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Focus! If I heard that word once, I heard it a thousand times!!  The teachers would come by and tap on my desk and say, "Focus on your work, Dana!"  I was that child who failed at time management. Oh, but I was trying to focus!!  It wasn't for lack of trying, that is for sure!  It's just that there were so many other things going on in that fourth grade classroom: the sun was shining (or it could have been raining - either would have been equally distracting), the birds were chirping outside, Marty was shaking his foot (and I could have said something different when he falsely accused me), there was a curly cue that clearly wanted to be drawn on my paper, What did I smell? - it was the soap sculptures that we made-now those were so cool!, Mindy was tapping her pencil on her desk, is Mattie writing a note to me?, Mrs. Epps was pacing the floors - wow, she is so pretty!  I wanted to be like her when I grew up, What was Scott doing over there? *sigh* he was so cute!- etc.  Everything drew my attention away from the English paper in front of me.

Fast forward about 30 years and 4 children later.  I was still struggling to keep my focus on one project.  I rarely started one thing and saw it through to completion before starting something else.  In fact, this blog has been started and abandoned several times.  There are several coping mechanisms that I employed over the years to keep my projects organized in my mind. However, I still had some issues with time management.  I just chalked it up to be a creative individual.

Then, I began to work for a company that specialized in brain training and read several books on the subject. The brain is amazing! How it is affected by hormones and how exercise relates to hormone production and stabilization is also amazing.  I have learned that cardio exercise that is sustained for about 20-45 minutes can help to "reset" some of the adrenal hormones in the body and help to prime the brain for learning. Exercise literally helps one to focus! I also learned some great "brain exercises" that have helped me to retrain the parts of my brain that shut down as soon as I try to focus.  These are things that are simple, but not easy!

I would love the opportunity to share with you some of the skills and techniques that have helped me personally to sharpen my focus and increase my attention.  I will be conducting a workshop on focus and would love to see you there on March 12 at 10:30 am.
Confidence is something almost every parent wants for their child.   Confident kids tend to be more outgoing and their personalities attract more friends.  Confident kids tend to be more charismatic, extroverted, and socially skilled- which are highly desirable features. Secondly, we tend to equate confidence with competence. So we automatically assume that confident people are also more able-skilled or talented. 

On the other hand some kids internally are confident but don't show their confidence. Rather they hide it from others,   These kids are often thought of as arrogant and even obnoxious, rather than charming are extroverted.    So we really desire confidence with competence. 

Let me paint some visuals.   I have a large Great Dane that is almost solid black, she stands 4 feet tall and has a bark that would intimidate almost anyone.   When I walk her in the neighborhood some people walk on the other side of the street.   Then there are people who just want to say hi and pet her.   When they approach me they ask, "is her friendly ?".   All of a sudden "Thumper" gets real shy, bows her heads and backs away.    Wow - talk about looking confident but really nothing to back it up.

You have see the same thing on American Idol.   A singer that looks as though he is going to really rock out a song and all of a sudden starts to sings and you think - What?  

When we worry about our kids in school and bullying many of us immediately think "if only he or she were more confident, I would feel a whole lot better."

Martial Arts is great for confidence because it comes with competence.    How? Competence comes from correct fast decision making, good choices, fitness, health and the ability to defend oneself,

This month is Confidence Month at our school.  Please attend our Confidence with Competence workshop and see how martial arts can help you and your child.   

Confidence is Contagious - Pass it on and bring a friend or two.
-Greg Silva