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Martial Arts Instructors always talk about the Body, mind and Spirit of a student…

The Body is the Easiest and hence the First thing to Improve.

We have all heard the Body, Mind and Spirit talks from both Real Martial Artists and the various actors in nearly every martial art movie ever made. The reason it is always mentioned is because it is a Fundamental Truth in what we do, no matter what style you learn or teach.

My opinion is that while all three areas have equal importance, I feel the body is the first place to start.

Look at it this way? A smart kid with a strong spirit but a weak body is unlikely to beat a bully in a pushing match. But a strong kid who lacks focus and spirit when put in the same position may still land a lucky punch and save his bacon.

Of course the other two areas are important but for this month I want to focus on the strengthening the body.

I have included two more Strength Games for Kids in this Newsletter to help you get your kids physically prepared for your training. I want to help you get them stronger, it?s up to you to teach them how and when to use that strength.

A long, long time ago in a school far, far away I was once a little kid. My school was about 50% Maori, Tongan and Polynesian kids. As a small white kid that can be intimidating. I?m 6ft2in and 95kg now but back then I was one of the smallest in my class, a real late bloomer.

The kids in my school liked to fight a a hobby. They didn?t just punch the other kids they didn?t like, they also beat up their own friends to prove who was the best.

I guess I was lucky back then because I didn?t look like a challenge the few times I did have to fight I?d out wrestle and choke them to submit. (a special thanks to both of my Grandfathers for teaching me those skills.)

But there was another white guy in my class that Never Ever got picked on. He was short, not overly popular, and didn?t try to make friends with any of the tough guys. He never tried to start anything but he also never took any shit from the bigger kids.

The reason no-one ever took him on was because he used to have fun impressing us with simple demos of strength. At lunch he would grab his giant granny smith apple in both hands and simply tear it in half. We all thought that was nothing until we realized none of us could do it, not even king of the school tough guys.

When we would play on the jungle gym, swinging around on the bars, doing chin-up comps with our friends he would be doing single arm chin-ups. Again, none of us could do a single arm chin-up.

Another time we were all sitting around on the grass in a circle cross legged and all of a sudden he decides to show off by putting his hands on the ground, raising his legs off the ground and gracefully transitions into a perfect hand stand and walks off on his hands. We all tried that too of course and never got past half way without falling backwards or face planting the ground.

The thing is, none of us ever saw him fight. We had no idea if he could fight or not. He may have been crap, he may have been lethal, but we never found out. No one even asked him, let alone tried taking him on.

The tough guys never bothered him because they never knew what might happen. Everybody knew that they didn?t want him to grab a hold of you with those hands.

None of us knew if he could fight but we all imagined the damage he would do to someone once he got hold of them. He strength was frightening and it kept him safe all the way through his school years.

His Dad had taught him how to get strong by simple body weight exercises and isometric resistance. His Dad didn?t let him start lifting weights till he was 15yo. The stories I mentioned above were things he did as a 10-11yo.

I wish I had taken more notice of the things he had shown me back then, but he was the only person who did them. All the magazines and people on TV talked about lifting weights. It seems obvious now that he was all the proof I should have needed to convince me that what his dad taught him was simply awesome.

So, back to your kids? Strength is only 1 of the 4 pillars that create a great Martial Artist. Body, Mind, Spirit and Consistent Practice will set them apart from the many who start this journey.

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– Aaron Perry

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