Do You Love Your Body?

BY VIRGINIA KONLEY

Do you love your body? You should, you know.

It has graciously brought you this far, and it’s the only one you get to experience life on this earth! Feed it well. Strengthen it. Rest it. Be grateful for it. In short, LOVE it. Don’t say to yourself, “when I’m thinner, then I’ll love my body”, or “when I’m stronger, I’ll love my body”, or even…. “when I can get rid of this jiggle, then I’ll love my body”…… just stop.

Not convinced? Not feeling the love?? Maybe this will help: You wouldn’t tell your child “when you obey me perfectly, then I’ll love you”, or “when you sleep through the night, I will love you”, or even…. “when you stop peeing in your pants, I will love you”.  So why do we fail to love our own bodies??

I coach the DojoFit team to start with love & gratitude for their bodies. When we begin with this mindset, our workouts become a celebration of what our bodies CAN do.
And moms….No more mom guilt. Your body is amazing. You are a warrior, and you can join us to Belong, Believe, Achieve…. to share & find joy in the battle.

Friends, this is my heart.
I’ve specifically addressed moms, because, well…. that’s what I know. It’s who I am. But I believe the concept can apply to anyone.

I posed the question to my DojoFit team recently, “How do you feel about your body?”
Got lots of wonderful, honest, heart felt answers. Many are proud of what they are accomplishing, and I am proud of them!

Not surprisingly, no one responded with “I love my body”.
Probably, most would think that sounds conceited. But I don’t think so.

When we love something, we invest in it, we care for it, we make it a priority, even make disciplined sacrifices to serve it…..and we celebrate it.

So, today, I challenge you to love your body…. and let that love drive your choices, your actions. Do good things for your body, and pretty soon, your body will be doing good things for you, too.

Please share this post with anyone you think needs to hear this message. Click here to learn about joining the DojoFit team.

Giving Good Gifts

BY VIRGINIA KONLEY

As parents, one of our greatest joys on Holidays and special occasions is giving gifts to our children. We love seeing them light up, and we want to give them the best that life has to offer!

It’s fun to give simple gifts like toys, clothing, gadgets and games…. But when we want to give a truly special, meaningful, memorable gift… we can often feel at a loss.

The things our children often ask for, that they think will bring them happiness…. we know as parents that these things will not bring lasting fulfillment! Yes, we want to see their eyes light up when they receive their gift, but we also want to feel the assurance of knowing we are giving a GOOD gift. Not one that will soon break or disappoint, simply fill time, or merely make them seem “cool” among their friends…. but a truly good gift. One that they will remember and treasure for a long time. One that will help them experience more of life, dream bigger, or develop more of their potential….. Now, something like that would be a TRULY good gift, would it not?

I have found the answer to this dilemma to be gifts that fall into two general categories:
1. The “Experience Gift”
2. The “Tool Gift’

Simply stated, the “Experience Gift” is an intangible. It should be something that plays to your child’s natural curiosity, interests, or talent. It can also be an experience that introduces them to something totally new and different…. to open up their world and broaden their horizons. Some examples include tickets to shows or events, classes or lessons, or even a special trip to a place far or near.

In contrast, the “tool gift” is tangible. However, similar to some experience gifts, it will also equip your child to develop their talent and skill in a high interest area. Some examples include: musical instruments, cooking/baking tools, quality art supplies, sport-specific footwear, sports training equipment or apparel, or even a microscope or telescope.

I believe the key with the “tool gift” is QUALITY. A low quality tool will likely not function well. It may cause frustration, and will not help your child develop their full potential. For this reason, invest in the best quality tools you can find and afford. As a bonus, your child will learn responsibility in maintaining an item of high quality that he can call his very own.

Here are some of the many benefits to this type of gift giving!
*The thrill lasts longer!
*Less waste, and less clutter
*Fosters meaningful human interaction & connection
*Provides memories to treasure & stories to share
*Builds self-esteem, responsibility and confidence

Still stumped for ideas?? Consider giving your child the amazing gift of Martial Arts training! In my humble opinion, it’s the ULTIMATE Experience Gift, which also provides plenty of future options for “Tool Gifts”! While you’re here at our website, visit our Kids, Youth or Family Martial Arts Program pages to access our current starter specials.

Happy Gift Giving!

Benefits of Martial Arts for Teen Girls

BY VIRGINIA KONLEY

This is the post where you expect me to tell you how important it is for girls to learn self- defense. Which, of course, is very important.… and is something I am quite passionate about. However, this is not the post in which I address the specifics of technical, physical self defense training, how we teach it, and what it takes to be effective and proficient.

No.

THIS is the post where I talk about why I believe EVERY teenage girl should train in martial arts, for at least a few months…. if at all possible.

As we know, the teen years are tough. Especially so for girls. The internal and external pressures girls face are tremendous. To find security, and to set the stage for success as an adult….these are the years when girls must develop their mental, emotional, and physical strength. But how is this best accomplished?

What we often do not recognize is that the Mental, Emotional, and the Physical…. these three are deeply connected, and martial arts training is uniquely suited to address ALL THREE.

Through martial arts training in a quality program, a teen girl is afforded the opportunity to:

  • Face and overcome challenges, both mental and physical.
  • Become aware of her internal power.
  • Accept and appreciate her body while developing her unique gifts.
  • Practice making judgements about allowing others into her personal space.
  • Experience what it’s like to give and receive respect.
  • Feel the confidence that comes from hard work when she develops the physical strength and skill to execute a powerful kick or strike.
  • Develop better decision making skills, and stronger character.
  • Find an encouraging tribe of her own, where she feels she BELONGS.
  • Build relationships with positive mentors & fellow students who empower her to BELIEVE in herself, and hold her accountable to ACHIEVE her goals.

In a nutshell, it all comes down to Self-Respect. She must learn to respect herself enough to set lofty goals while loving herself enough to allow for inevitable failures and setbacks. She must adopt a mindset of Self-Respect which does not allow life’s “speed bumps” to become road blocks. The habit of Self-Respect is so very pivotal, and martial arts training has the power to develop this habit in teens. Girls who posses a strong sense of Self-Respect are far less likely to find themselves in a situation where they need to employ Self-Defense.

So, there you have it. Self-Defense is important, but Self-Respect is LIFE GIVING.

Help your teen live the awesome life you know she deserves. Encourage her to train in martial arts.

Raising Little Humans is HARD

BY VIRGINIA KONLEY

Let’s be honest.

This parenting gig is pretty tough.

We’re all here trying to figure things out, one day at a time. And just when we feel like we’ve got a handle on it…. things change. A new behavior issue emerges. A new skill is developed. A new milestone has been reached….. We celebrate, we sigh, and we struggle to find a new balance.

But we don’t have to struggle alone. We don’t have to pretend to have it all figured out. Real life is not the highlight reel we see playing out on Facebook or Instagram! Don’t be afraid to be transparent, to seek support, to encourage others in the midst of your own challenges. The journey is better together.

I believe that parenting is both the hardest thing AND the most rewarding thing most of us will ever do. What’s super amazing, though, is that as parents we get to learn by loving. We get to grow by giving. We get to find our own strength as we face challenges we never dreamed of! It’s a personal growth journey like no other.

It is my great honor and privilege to encourage fellow parents along this incredible journey through our work at American Dojo. Not by having all the answers, or by having it all figured out…. but by getting in the trenches with some amazing warrior parents. Together, we can wage the joyful battle for our kids’ minds, hearts, and character.

They are our future.

They are our legacy.

But today, we’re just trying them to train them to put their dirty socks in the hamper.

Now, where’s that FAMILY badge??

Perfection, or Progress?

BY VIRGINIA KONLEY

Have you ever heard the expression, “Get out of your own way”?

It’s one worth pondering.

Too often, we get in our own way, putting up road blocks to our success by seeking perfection. We think, if everything isn’t just right, if I can’t guarantee success on the first try…. then I won’t bother starting at all. The reality is that it just doesn’t work that way. Success isn’t defined by perfection. It’s pursued, and then achieved, through incremental progress, often punctuated by setbacks and failures.

A vivid representation of this truth is the colorful belt ranking system found in martial arts. No one starts as a white belt, and expects to immediately perform like a Black Belt. At least they shouldn’t, right?

A good martial artist understands that it takes incremental progress, pursued through consistent hard work, determination, and focus, over a long period of time before Black Belt skill can be demonstrated. There are failures and setbacks along the way. Ask any Black Belt! But when we rise from them, defy them, redeem them…. it’s those same failures and setbacks which create the mental fortitude, and strength of character that are of far greater value than a perfectly executed roundhouse kick.

So, remember…..in all areas of life:
Seek PERFECTION, you’ll get stuck or never start.
Seek PROGRESS, you’ll take action and persevere…. to achieve success!

Perfection or Progress? The choice is yours.