention to their body’s natural regulatory eating signals, their weight will settle at a level that’s healthy for their current stage of growth and development. ***

Sure, some children grow wide first and then thin out. Others grow tall and fill in and some end up being smaller or larger than average. That’s just the natural size diversity of the human population. A child’s growth will be just fine if his or her eating patterns remain normal.

Here’s the problem. Despite how difficult it is to disrupt a child’s natural regulatory eating signals, this is occurring with a lot of kids because they are experiencing self- and externally-imposed food restrictions.

These food restrictions may be real (e.g., weight-loss diet, banning eating foods which are considered unhealthy) or more subtle, such as parents or schools:

* Pushing healthy foods
* Labeling foods as good or bad
* Limiting portions
* Hiding certain foods
* Questioning food choices (“Are you sure you want that?”)

These real or subtle (but readily apparent to the child) forms of food restriction result in the child being afraid that food might not be available the next time they’re hungry, the specific food available now won’t be available again, or there won’t be enough food to provide satisfaction when they next eat.

These fears cause children to became preoccupied by food, lose touch with their natural regulatory eating signals and overeat when given the opportunity. As you know, such opportunities come along quite frequently:

* Fast food restaurants where a child can access huge food portions for little money;

* Friends house where a child is away from their parent’s eye;

* Local store or vending machine where a child can buy soda and candy with their allowance money;

* School where a child can access vending machines or foods from the ala carte menu.

In other words, children have plenty of opportunities to abandon whatever explicit or subtle food restrictions are placed on them and “eat when the eating is good.”

This phenomenon is widely known among eating specialists due to their own experiences and because it has been demonstrated in so many research studies. Here is an excerpt from one of those studies.

“In conclusion, restricting children’s access to a palatable food within their eating environment does not promote moderate patterns of intake and paradoxically may actually promote the very behavior its use is intended to reduce. This research supports the view that restricting access can sensitize children to external eating cues while increasing their desire to obtain and consume the restricted food. These findings also suggest that the effects of restriction on children’s eating will be particularly pronounced in families in which restriction is consistently in effect.” Fisher JO, Birch LL. Restricting access to palatable foods affects children’s behavioral response, food selection, and intake. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1999; 69: 1271

The reason our kids are becoming more overweight isn’t because they are eating unhealthy foods or are not sufficiently active. It’s because their natural regulatory eating signals have been disrupted by the overwhelming emphasis on losing weight and eating healthy foods.

What you should do to help your child reach and maintain a healthy weight

To ensure your children grow in a healthy way you must feed them reliably and without restrictions. If you do this, food will become less of a preoccupation and your children will eat according to their natural regulatory eating signals.

“In treating children or adults who have lost touch with their ability to know when they are full, it is both a huge relief and very scary for them when I recommend that we eliminate the rules defining too much food. Most are sure that they will eat the entire house and more without these rules. In reality, many do eat excessive amounts for a short while — stocking up as their psyches wait nervously for the next restrictive diet to be imposed. But if such individuals can maintain their courage and continue to fill up with a reasonable selection of wholesome foods, eventually their subconscious minds register what is happening; they are free to eat according to their own internal hunger. At this point, something almost magical happens (or so it seems to those who have come to see themselves as insatiable). Suddenly, because they no longer need to eat in anticipation of the time when they will be cut off, they no longer need to eat it all right now. They begin to notice when they are full. They begin to trust that they can save some for later or can share their food, knowing they can get more if they choose.” Kater, Kathy. Real Kids Come In All Sizes. New York: Broadway Books, 2004: 165

In other words, children must be 100% confident they’ll be fed when they’re good and hungry, foods they like, and enough food.

How can you produce this confidence?

You can give kids confidence they’ll be fed by putting structure to snacks and meals your child can count on and not letting even the intent to restrict food creep into your feeding.

For example, you should:

* Serve defined meals and snacks at intervals that ensures your child doesn’t become too hungry (two to three hours for a younger child, three to five hours for an older child, but probably never longer than six hours). However, don’t let your child graze throughout the day. Food should only be eaten at defined snacks and meals.

* Serve enough food at each meal and snack so there’s always some left over, such that your child sees abundance rather than limitations (e.g., cookies left on the plate served for a snack, mashed potatoes left over in the serving bowl).

* Be careful not to let the subtle forms of food restriction occur (pushing healthy foods, labeling foods as good or bad, limiting portions, using low-calorie foods, hiding certain foods, deliberately running out of a child’s favorite food, questioning food choices — “Are you sure you want that?”

As far as what to serve, we recommend you relax about food selection and, instead, just follow these five simple eating guidelines:

1. Maximize variety. Serve a wide range of foods to provide plenty of opportunity to try new things.

2. Select more real food. Serve foods your grandmother would have recognized as food rather than the manufactured foods which are so prevalent.

3. Choose less fried food. For example, it’s probably not a great idea to go out for fast food several nights a week, but that doesn’t mean you should never go. There is nothing inherently wrong with fast food as long as your child is listening to their body’s natural regulatory eating signals.

4. Consume less calories in liquid form. This means that milk or water should be the primary beverage served at snack or meal-time. Liquid calories (e.g., juice for breakfast) should be less than 10 percent of your child’s total calorie intake.

5. Serve family meals which include a protein, starch, vegetable (or fruit, or both), bread, and milk.

What about physical activity

We said above that physical activity does not affect weight. That’s true, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. In fact, research consistently shows that physical activity is probably more important to a child’s health than their weight status.

Therefore, you should be strongly encouraging your child to be more physically active, but for reasons of fun and overall health, not as a method for losing or maintaining weight.

Exercise shouldn’t be punishment for gaining weight. Instead, your child should view exercise as activities they absolutely love to do. Your job as a parent is to help them discover those activities.

We believe martial arts is one of the activities your child may love. Sure, we focus on skill development, discipline and confidence, but most of all we emphasize fun.

Many children begin classes with us for one set of reasons, but they continue because they are having such a blast and increased physical activity with all its health benefits is the natural result.

To learn more about martial arts and to determine if it’s a physical activity your child loves, please contact us and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.


by Kathy Mangold

Here is your free report on how to increase your child’s self-esteem (download PDF)

As parents and as a society, we have high hopes and dreams for our children’s achievements. What achievements is a child – your child – capable of when the doors to success have been opened?

My name is Kathy Mangold and I’m a parent of three, past editor of MetroParent — Milwaukee’s parenting magazine — and, for five years I’ve worked with an organization focused on developing a child’s full potential.

In both my home and in my professional life, I’ve witnessed the real transformation that takes place when a child plugs in to their full human potential. It impacts them in their interactions with friends, family, schoolmates and teachers. Quite simply, it makes everything better.

Through these experiences I have perfected some simple methods for maximizing human potentialthat I want share with you in this report.

I’m assuming you requested this report because you suspect your child may not be living up to his or her capabilities. If that’s the case, then this report may be the most valuable 13 pages you’ve ever read.

In my opinion, nothing is more important than fully developing the potential of our nation’s children. Therefore, I hope you internalize the messages within this report and are able to apply its teachings to your children.

Read on to see how simple — and how successful — these techniques have been for unlocking potential and changing the lives of children just like yours.

Matthew: Angry and unfocused

“Everyone hates me. No one will play with me,” 5-year-old Matthew sobbed as he sat in the corner of the day care center.

Wanting a bright future for their son, but coping with an unhappy child who didn’t fit in, his parents asked themselves how they could best help Matthew. In their research they found us and, and after learning how other parents with similar issues had achieved amazing results, they decided to work with us.

Within a few short weeks, Matthew’s parents noticed their son was learning to “focus his energy and action. He was able to do many things that were not possible before.”

And, best of all, Matthew began to enjoy school and participate in group activities.

Over the years, we’ve literally seen hundreds of children like Matthew – kids who are having problems in school, who seem shy, who don’t behave, who have a short attention span, or who can’t get along with others. Often parents have tried many programs before finding us, but these programs didn’t work because they didn’t deal with the underlying cause of their child’s behavior issues.

With our methods, dramatic changes occur. Their grades improve, they make friends easier, they cooperate more with adults and they begin to maximize the potential they have inside themselves.

Best of all, they are happier. All at once, the future looks very bright.

Every parent’s goal

Over the years, I’ve learned that every parent wants the very best for their children.

They know their children will face many challenges during their school-age years, such as feelings of inferiority, peer pressure, the temptations of drugs and alcohol, and feeling out of touch with their parents. That’s why parents of even very young children start to worry about whether their children will walk out the door at 18 years of age as independent, responsible individuals who are ready to be successful in life.

Many parents tell me it keeps them awake at night – the fear of how to give their children the skills to face the rigors of life.

The problem is that most parents don’t know how to make this goal a reality. They are bombarded with such a broad range of confusing theories on how to be a successful parent, they don’t know what to do and often just end up imitating the practices of their own parents.

Frankly, I get angry at all the nonsense, half-truths and empty ideas about success that actually create roadblocks for children to reach their full potential.

The single source of almost all child behavioral difficulties

Through my experience, I’ve become 100 percent convinced there is one source of almost all child behavior difficulties.

Just one.

If we could, somehow eliminate this single source of trouble, I’m absolutely sure our nation’s children would have far greater self discipline, focus and concentration, assurance in dealing with new situations and people, and overall success in life.

In fact, if we could eliminate this source from the adult human population, I’m 100 percent convinced our planet’s overall output would increase by no less than a factor of 10. We would see far greater economic growth, less political strife, more innovation and higher levels of happiness.

What is this single source? What one thing could possibly have this kind of impact?

Actually, I bet you already know what it is, because it’s most likely limiting your own potential in life… and is possibly contributing to the parenting style that may be basis for whatever behavioral difficulties your child is having.

What am I talking about? Poor self-esteem.

Yes, if you want to address your child’s behavioral difficulties you absolutely MUST work on his or her level of self-esteem (and likely yours as well).

When I talk about child self-esteem, I am not just referring to self confidence. I am also talking about how your child views him or herself. We all have an inner view and voice that tells us what we can and cannot do. That inner voice dictates whether we will be successful.

So having a poor self-esteem is more than just lacking in self confidence.

Rachael: Sassy and struggling

Let me re-emphasize this point – low self-esteem is the bane of human potential. Period.

Nothing else even comes close in creating limits to what children and adults can accomplish in life.

Therefore, it’s critical that parents understand the cause of low self-esteem and what can be done about it.

Let me tell you about Rachael.

A few years ago the parents of this seven year old came to us in search of some answers. Rachael was struggling in school and didn’t show much respect for her parents. Her parents told me she had trouble focusing on her homework and often talked back to them when they tried to encourage her.

It didn’t take us long to realize that Rachael’s problem was a low child self-esteem and that her parents were contributing to the problem via their parenting style, an odd amalgamation of how each of them were brought up by their parents.

We did some work directly with Rachael and provided Rachael’s parents with some needed advice on how to use more positive discipline methods.

Within a few weeks, Rachael’s parents were ecstatic. Here is the handwritten note I received from them just 24 days after our first meeting:

“Thank you! Your work with Rachael and recommendations for us have literally transformed our family. We got a call yesterday from her teacher asking what was going on. She was actually concerned because she had never seen such a dramatic change in a child in such a short period of time. We told her that there was nothing to worry about and to expect more positive changes going forward. You’re the best. Thank you so much!”

Mr. and Mrs. Patton

What made for this dramatic change? Given my comments above, the answer to this question should be obvious – Rachael developed a higher level of self-esteem.

Boundless opportunities by raising self-esteem

So what can parents do to address the issue of low self-esteem – the principal roadblock for their children to realize their full potential? In other words, what can be done to fill their lives with boundless opportunities?

Does that sound like a worthwhile goal? I said above that all parents “hope their children will walk out the door at 18 years of age being independently responsible individuals who are ready to be successful in life.” But, why stop there? When the methods exist to prepare your child to experience a life of boundless opportunities.

By now, I hope you are extremely curious as to what these methods are. Because I didn’t write this report just have parents read it once, find it interesting, file it away, and then return to their old parenting habits.

No, I desperately want you to take action on my advice and I’ve learned that for that to happen I must first get your attention… and the very best method for getting attention is to create curiosity.

Curiosity causes people to ask questions and, once that happens, they are actually quite interested in listening to the answers.

By the way, I hope you can see how this same approach can be used by you in getting your child to listen.

I want you to be extremely curious about my esteem-raising methods so you’ll pay very close attention to what I’m going to tell you in the next few pages.

The secret to developing high self-esteem in your child

Here you go – here is the secret to raising your child’s self-esteem that I’ve discovered after more than 22 years of research and proven success.

 There are three simple steps:

  1. Help your child discover activities (or maybe just a single activity) they truly love.
  2. Make time in your family’s busy schedule for them to participate in these activities.
  3. Acknowledge, recognize and reward their effort, accomplishments and successes in these activities.

In my extensive experience in working with children of all ages and with a wide variety of behavioral issues, I’ve found these simple steps extremely powerful. Sadly, most children rarely experience their extraordinary positive impact.

See, self-esteem comes from achieving real successes doing something you care about.

Let me say that again.

High self-esteem comes from having real
successes doing something you care about.

Think about your own situation. If you receive praise for doing something that’s not important or interesting to you, it has little psychological impact. Am I right?

What if the praise is for something you are passionate about?

Let’s say you’ve been placed on a committee at work for which you have no interest and then receive praise from your boss for your exceptional work on that committee. Not a big deal.

But let’s say your children are the most important thing in your life and you receive a reward from the school for being the best parent in your town or city. Now that’s pride!

It’s just a law of human nature. We feel better about ourselves when we are recognized or rewarded for doing something we really care about.

This law of nature works both ways

This law works in the opposite direction also. If we are doing something we love and find important and then are criticized for our performance, the impact can be devastating.

I see this much too often. A child gets involved in an activity they love and an incompetent coach or instructor says something the child interprets as criticism. When this occurs, one of two things is the result:

  1. Their performance suffers, which results in more criticism, more performance deterioration and a drop in self-esteem.
  2. They quit and lose the opportunity to have real success at doing something they care about.

This second scenario happens far too often in school and organized sports. These programs are so competitive that by middle school, only the star performers are still participating. This makes me angry for three reasons:

  1. I just can’t believe that a child’s sports performance in grade school is an accurate predictor of how they would perform if they stayed with the sport through high school. How many potential superstars are never given the opportunity to nurture their skills?
  2. Why should any child who truly loves an activity be refused the opportunity to make small, but consistent, improvements in their performance and experience the resulting self-esteem gains for doing so?
  3. Why do we let this happen when the research about the devastating impact of poor self-esteem is so consistent and overwhelming?

What exactly a parents needs to do

When I share the above revelation with parents, sometimes it takes some time for them to fully trust what I’m telling them. After more discussion and real-life examples (which I’m unable to provide here due to the limitations of a written report), they ultimately get it. Once this happens, there next question is almost always “OK, so what exactly are we supposed to do?

To try to answer that question here, let me provide more details about each of my three simple steps.

1.  Help your child discover activities (or maybe just a single activity) they truly love.

There is only one way to do this – introduce your child to a variety of activities. This should include experimenting with different hobbies that can be pursued from home, various subjects in school, group activities with other families and organized outside activities.

Then, you should watch your child to see if the activity is something they really enjoy. If it is, then stick with it. If it’s not, then try something else, but be sure to give it enough time. For example, quitting a team mid-season isn’t something I’d support. Assess the situation once your child has given an activity a real chance.

Because of the misgivings stated above, if your child wants to get involved in competitive sports (football, basketball, soccer), I’d actively seek out coaches who understand the value of maintaining a positive atmosphere during the grade and middle-school years. I’d also suggest balancing these sports with activities that are less competitive and more focused on developing a child’s self-esteem.

2. Make the time for your child to participate in the identified activities.

This step is a matter of setting priorities. Once you decide what’s important, you just need to find time to do those activities and eliminate the ones that are less important.

3. Acknowledge, recognize and reward your child’s efforts, accomplishments and successes in the selected activities.

Once you believe your child is participating in activities they truly love, then make a conscious effort to praise them for their efforts, accomplishments and successes, no matter how small.

Your goal should be to promote excellence in at least one area of their life. Sure, your children might be involved in a wide variety of activities, but you’ll find there are only a few (or maybe just one) where they rapidly gain self-esteem because they love the activity and can see themselves making constant improvements.

The process is simple

Success breeds success and having your child participate in an activity they enjoy will motivate them to achieve and strive for excellence.

But a child, unless they happen to be Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, will not become a concert pianist after a few lessons. In fact, that shouldn’t even be the goal… yet.

Success is built step by step. Here’s how it works:

*  Set small and achievable goals. Think of them as building blocks that build muscle (both mental and physical), skill and most of all, confidence.

*  Make sure the activity has a pathway to proficiency. Beginning skiers start on the bunny hills, then work their way up to the green hill, then the blue hills – you get the idea. Eventually, their expertise is honed to the point where they can take on the double diamonds. Once they master these most challenging runs, they can start doing competitions. This example illustrates a step-by-step process where the pathway to excellence is clear.

*  Guide your children, but let them work out their own solutions. If they reach an impasse, ask them what is stopping them? Listen and let them work out their own strategies to reach the next level.

*  Always recognize the effort, not just the result. They might not win the competition, but if they did their best and tried their hardest, their effort was a success.

*  Encourage big dreams. Why not tell them that with hard work and focus they might, just might – given the skiing example above – become an Olympic skier someday? Dreams and high aspirations are the foundation of human achievement.

In taking this step-by-step approach, keep in mind this basic principle – children cannot develop excellence in doing something they dislike. Therefore, be careful that you are applying these ideas in areas of activity that your child truly loves (rather than, for example, in areas you want them to pursue but they don’t show much interest).

Something I didn’t tell you about myself

In my summary of my background and experience at the beginning of this report, I left one thing out – myself and the team I work with are very involved in martial arts.

Martial arts is a transformative activity for adults and children. I have witnessed the many accomplishments that take place, both as an observer (through the work done by my professional colleagues) and ones that have experienced firsthand (my husband, my three kids and I are all martial arts students too).

With this background you can imagine that I have a bias towards martial arts as an outstanding activity for children to get involved with.

Here is why:

*  Martial arts is all-encompassing way to achieve mental and physical improvement. If your knowledge of martial arts comes from Bruce Lee movies or televised fights, please realize that this view is narrow in scope. The overwhelming majority of martial arts practitioners employ martial arts techniques and philosophies for self-betterment, not for combat.

*  Martial arts build confidence. Skills are built upon repetition and this reinforcement helps hone a student’s technique. These confidence-building and skill-reinforcement qualities are two reasons why the Mayo Clinic recommends martial arts for children with A.D.D. and A.D.H.D.

*  Martial arts has real-life relevance. Self-defense skills are important, whether a child is confronted by a bully or a dangerous stranger. Techniques must be done with confidence. That is why students are asked to yell in class when they are practicing techniques. It forces students to breathe correctly, but more importantly, shows the confidence in the technique by how loud and forceful the yell is done.

*  A system of goal-setting is inherently built into martial arts. Students progress in rank through a progression of colored belts. Each of the belts signifies a betterment in technique and attitude. As one moves up in rank, their self-esteem is raised because they and everyone else around them can see the growth to a position of greater expertise and leadership.

*  Martial arts possess the ultimate symbol of achievement — earning a black belt. The rigors along the path toward a black belt reflect the hurdles in real life that one encounters along the path toward excellence. Martial arts students must demonstrate self discipline, persevere through hard training and reach high goals. Once the goal is reached, the black belt becomes symbolic of excellence in all areas of a child’s life.

*  Unlike team sports, martial arts is a personal journey. You are not compared with others. You go at your own pace.

*  Martial arts elevates students, bringing them out of their comfort zone and into the realm of excellence. If children are never nudged out of their comfort zone, they don’t have the opportunity to grow to the next level of self-esteem — that of taking risks and succeeding. Testing to reach the next belt level, competing in tournaments – these confidence-building opportunities can all be likened to real-life situations – giving a speech or performing in public that sadly cripple so many people.

It’s for all these reasons that, when I decided to write this report and make it available to parents throughout the United States, I concluded the best way for it to be distributed was through martial arts schools.

Therefore, you probably were made aware of this report as a result of the efforts of a martial arts school in your area that adheres to the principles of human potential I’ve outlined.

I’m obviously a big believer in martial arts as an activity that can build the self-esteem of many – if not most – children.

However, I also know that children can only develop true excellence in an activity they truly love. So, as I stated in step one of my three-step path to high self-esteem, you need to help your child discover those activities by introducing him or her to a great variety of them.

I want to make it as easy as possible for you to introduce your child to martial arts. So, here is the arrangement I’ve made with the martial arts school in your area with whom I’ve decided to work.

They will provide the following to you and your child:

1.  The opportunity to try martial arts firsthand — you, your child and the rest of your family are invited to a private, introductory session.

2. The chance to ask questions — you’ll want to be sure and get specific details on how that school will build and cultivate self-esteem for your child.

3. A trial period to help you assess whether martial arts is an activity suitable to help your child reach his or her personal potential.

To take advantage of this offer, just contact the martial arts school from whom you received this report and they will arrange for your initial orientation appointment.

How does that sound?

I sure hope you take advantage of this opportunity. Again, I’m a big believer in martial arts as an exceptional esteem-building activity for children so I really want you to try it out.

If you decide not to, that’s certainly fine, but please don’t give up on your pursuit to find an activity or activities for your child that they truly love and will help them gain the self-esteem that comes from making constant improvements in something they care about.

Don’t let poor self-esteem lock away your child’s potential. Enabling them to achieve – to dream big and succeed – will help them realize what maximum potential really means.


Here is your free report describing the many styles of martial arts (download PDF)

There are three main categories of martial arts — Japanese, Chinese, and Korean — and there are a few styles within each category.

The goal of this report is to provide an overview of the main categories of martial arts and a brief description of the various martial arts styles within each category.

Although people generally select a martial arts school for reasons other than style (e.g., reputation, location, character-development emphasis, family focus) it’s still good to have a general understanding of the martial arts before beginning a search for the best martial arts school for you.

Japanese Martial Arts

The development of martial arts in Japan was marked by some distinctive traits, namely, the influence of the samurai warrior tradition and the geography of Japan itself.

Both the samurai warrior structure and the caste system restricted the use of weapons by members of non-warrior castes. Originally, samurai were expected to be proficient in many weapons, as well as unarmed combat, and attain the highest possible mastery of combat skills. Over time, this purpose gave way to a philosophy of achieving spiritual goals by striving to perfect their martial arts skills.

This philosophical shift was possible because of Japan’s relative isolation. Compared with the rest of the world, Japanese tools of war evolved slowly. This afforded the warrior class the opportunity to study these tools, such as swords, and train in depth. This depth of training led to the development of many different styles and techniques.

Of these Japanese martial arts, the sword fighting martial art of Kendo is the oldest.

There is a distinction today between the traditional arts, which are a continuation of the ancient martial arts, and the modern arts, which focus primarily upon self-improvement of the practitioner (mental, physical and spiritual), as well as sport and self defense.

The enduring sport of sumo wrestling, which traces its origins to 23 B.C., still employs ancient traditions and rituals – the referee is dressed as a Shinto priest and the competitors engage in ceremonial acts such as throwing salt into the ring. Both reflect the role sumo wrestling had in the Shinto religion.

The main Japanese martial arts are jujitsu, aikido, judo and kendo.

* Jujitsu

Jujitsu is an ancient martial art that involves grappling techniques (its name translates literally into “the art of pliance”). It focuses on the ability to use indirect force, such as joint locks or throwing techniques, to defeat an opponent, as opposed to relying upon direct force such as punching or kicking.

While jujitsu training indeed includes kicking and punching, its focus is to maximize the ability to use an attacker’s force against him and counter-attack where he is weakest or least defended.

Today, jujitsu is practiced in many forms, both ancient and modern. While pure forms of jujitsu are still practiced today, various methods of jujitsu have been incorporated or synthesized into judo and aikido, as well as being exported throughout the world and transformed into sport wrestling systems. Elements of jujitsu have also been adopted in whole or part by schools of karate or other unrelated martial arts.

* Aikido

This martial art, developed by Morihei Ueshiba of Japan, is a synthesis of the founder’s martial arts studies, philosophy and religious beliefs. It is designed to be an art that can be used as self defense that does not inflict injury upon the attacker.

The techniques of aikido can, when applied judiciously, divert or immobilize rather than damage or kill. Aikido emphasizes redirecting the attacker’s energy, as opposed to meeting force with force.

Aikido consists primarily of body throws and joint-locking techniques. In addition to physical fitness and technique, mental training, controlled relaxation, and development of “spirit” (ki) are emphasized in aikido training.

Ueshiba developed aikido primarily during the late 1920s through the 1930s through the synthesis of the older martial arts that he had studied.

In aikido, as in virtually all the Japanese martial arts, there are both physical and mental aspects of training. The physical training in aikido is diverse, covering general physical fitness and conditioning, as well as specific techniques.

Because a substantial portion of any aikido curriculum consists of throws, the first thing most students learn is how to safely fall or roll. The specific techniques for attack include both strikes and grabs; the techniques for defense consist of throws and pins. After basic techniques are learned, students study freestyle defense against multiple opponents, and in certain styles, techniques with weapons.

Aikido incorporates elements of judo and jujitsu, among other Japanese martial arts. It is classified as a grappling style of martial arts. It is not an Olympic sport.

* Judo

Judo is one of only two martial arts that are Olympic sports (the other is tae kwon do). In judo, the object is to throw one’s opponent to the ground, immobilize or subdue the opponent by using a grappling maneuver, joint lock or choke. Unlike other martial arts, kicks, punches and thrusts are not allowed in competition or freestyle practice.

In English, judo is translated as “the gentle way” – instead of meeting force with force, this refers to the principle of using one’s opponent’s strength against him and adapting well to changing circumstances.

For example, if the attacker pushes against his opponent, he would find his opponent stepping to the side and allowing (often with the aid of a foot to trip him up) his momentum to throw him forwards (the inverse being true for pulling).

Judo throws employ leverage rather than pure strength; a competitor can pull an opponent off-balance or get below the opponent’s center of gravity to toss him or her to the ground.

This sport, developed by Kano Jigoro in the mid 19th century, has many similarities to the ancient art of jujitsu. But unlike older martial arts, which have the sole purpose of combat fighting, judo offers a holistic approach to life that extends far beyond martial arts training.

* Kendo

Its name means “way of the sword,” and this ancient martial art is over 650 years old. Practitioners use practice swords of bamboo, called shinai. They wear protective clothing that includes body padding, padded gloves and a mask with metal bars that protects the face. Attached to the mask are shoulder protectors that protrude up and over the shoulders.

The wide divided skirts, called hakama, allow fighters to move freely; the garment hides their leg movements, making it difficult for opponents to guess one another’s moves.

As in other martial arts, Kendo students learn various forms, called kata, and also participate in sparring or fencing competitions.

Chinese Martial Arts

China has one of the longest histories of continuously recorded martial arts tradition of any society in the world, with hundreds of varied styles. Each of these distinctive styles has its own set of techniques and ideas.

According to legend, the reign of the Yellow Emperor, Huangdi, introduced the earliest forms of martial arts to China. The Yellow Emperor is described as a famous general who, before becoming China’s leader around 2698 B.C., wrote lengthy treatises on medicine, astrology and the martial arts.

The missive “The Art of War,” written during the 6th century B.C. by Sun Tzu, deals directly with military warfare but contains ideas that pertain to the Chinese martial arts. Those examples show that over time, the ideas evolved and took on a philosophical tone.

Taoist practitioners have been practicing Tao Yin, physical exercises similar to early forms of Tai Chi Chuan, at least as early as the 500 B.C. era. The Taoist symbol of yin/yang shows how strength should be balanced with compassion and gentleness, a tenet of many forms of martial arts.

With regards to the Shaolin style of martial arts, the oldest evidence of Shaolin participation in combat are records from 728 A.D. that attests to two occasions: a defense of the Shaolin Monastery from bandits around 610 A.D. and their subsequent role in the defeat of Wang Shichong at the Battle of Hulao in 621 A.D. By the mid-16th century, military experts from all over China were traveling to Shaolin to study its fighting techniques. The 1,600-year-old Shaolin Temple is the most famous landmark in the martial arts world.

Chinese martial arts started to spread internationally with the end of the Chinese Civil War and the founding of the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949. Many well-known martial art practitioners chose to escape from the PRC’s rule and migrate to Taiwan, Hong Kong and other parts of the world.

Those masters started to teach within the overseas Chinese communities, but eventually they expanded their teachings to include people from other cultures.

Some famous practitioners of Chinese martial arts include Jackie Chan, Jet Li and the late Bruce Lee.

The term kung fu does not refer to a particular style of martial arts; it commonly refers to Chinese martial arts in general. The term became popular in the late 1960s, because of the Kung Fu TV series and Hong Kong films with Bruce Lee in particular.

The main Chinese martial arts are karate and tai chi.

* Karate

Karate, an amalgam of Chinese and Japanese martial arts, is known primarily as a striking art (it is translated from Japanese as “empty hand.”

It originated in the southernmost islands of Japan, the Ryukyu islands that were originally allied with China; Japan later took control of these islands. The largest of these islands is Okinawa. This martial art developed, therefore, with these distinct influences.

The sport features punching, kicking, knee/elbow strikes and open handed techniques. However, grappling, joint manipulations, locks, restraints/traps, throws and vital point striking also appear in karate.

It has many similarities to the Korean sport of tae kwon do. One note of distinction, however, is that tae kwon do uses more kicks, while karate has a greater emphasis on punches and strikes.

There are many components to modern karate training, including forms and sparring. It is an art, sport and self-defense training. Weapons comprise another important training area, as well as the psychological elements incorporated into a proper attitude such as perseverance, fearlessness, virtue and leadership skills.

Karate may be practiced for many reasons, but was originally developed for self defense. The forms, or kata, contain a variety of techniques intended for this purpose: hand strikes, kicks, locking and grappling. However, proper training is required to make these techniques usable against a determined aggressor.

Most styles include some form of two-person prearranged self-defense exercises as well as sparring or semi-sparring (structured sparring with limited options allowed for either partner). This allows for the development of a sense of range and timing. A number of styles practice hard-contact sparring.

Some schools are criticized for claiming to teach practical martial arts despite a lack of two-person training to develop needed attributes. An instructor may believe that practicing kata suffices to develop the necessary skills.

Other schools may intentionally place emphasis on tournament preparation, physical conditioning, or aesthetics (developing form for form’s sake), rather than self defense. These schools will typically still teach self-defense techniques as well.

* Tai Chi

Sometimes called “moving meditation,” tai chi has been regarded as a martial art and its traditional practitioners still teach it as one. It has developed a worldwide following among many thousands of people for purposes of health and longevity. Tai chi theory and practice is centered on the principles of traditional Chinese medicine. Its benefits include health maintenance and stress management.

Originally developed in China as a form of self defense, this graceful form of exercise has existed for about 2,000 years. Tai chi training first and foremost involves learning solo routines, known as forms. And while the image of tai chi in popular culture is typified by exceedingly slow movement, many styles (including the three most popular, yang, wu and chen) have secondary forms of a faster pace. The other half of traditional tai chi training (though many modern schools disregard it entirely) are partner exercises known as pushing hands, as well as martial applications of the postures of the form.

It’s becoming increasingly popular around the world, both as a basic exercise program and as a complement to other health care methods. According to the Mayo Clinic, health benefits include stress reduction, greater balance and increased flexibility — especially for older adults.

Korean Martial Arts

Martial arts have existed in Korea since the earliest ages, although they were lost for a time during the 20th century. Much of Korea’s martial heritage disappeared during the 1910-45 Japanese occupation of Korea, during which time the Japanese forbade the practice of Korean martial arts.

After the Japanese occupation, new Korean martial arts like hapkido and tae kwon do blossomed, and interest in Korea’s own ancient martial arts traditions grew. Today, tae kwon do is the national sport of South Korea.

Going back to ancient times, during the Goguryeo Dynasty (around the time of Christ) it is believed that subak (a general term for barehand martial arts imported from China), pronounced shoubo, was practiced. Paintings showing martial arts have been found on the walls of royal tombs, which were believed to been built for Goguryeo kings sometime between 3 and 427 B.C.

Subak is mentioned in government records from the Goguryeo Dynasty through the Joseon (or Yi) Dynasty, which lasted from 1392-1910. Practicing subak became part of the training for Silla’s hwarang warriors and this contributed to its spread on the Korean peninsula. But again, we do not know exactly which techniques the hwarang warriors practiced.

Quite often Buddhist monks, who added more spiritual aspects to the art, instructed the hwarang warriors. Their greatest contribution to the development of Korean martial arts is probably adding a spiritual dimension to the training practices, something that Korean martial arts lacked before.

In spite of Korea’s rich history of ancient and traditional martial arts, Korean martial arts faded into obscurity during the Joseon Dynasty. Martial arts were lowly regarded by the society’s scholar-kings. Remnants of traditional martial arts such as subak and taekyon were banned from practice by the general populace.

The art nearly vanished, but taekyon survived through underground teaching and folk custom. As the Japanese colonization established a firm foothold in Korea, the few Koreans who were able to attend Japanese universities were exposed to okinawan and Japanese martial arts. Koreans in China were also exposed to Chinese martial arts. By 1945, when the Korean peninsula was liberated from Japanese colonization, many martial arts schools reflecting foreign influence were formed and developed under various names.

By the end of the Korean War, nine martial arts schools (translated as kwan) had opened. These schools unified into one, “tae kwon do,” submitted by General Choi Hong Hi, a general in the South Korean army and the founder of the Oh Do Kwan, for the new unified form. Following tae kwon do’s official name submission on April 11, 1955, the Korean Taekwondo Association (KTA) was formed in 1959 to facilitate the unification. Shortly thereafter, tae kwon do made its debut in North America.

* Hapkido

With its flowing, circular movements and philosophy of non-resistance, hapkido bears striking resemblance to the Japanese martial art of aikido. In fact, hap means “harmony,” or “joining;” ki describes internal energy, strength, or power; and do means “way” or “art.” Thus, hapkido, which shares the same Chinese characters with aikido, translates as “the way of coordinated power.”

While some commentators claim hapkido has a Japanese lineage, others state that its origins lay with indigenous Korean martial arts.

On the “hard-soft” scale of martial arts, hapkido stands somewhere in the middle, employing “soft” techniques similar to aikido and “hard” techniques reminiscent of tae kwon do and forms of karate. Even the “hard” techniques, though, emphasize circular rather than linear movements.

Different hapkido schools emphasize different techniques — joint locks, pressure points, throws, kicks, and other strikes. However, some core techniques are found in each school (kwan), and all techniques should follow the three principles of hapkido, non-resistance, circular motion and the “water principle.”

Hwa, or non-resistance, is simply the act of remaining relaxed and not directly opposing an opponent’s strength. For example, if an opponent were to push against a hapkido student’s chest, rather than resist and push back, the hapkido student would avoid a direct confrontation by moving in the same direction as the push and utilizing the opponent’s forward momentum to throw him.

Won, the circular principle, is a way to gain momentum for executing the techniques in a natural and free-flowing manner. If an opponent attacks in linear motion, as in a punch or knife thrust, the hapkido student would redirect the opponent’s force by leading the attack in a circular pattern, thereby adding the attacker’s power to his own. Once he has redirected the power, the hapkido student can execute any of a variety of techniques to incapacitate his attacker. The hapkido practitioner learns to view an attacker as an “energy entity” rather than as a physical entity. The bigger the person is, the more energy a person has, the better it is for the hapkido student.

Yu, the water principle, can be thought of as the soft, adaptable strength of water. Hapkido is “soft” in that it does not rely on physical force alone, much like water is soft to touch. It is adaptable in that a hapkido master will attempt to deflect an opponent’s strike, in a way that is similar to free-flowing water being divided around a stone only to return and envelop it.

* Tae Kwon Do

Tae kwon do is one of the most widely practiced martial arts in the world. It is one of two martial arts represented at the Olympics (judo is the other one).

As with many other martial arts, tae kwon do is a combination of combat technique, self defense, sport, exercise, entertainment, and philosophy. It developed after the end of the Japanese occupation of Korea in 1945 and quickly spread throughout the world after the Korean War, which ended in 1953.

Although there are great doctrinal and technical differences among tae kwon do organizations, the art in general emphasizes kicks thrown from a mobile stance, using the leg’s greater reach and power to disable the opponent from a distance. Tae kwon do training also includes a comprehensive system of blocks, punches, open-handed strikes, various take-downs or sweeps, throws, and some joint locks.

Tae kwon do distinguishes itself from martial arts such as karate by its emphasis on kicking instead of the reliance on hand techniques of these other martial arts. Tae kwon do practitioners believe that the leg is the longest and strongest weapon a martial artist has, and kicks thus have the greatest potential to execute powerful strikes without successful retaliation.

Although only sparring is contested in the Olympics, breaking and forms are also contested frequently in other competitions. All three are parts of a traditional tae kwon do curriculum, with a fourth part being hosinsul (self defense). Olympic-style sparring consists of three non-stop rounds of contact with rest in between.

Tae kwon do as a sport and exercise is popular with people of both sexes and of many ages. Physically, tae kwo ndo develops strength, speed, balance, flexibility, and stamina. An example of the union of mental and physical discipline is the breaking of boards, which requires both physical mastery of the technique and the concentration to focus one’s strength.


Here is your free report on how to help your child further develop their self-esteem (download PDF)

Does your child possess a healthy sense of confidence? Answer yes if your child makes friends easily, accepts leadership opportunities and displays a bright, positive attitude.

But if your child is timid, shy and passive, with few friends and little initiative, your child needs help now.

The problems start small, a child who can’t interact with his or her peers or won’t look an adult in the eye. As a child grows these problems do too and before long this child is the target of bullies, prone to peer pressure and withdrawn in the classroom. Kids like this are called painfully shy for good reason.

A child with self-confidence problems needs to improve his or her self-esteem. In this report, we’ll share some ideas on how this can be done.

First, let’s review the five common problems your child may encounter

1. Timid and shy

Children who are quiet and unassertive find it difficult to interact with both peers and adults. They can find themselves overlooked in both school and social settings.

It is difficult for such children to break out of their shell in order to build friendships and gain leadership skills, both essential qualities for personal development.

2. Loner, not a leader

Shyness and a lack of self confidence force children onto the sidelines and away from the action.

Children who fail to participate in activities do not allow their skills to develop, further lowering their self-esteem and insecurity.

Leadership in particular is a quality that must be learned. Children who are not encouraged to build this skill lose out on this powerful opportunity.

3. Bully magnet

As a parent, there is nothing more agonizing than knowing your child is suffering from the emotional abuse of a bully.

If you too were bullied as a child, you know yourself that the scars can take a lifetime to heal.

Sadly, children who are quiet, shy and unassuming tend to get bullied. For such children, it is essential that they turn their attitude around and learn the steps they must take to avoid this problem.

4. Hesitant to try new things

Children can view new experiences as exciting challenges or as insurmountable barriers. It’s all in the attitude.

The fear of failure is a powerful deterrent to trying new things and gaining new skills. It contributes to feelings of low self-esteem.

If a child is easily overwhelmed, it’s important to introduce new concepts and experiences step by step.

5. Caves into peer pressure

Do you worry that your child might be saying “yes” when he or she should be saying “no?”

A child needs tremendous strength and good character to avoid the dangers and temptations that young people encounter in today’s society.

If you suspect your child is in with the wrong crowd, don’t wait until it is too late to help them build the character they need.

We have the solutions!

There are many ways of addressing the problems of insecurity and shyness. Our extensive work with kids of all ages tells us these methods are most effective:


Every great success starts with one important factor — enough faith in yourself to get the job done.

With that firm foundation, truly anything is possible.

Building a child’s confidence is all about personal empowerment, giving them the chance to succeed and acknowledging that success.

From there, the sky’s the limit.


Confidence that shows — that’s how we define a good attitude.

A bright smile, a firm handshake, a straight posture and a strong voice project confidence.

Peers and teachers take notice of children with a winning attitude. It is greatly important, therefore, to be friendly and helpful, both at home and at school.


We all want our children to become leaders. But how exactly can we get it done?

Helping around the house and volunteering in the community are some places to start. As they master tasks and chores, their responsibility will also grow.

Few of us are natural born leaders. It is a skill that must be learned through experience. The essential key then, is to give a child the opportunity to become a leader.

Action Plan

It’s not very useful to tell a child to avoid a bully if you can’t tell the child how to do so.

Children need to understand there is a very specific course of action to be taken in dangerous situations.

Does your child know exactly what to do if he or she is being harassed by a bully? Do they know what to do if approached by a stranger?

If you have specific instructions, discuss them with your child on occasion. In cases like this, knowledge is indeed power.

Martial arts can help!

It’s one thing to hold the keys to helping your child build confidence. It’s another thing to start the motor and make it happen.

Many of these time-tested principles are difficult for parents to implement alone. They take time, effort and constant reinforcement.

Here’s where martial arts can help. The group dynamics, our positive approach and our strong moral code help foster the skills that will last a lifetime.

Martial arts builds confidence

If your child is shy, it might be hard to imagine him or her putting on a uniform, stepping onto the mat and learning martial arts.

Martial arts instructors understand this fear and can turn such experiences into powerful lessons of empowerment.

Martial arts instructors undergo extensive training. They know how to build an excellent rapport by offering plenty of praise and encouragement.

It is their job to bring out the best in every child.

Martial arts deters bullies

Martial arts schools teach children exactly how to make the bullying stop — and it doesn’t involve fighting. Martial arts builds confidence.

Along with the martial arts skills, children learn how to deflect verbal and physical confrontation through role-playing exercises and guidelines.

Martial arts students learn how to be in control during such situations — on the playground, bullies get the message.

Martial arts is the right stuff

Confident, strong and happy — we all have a strong vision of how we want our children to turn out.

The decisions we make today have great bearing on our children’s futures. A child who is insecure today is susceptible to negative peer pressure in the future.

Martial arts provide positive experiences for children and offers tangible goals and rewards that help them stay focused.

Having strong, positive role models — from the instructors to the higher-ranking students — helps reinforce the values parents are working to teach at home.

We call it a black-belt attitude. It is both our goal and our code of conduct.

If you’d like to learn more about how martial arts can improve your child’s self confidence, please contact us and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.

First Aid Courses Now Available!

Phoenix Black Belt Academy is proud to announce we are now offering Medic First Aid courses! This course is a one day event that will offer basic skills to respond to injuries and emergency situations. There is accreditation for adults 18 years old and over that is internationally recognized for two years, and for those younger, an excellent first step for emergency first aid care knowledge. Call now if you are interested in this valuable skill for yourself or anyone in your family!

Leadership Seminar Jan 19

Sign up now if you are a Red or Black Belt for our ongoing Leadership Seminar Series! This Level 1 and 2 event is designed to help foster skills necessary for becoming an Assistant Instructor and it qualifies for 5 assist hours towards your Black Belt requirements. This seminar will be co-hosted by Claudette Dumuolin, a certified Life Coach to bring her years of experience in friendship and team building. Sign up now as space is limited!



Little Tigers Performance

Our Little Tigers age 4-5 year old Ninjas wowed the audience at our semi-annual Black Belt Awards Ceremony. They have worked hard to perfect a short routine that displays their skill and confidence in front of more than 300 cheering families and friends. Well done Tigers!

Advanced Belt Testing

Well done to all our advanced belts that successfully completed your belt testing. You are all a great inspiration to the rest of our students!

Great Job Red Belts!
Blue Belts were amazing!

050 203 5962 / 050 765 2502
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