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Innovative Martial Arts
15-1599 Dugald Rd
Winnipeg, MB

11 Things to Build Confidence in Children

October is National Bullying Prevention Month. And the choice of words matters. Prevention is different than awareness. Building awareness is not needed, we know how bullying works and how to deal with it.

Bullying, is not an action. It’s not punching, or name calling, or social media.

It’s a mentality.

Bullying is intentional and repetitive, it’s about creating a power imbalance to make one person feel lesser with the “Bully” attempting to make themselves feel more powerful at the expense of the victim.

The reason October is called a “prevention” month and not a “awareness” month is that bullying can be solved. We have the cure!

The cure is building confidence in children. Confident children are bully-proof. Confident kids don’t become bullies.

Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your point of view children are much less independent now than they where in previous generations. Their lives are more structured, more supervised and they are rarely without the presence of an adult.

As a result anxiety levels can go up, confidence levels can go down and bullying levels increase.

What kids need is independence, autonomy and a sense of being able to contribute.

So here are some things that we feel every kid should learn:

Swimming - Basic swimming skills should be something everyone learns.

Cooking - The ability to feed yourself should be something everyone has. It can also help with dealing with picky eaters, giving them choice and being able to be a part of the process will lead to more willingness to try new things in many cases.

Talk to Strangers - Simply going up to a till and making a purchase on their own, interacting with a cashier. Ordering their own food in a restaurant, little things can go along way. With Halloween coming up let them ring the bell, knock on the door and yell “Trick-or-Treat” and say thank you at every house. In one evening they can talk to a whole bunch of strangers.

Take care of a pet - The act of taking care of a something, regardless of what it is (dog, cat, fish, hamster, etc) gives a sense of being needed and important to something else survival.

Learn how to Lose - Kids need to lose, not just win. In life it’s how we handle our loses and how we deal with adversity that determines our success of failure. Whether it’s in sports, games or anything else… they need to lose as well as win.

Basic First Aid - How to clean a scratch and put a band aid on if needed. But being able to treat their own minor bumps and scratches then carry on with what they where doing.

Teach Someone - Even teaching someone to play a board game, teaching someone something shows them that they can know things others don’t and are able to transfer that knowledge.

Learn Jiu-Jitsu / Wrestle - Wrestling, grappling, Jiu-Jitsu, whatever it is called is an important part of development, something we are now starting to see science to back the importance of. It's vigorous, free-form, whole-body, energetic, happy play. Kids learn decision-making skills, relieve stress, improve their ability to read social cues, and enhance their cardio-vascular health.

Create a game - Board game, physical game, any sort of game. Understanding that games (and life) has a set of rules and success comes from playing within those rules. Rules are what make games work, and what makes them fun.

Speak to a Group - Like a lot of things on the list this is something that can be really simple. Speaking to a group of friends to thank them for coming at a birthday party, but bonus points if it’s not just people they know.

Make a Video - Youtube is here to stay, and they will hit an age where they probably want to be a youtuber. So let them make a video, (you can add privacy setting if you want), send it to family and friends and let them get some likes and views.

And a small favour - What's something you do with, or have your child do to help them build confidence?


Importance of Individual Accomplishment

The Martial Arts come in all different types and philosophies. Everything from Boxing to Wrestling to Tai Chi to Jiu-Jitsu to Kung Fu.

Some are used to put on shows, some are used for competition, some are used for health, and most are used for some combination of reasons.

One thing they all have in common is a sense of individual accomplishment.

The world today for kids is very different from the one 30 years ago. I grew up in a time without the internet, when "be home before the street lights come on" was a common rule... not something that would get CFS called on you by nosey neighbours.

Now kids are much more scheduled and supervised. We walked to school alone in grade 1... now there are debates on whether kids should be doing that in grade 5.

So it's no surprise that anxiety rates are on the rise. Confidence comes from learning to do things by yourself, accomplishing things by yourself, and solving problems by your self. Sometimes its possible to help a child too much, because if they had been allowed to fail a few times before getting it independently it would mean a lot more to them. Doing it for them just sends the message that they can't do it alone.

In Jiu-Jitsu they have to do it alone.

Yes, we teach them technique and strategy. We tell them what to do in different situations. But at the end of the day, when they are in a match it is them and the other person. They will win some, and they will lose just as much, usually more when they are starting out.

Real confidence can't be achieved through any activity unless there is a real chance of failing. And the confidence gained after success follows a series of failures means a lot more.

Jiu-Jitsu isn't easy. They will tap out a lot, everyone does. But through that adversity they will gain a sense of confidence and achievement that will stick for life.

Kids can't even learn to walk without falling down many times. Sometimes we need to let them fall, and more importantly let them get up again by themselves.


Sugar and Kids Lunches

At this point we all know too much sugar is bad, especially for kids.

That said, sugar is not “bad”, it’s one of our primary sources of energy and naturally occurs in pretty much any fruit or vegetable to some degree.

In fact the biggest culprit for High sugar foods is corn. A massive amount of the added sugar we eat comes from corn, in the form of High Fructose Corn Syrup. But corn itself, natural and healthy.

This is why it’s always important to look at the nutrition labels of prepared food, as they can be really deceiving, especially on fruit snacks marketed at kids.

Here is an example in the pictures, a Sun-Rype Fruit-2-Go bar. The label is bright and features fruit, it is marketed as 100% fruit… as well as gluten free since that’s currently trendy, and vegan which definitely makes it sound healthy. By all frontal appearances this is marketed as a healthy snack.

However when you flip it over something definitely stands out. This is a 14 gram bar… containing 11 grams of sugar. Which puts it on the level with most candies, and far more sugar then a similar quality of chocolate.

Sugar occurs naturally, and eaten in its natural form it, and you can get concentrated sugar from any fruit source all while claiming it is completely natural and 100% fruit.

Schools back, and lunches need packed, but check those labels as the front of the box can be deceiving.

Beginner Info

What is Jiu-Jitsu? (and why you should do it)

Martial Arts come in many, many different flavours. Yet we find most people don’t really understand the differences in them. So what exactly is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

On the surface they can look sort of similar, lots of very different martial arts where similar uniforms based off of the original Judo / Jiu-Jitsu uniform. Same as Hockey, Basketball and baseball all have a similar looking jersey at first glance.

The uniform we wear was designed to be grabbed, pulled, used for throws, controlling and attacking and strong enough to withstand all that. It was thick, strong and a single piece of material with no seems from one sleeve to the other. Other styles like karate and TKD borrowed the general design, but used a lighter material and seams as they didn’t need to be as sturdy for a punching / kicking based style.

And that is one fundamental feature of Jiu-Jitsu, it is a grappling based style emphasizing control of the opponent over inflicting damage through impact. In Jiu-Jitsu we attempt to immobilize and control our opponent through leverage in order to nullify anything they might want to do, while retaining the ability to attack ourselves.

Contrast this with a karate idea of “Ikken Hissatsu”, or "to annihilate at one blow”, the idea being to do devastating damage via impact in order to end a fight.

This is likely how Jiu-Jitsu got it’s name, which translates roughly to “Gentle Art”.

A example of this concept would be in the early days of the UFC and other similar events, when fighters of different martial arts went in to test their style against other styles. Back in those days Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu dominated in competitions with very limited rules… But, the Jiu-Jitsu fighters also won uninjured, and without injuring their opponent either.

This was achieved by taking their opponent to the ground, pinning and controlling them and forcing them to submit, or tap out by choke holds or arm/leg locks.

The practicality of it, and the safety of it (as well as the fun) made the style explode across the world.

As a martial art Jiu-Jitsu is much more hands-on then many. There is no standing in lines counting of punches, there is no memorizing and rehearsing patterns. Everything is done with a partner, and each practitioner knows exactly what they can do against a resisting opponent. After training for a while anyone can learn to control and subdue a larger, stronger opponent in a live situation, and will have done so many times.

Nowadays Jiu-Jitsu is practiced by young children, older adults, military, celebrities, police, and everyone in the middle. The combination of being fun, a great work out, highly practical and yet one of the safest martial arts has made it the fastest growing martial art on the planet.

If you haven’t tried Jiu-Jitsu it’s never too late or too early. Just get on the mat!


Will Jiu-Jitsu make my child aggressive?

I’ve heard this question a few times, and yet it still surprises me at times. Unfortunately most of what people know about Jiu-Jitsu comes from movies and professional fights, which are about entertainment and not really an accurate representation of the art.

Jiu-Jitsu is a grappling based art, not a striking based art, in which the goal is to use superior technique, leverage and strategy to control (not hit) an aggressive opponent.

One of the fundamental assumptions in Jiu-Jitsu is that for a technique to be considered “good” it must be functional against a bigger, stronger, more aggressive opponent.

With that idea in mind, that your opponent will be bigger and stronger than you, it is impossible to rely on the idea of overpowering them with strikes.

Jiu-Jitsu is the “paper” of rock-paper-scissors. It is not about trying to have a bigger rock, it’s about getting a hold of that rock and making its size as irrelevant as possible through technique and use of leverage.

Jiu-Jitsu is not about violence, it is about learning how to control violence. To slow it down, manage it and redirect it. In Jiu-Jitsu acting overly aggressive tends to get you in more trouble then anything, where a slower, more methodical practitioner can easily take advantage of that aggression.

Jiu-Jitsu will not make a child aggressive, but it can teach them to control aggression in others as well as them-self.