Karate students learning leadership in Ashburn

9 Leadership Life Skills Our Kids Need to Learn!

In Coaching, Kids Martial Arts Classes, Leadership by Don Alley

Taught by the right instructor, martial arts classes can be SO much more than just kicking and punching and self defense. My instructor changed my life with these lessons, and I strive to do the same for my students. Here are 9 LIFE SKILLS that we teach in our classes on a weekly basis:

  1. Hurry up and fail! Often, the people most successful at what they do aren’t incredibly talented…they’re just incredibly stubborn. They recognize that failing is part of the learning process, and they don’t let “failure” derail them. They welcome it.
  2. YOU choose your friends, not the other way around. We become like those we hang around. Are you friends hard workers? Do they have goals? Are they respectful? Do they have integrity? As an adult, I can count my friends on one hand. But that’s okay with me. We share the same values, and we inspire each other to grow and soar.
  3. Decide what you want. Write it down. Take massive action. Having goals makes all the difference in the world. Our goals drive our behavior. We will run more consistently, longer, and faster, if we’re training for a race like a 5 or 10K. Our kids will be more focused in school if they have a goal to get a good report card, and understand WHY they want it. And our students ALWAYS train harder in class when they are motivated by earning a black belt, or learning how to teach. Goals drive us. So it’s important that we give our kids an outlet where they can constantly be encouraged to set goals, and then achieve them. And then that behavior starts to become ingrained in who they are. And for the rest of their lives, they think like a black belt. They think like an achiever.
  4. Do the right thing because it’s the right thing. If someone is watching you, do the right thing. If no one is watching you, do the right thing. Being an honorable human being starts with the choices we make when no one is watching. When we train in martial arts, regardless of if an instructor is watching, we push ourselves. We maintain integrity in our training.
  5. Treat everyone the same way. Respectfully and with compassion. Imagine a world where we all respected each other, and where we were all kind to one another. A world where we gave each other the benefit of the doubt, and a world where even if we disagreed, we remained civil. That kind of world is possible, and starts with us, treating people that way. With respect, and with compassion.
  6. Be a good finder! It’s easy to tell someone what they’re doing wrong. As a leader, we should strive to point out what they’re doing RIGHT! People will do more of what they are praised for. Be good finders.
  7. Leadership is influence, not position. Age makes no difference. Title makes no difference. True leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less. And as martial artists, we strive to be a leader by setting the right example…at home, in school, and in our community. Don’t tell, show.
  8. Yes I Can! How we communicate with ourselves matters. When you approach a new karate technique, a new math problem, or a new challenge at work, what is your default self-talk? Do you sabotage your success with doubt, or do you get in state, and confidently tell yourself “YES I CAN!”?
  9. Great Questions, Great Answers. Poor Questions, Poor Answers. Why is this happening to me? What am I grateful for? What is wrong with me? How can I learn from this? Why does she always ____? How can I improve my _____? We get answers to the questions we ask ourselves. Be mindful of our self-talk.

Life Skills Make ALL The Difference in Martial Arts Classes!

These  themes above are part of our weekly Leadership Life Skill portion of class. Every week, we pause our classes, and bring students in for a discussion on what it means to be a leader. What it means to do the right thing. How to think about ourselves and treat others. And it’s my favorite part of class. And we do this week after week to ensure that our students GET IT.

As a parent myself, I think you’ll agree with me–sometimes our kids listen to us. Sometimes they don’t. When I started teaching my son martial arts, after a few weeks, it became obvious that I needed to enroll him somewhere else. I wanted him to learn, but I realized I wasn’t the one to teach him. So I signed him up with a friend. And then he soared.

Sometimes, it helps to have SOMEONE ELSE teaching our kids. Especially driving home important lessons like this, week after week.

Want your child or family to hear lessons like this 1-2 times per week, all while they are having fun, getting fit, and learning how to defend themselves? Grab one of our vouchers below! And I’ll see you in class!

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Don Alley
Don Alley is the owner and chief instructor at Super Kicks Karate in Ashburn and Leesburg, and has been training in the martial arts for 28 years. He is currently a 6th degree black belt, and has dedicated the entirety of his adult life to teaching children and families martial arts. He is also the owner of Center Stage Preschool, a Montessori-based, performing arts preschool; and co-founder of Testudo Addiction Recovery, a non-profit organization serving families in the Northern Virginia area.