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Mental Preparation Does Not Replace Physical Performance It Maximizes it

“A Simple Way to Maximize Performance”

One of the most frustrating experiences is the circle of work without progress.  Work daily, see no growth, repeat indefinitely then die.  This frustrating cycle is experienced by businesses who consistently produce the same income, athletes who are in slumps, and soon to be brides who are trying to lose the last five pounds.  One step forward, shuffle back.  Put more water in the bucket, oh crap there is a hole in it.

This feeling of the circle is a time for awakening and recognition.  This feeling is being created because you are at the end of your comfort zone.  Now before you yell, Duh! Consider this.  It’s only frustrating because you want to change and grow.  This feeling of frustration is actually ambition in disguise.  Ambition is the hammer that smashes the circle.

Frustration is a negative force that puts you in a constant holding pattern.  Where as ambition is a powerful optimistic force that pushes you to new levels of excellence.  These two emotions are in fact the same weapon but to maximize results you have to remember to “stick ‘em with the pointy end”.

When you take three minutes to mentally prepare before working out you super charge your momentum to break through past limitations.  When you take a moment to get yourself in the mood to do your work, you empower your message so it makes a bigger impact.  Three minutes of mental preparation can prevent years of being stuck.

Next let’s talk about fatigue points.  These brick walls you hit prevent your growth and must be prepared for.  They can also be dangerous because they can begin to create an identity.  You grow your business to size x and start to say things like, “Businesses can’t grow in this economy.” “The market isn’t buying right now.”  “My community is too small, too big, too rich, has too much competition ect…”. Justifying the edge of the circle strengthens the circle and continues to hold you in its grasp.  When fatigue points become beliefs and justifications it’s not just time to change the oil.  It’s time for an upgrade.

As a part of your mental preparation which consists of I like statements followed by faith statements, throw in a recognition of fatigue points and a strategy to overcome them.  Sounds like this.

Athlete (I like statements) – I like training, I love to move with speed and power, I like to feel healthy and strong.  Etc…

(Faith statements) – I’m ready to grow and to get even stronger.  I’m going to make the play happen today.  I feel ready, prepared and strong.  Send me really tough competition so I can show you my absolute best talent.

(Fatigue points) I know in the past I have gotten tight if I missed a play.  Today is different.  If I get scored on today I will recognize quickly what my opponent has done.  I will have learned his technique and he will not be able to use that against me again.

Business Pro (I like statements). I like having my own business.  I like my team the people I work with are talented, I like facing this current challenge because it means growth is on the way etc…

(Faith statements) I know I can solve this.  I know the market needs our help.  I know our concept is good and can help people.  I know that I have solved big problems in the past and I can do it again here.

(Fatigue points) In the past when questioned by some of my employees I have gotten defensive.  I know this energy crushes creativity and I won’t play that card anymore.  Instead I’m not going to defend my plan.  I will be open to new ideas and give freedom and responsibility to team members who want to prove their ideas will work.

Busy Parent (I like statements) I’m glad to have the opportunity to have my family so active.  I like seeing my kids having a good time.  It’s nice to get out of the house.  I like that I will have time at the practice to read my book.

(Faith statements) I know I can get this to do list done.  It will be nice to clear this out.  I can get all the paperwork done in less than 30 minutes.  All of this that I’m doing is really great for my family and because of that for me.

(Fatigue points). I know when the traffic gets bad I worry about being on time, solution… good music leave 10 minutes early.  My kids complaining, solution… take 30 second to talk about how cool its going to be (think from their point of view not mine). Gotta get Jacks grades up.  Solution…

Three minutes of preparation can prevent your from spending years in the circle.

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Four Rules for Getting Students to Higher Levels of Excellence

High Performing Students

Martial arts instructors want the best for their students. It’s our job and our mission to help those around us reach higher levels of intensity and productivity.  We create drills and lesson plans to help our students but don’t over look these four very important rules for helping others become their very best.

#1 Find and Promote the Good

Make what is bigger.  What I mean by this is that its easier to improve focus if the individual already believes he can learn.  It’s easier to encourage intensity if the student already knows she is a hard worker.  A good instructor is going to be aware of what detail must be corrected and what change needs to be made.  A great instructor will know the improvements that need to occur and will be able to promote the student as someone who can achieve those levels of performance.

#2 Let the Student Make Mistakes

If you have teenagers you know how hard it is to watch them make mistakes that you had once made without saying “don’t do that… don’t go there… don’t hang out with that guy he is a wet mess…”. However, you made those mistakes and you learned.  Mistakes are a part of the learning process.  It’s entirely okay (and actually effective) to let the student do the move and wobble.  Jumping in to correct every detail can overwhelm the student and create paralysis by analysis.

As a tip try explaining to the student how the technique will feel when they get it right and give them time to try to find the correct feeling.  For example – When you counter punch correctly you will feel as if the block and the counter are only one move.  When you complete the throw correctly you will feel as if you are lifting a very light weight.  When you throw the kick properly you will feel a connection of energy that starts in the floor travels through your core and ends at the end of your kick.  These types of statements will get the student to think deeply about the movement and will encourage discovery and curiosity.

#3 Set Up the Environment

Make sure you do everything you can to promote a safe and exciting training environment.  Play high energy music, celebrate success and encourage team support.  Use great equipment and implement unique training tools.  Keep you academy and yourself immaculate.  Welcome students and parents.  Look around your school and make sure you can say, “I love this place, I’m proud to be working here.”

#4 Be Great

You can not inspire happiness from depression.  You can’t develop strength in others if you don’t have strength yourself.  Train outside of your comfort zone.  Challenge yourself by taking the next step as a martial artist, business owner, teacher.  This means pushing through excuses and justifications and even current truths.  Do you use statements like… I can’t because of (fill in the blank with favorite excuse).  I tried that and it didn’t work.  My team won’t listen to what I say.  Or the heavy weight champion of excuses… “I can’t afford it.”

It’s up to you to find a way to succeed.  Of course all of the ducks are not in a row right now, if they were you would already have what you desire.  Your work is getting the ducks to line up in height order and say “sir” when you call set.

If you want to inspire power, hit hard.  If you want to encourage work ethic then set a goal and achieve it on time.  If you desire to inspire desire then have big dreams for yourself and a big vision for your academy.  If you want to inspire wealth and abundance, buy a yacht.  If you want to inspire creativity then stop reading this article and plan an unbelievable class that will blow your students away.

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3 Quick Tips on Communicating with Parents

Don’t underestimate the power of rapport.  For a parent who drives to class (during rush hour) twice a week and then pays the bill for lessons each month, its easy to see why they might want to take a break from martial arts class.  This is where good communication makes all of the difference.  Use these three tips to keep in rapport so you will keep your retention rate high.

#1 Sincere Praise

A parent can sniff out false praise, generic praise and forced praise.  You need to become an expert at sincere praise.  This is not done in your waiting room or at the front door as the parent is about to leave.  It’s done on the floor.  When you are watching the class spend the vast majority of your time looking for the good in your students.  What are they really good at?  What do I like most about their attitude?  Who has stepped up their effort today?  Who is leading by example?  Who is making corrections?  Who is concentrating and tapping into deep practice?  This type of thinking has a positive vibe that your students and parents will feel.

#2 Associate a Character Trait

Once you have noticed the students who are worthy of praise and have identified the behavior that is worthy of praise the next step is to link that behavior to a character trait.  This is important step must not be ignored.  A parent often does not know what is happening on a martial arts floor because they are not feeling what the student doing the drill is feeling.  They don’t know if their child is feeling confidence, they just see them moving deliberately.  They don’t know if their teen is feeling their self worth grow they only see them breaking a piece of pine with their foot.  An instructor should communicate the character development that is occurring so the parent can start to empathize with the progress their valued family member is making.

“Your daughters confidence is growing, she partnered up with the biggest kid”

“Paz is detail orientated and ambitious, she always asks me for homework”

“Garret is a compassionate young man.  He always trains at a safe pace with others.”

#3 Every class – Everyday

I forget to do this sometimes.  So does my staff.  We all need reminding.  Do this every class – Every day.  Without exception.  Don’t beat yourself up if you forgot yesterday, but do it today in every class.  It’s these small (seemingly insignificant) gestures that keep people from hurting themselves, hurting others or giving up.  It’s these small (seemingly insignificant) gestures that create confidence, attract power and move the momentum forward.

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Three Cures for Disrespectful Teens

The Key to Working with Teens Starts by Understanding How They Think

For me martial arts training was a real privilege.  I loved martial arts so much that my parents used it as there favorite take away if I was not behaving well.

Parent – “No more video games”

Me – “So what.”

Parent – “No martial arts until you get your grades up.”

Me – “I’ll go study.”

If you are an instructor or owner of a martial arts academy then your passion and enthusiasm were likely on par with mine.  You may however have teens that are not ‘little soldiers’ when you call “Ready Stance”. These simple three cures can make a big difference in getting your teens to perform at there very best.

Cure #1 Pace the Class

It can be a real challenge (and in some cases impossible) to shift your emotions from one extreme to another.  Going from fear to confidence is a bit of a jump.  This is true with teens.  The average teen wants to look cool, have friends and be well liked by peers.  They feel nervous about doing anything that will make them stick out (in a negative way) in the crowd.  Ed Parker would stress the importance of analyzing the situation from three view points; yours, the opponent and a neutral party.  So you know your view point consider the teens, then consider what the parent might be thinking when they watch your class.

Do not turn this into a good guy bad guy thing or a I’m right, they are wrong.  Seeing things from their point of view will pay big in the long term.  Once your realize going from cool to respectful is a big jump you can get on your students side and bridge the gap from these two extremes.  Cool – Curious – Interested – Fun and Excited – Respectful

Cure #2 Feedback

Praise your students – Start to form a new habit.  Every time you ask your students to do something after they do the work give some type of praise.  Every single time.  Push ups…. Good set.  Wall kicks… Wow Steve your kick is getting up there.  Self defense… Nice work everyone that was excellent control.  Every single time you ask for work to be done, be willing to praise when the work is done.

Praise sincerely – I’m not suggesting false feedback.  If the teen throws a weak kick with almost no effort it’s ok (and very effective) to say, “ok thats a start.”  The praise is what matters.  The good energy creates a momentum that will make your class more fun to teach and more fun to take.

Praise in levels – Get really excited when your students perform really well.  Don’t be afraid to celebrate (or even get teary eyed) when a student really shines.  What? You expect me to cry in my class?  If you are living with passion, then sometimes your eyes leak.

Cure #3 Talk to them like adults

Teens don’t want to feel like little kids.  Talk to them like adults.  Expect adult behavior.  We have a real advantage on this because we are teaching people how to fight.  Violence is an adult topic, one that requires a level of maturity and responsibility.  It also requires a level of discipline, and intensity.  It requires a real approach and has life and death consequence.  “Do a technique wrong you can end up in a box.  Loose your self control and you can end up in a cage.”  I don’t mind talking like that to my teens.

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How to Help Kids Develop Strong Work Habits

Developing Positive Work Habits

At Competitive Edge we are running a home practice exercise this month to help our students form the habit of self-discipline. We believe that if children learn at a young age to take responsibility for their actions and their results they will be better equipped as adults to create an abundant life.

Let me encourage you to do this exercise for the entire month. Help your children form the habit of daily focused consistent work. To help you here are a few tips.

A Burning Desire Matters

The worksheet allows the child to decide which technique they want to practice. It is important they pick the skill because it creates passion. Without a sincere burning desire nothing of quality can be done.

Put the Important Work On Schedule

The worksheet has the child decide on a schedule of when to practice. We want to teach children to focus on their goals. As adults you understand how easy it is to be distracted by the urgent. If children learn to put important work on the schedule and stay on that schedule they will develop focus.

How You Feel Shouldn’t Stop You

The child is to score his motivation from 1 (no motivation) to 5 (totally fired up). If they complete this practice exercise for 30 days they will not always feel like practicing. Those are the most important days to practice. If they improve their martial arts ability when they don’t feel like it they are forming very strong habits.


If you didn’t get your work sheet go to student section, worksheets, power freedom back pdf.


Happy Kicking

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Don’t Eat that it’s Disgusting

You’re at a family reunion and walking down the buffet with your closest relative. You reach for a dish and she says, don’t eat that it’s disgusting. You respect her judgment and quickly move onto another dish.

This story creates a good analogy for the ‘Pain is Unnecessary’ lesson.

By associating pain to the project, task, exercise or meal, the individual is less likely to enter into the effort with the right mindset of accomplishment.

Pain does not have to be a part of creation. Hard work, struggle, sacrifice, toil, and suffering do not have to be a part of the equation that leads to achievement. If fact, when you add pain to the ingredients what you find is a meal that is disgusting.

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Can Children Become Leaders?

Boldness is unique bravery.

Some people take action to spite fear. They don’t like fear and they don’t want to be controlled by fear. So when they feel fear they act anyways.

Some people take action only for reward. They measure everything they do with the value they will receive from doing it. If the reward is not great enough they don’t start. If the reward is not received quick enough they don’t finish.

Others take action because of fear. They are so afraid of what will happen if they don’t act, they are moved to move.

A rare few are aware of their talents and see an opportunity to apply those talents to add value to the world. They act out of joy, passion, ability and a sincere desire to make something better, right a wrong or break the hold of evil. I label these individuals the bold. This trait is so rare that when others see it they are drawn in.

Do you understand?

A parent or leader who can balance the honesty to state the facts of a limitation, with the pride of true talents will inspire boldness. The bold child will lead.  Can we help?