There are two things that are extremely rewarding and fulfilling for any real teacher. The first is to see your students accomplish something big, that might be their first time getting an A, performing on a stage, or winning at a competition. Every teacher loves these moments because they know they helped that student reach that goal. We thrive on it.

The second is taking a student who others thought couldn’t do it, or didn’t believe they could do it themselves. I have had the fortune of teaching lots of kids with special needs over the years. I teach many private lessons, and although some of them are students who just want extra attention, many are students who have had a difficult time learning martial arts in a group environment.

I have one student who had a stroke when he was very young. This little boy has so much potential but he is still working on using one side of his body. I really feel like our school is going to help him eventually reach his full potential.

Another student of mine started out years ago who was very difficult. He had someone come along and help every lesson. He had autism, although his upper body strength and physical capacity were incredible. He has come such a long way, it really is incredible. I really enjoy my lessons with him because he has learned how to focus better through with our one on one interactions.

I love teaching, especially when students are excited to learn. But unfortunately I lost my twin brother two years ago, he struggled with his own challenges and special needs. Since then, I find it very fulfilling helping students whop need extra attention. I teach about four hours of lessons a week currently for kids with special needs. Those lessons take more planning than most. I don’t mind, however, putting in extra work for them. I hope that with all my experience, I can have a positive impact on someone’s life.

We have a special scholarship program for students with special needs. This includes physical as well as mental health challenges if you are interested, please contact our school about our Blur Scholarship Program.

Accept the Situation

Martial arts for kids has grown in the last few decades from a fad to a mandatory youth experience.  Children train for a few months like they would any sport, in seasonal fashion.  Martial arts and karate, I would argue, are not just seasonal sports.  The benefits your kids receive from them can be integral in how your child acts as an adult.

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I think belt testing is a great concept.  Too often we are focused on achieving something and not celebrating the results.  The material can only fulfill you to an extent.  I like belt testing for that reason.  I don’t like belt testing fees, which may sound strange.  I remember testing for my black belt and it was $300, that is a lot of money for a belt.

The experience of my belt test, however, was worth something.  I can’t put a price on it.  In fact, if you wanted to trade any of the experiences I had in the martial arts for money I would decline.  Seeing how far I can push myself in that type of environment is very positive, and I think it is positive for the kids too.  Positive reinforcement can only go so far, and sometimes you have to see how much someone can take.

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Bullying is a hot topic these days. Now you can even be bullied 24/7 with social media. Whether it is because of the media, school shootings, or overzealous parents. I hear people saying they want to end bullying, I think it is admirable but misleading and missing the point.

I did my graduate paper on bullying and programs that reduced it. There was a lot of good programs out there that helped. Creating a community that cares about all it’s members. Promoting activities that keep kids involved like after school programs. These all helped cut down on bullying, but there was no program that came close to eliminating it.

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I don’t know about you, but in Rancho Bernardo, I can’t help but feel like things are expensive.  I have friends who live up in Orange County, and we are always talking about how expensive it is to live in the areas we do.  It is worth it though.  There is a difference between cost and price.

There is a high value to living in Rancho Bernardo.  You have Poway Unified Schools, a safe neighborhood for your kids to grow up, and you can walk outside and play Pokemon Go at night and not worry about your safety (I will catch all the ghost pokemon some day).

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There are a couple of things that I have learned over the years from teaching kids and adults in Rancho Bernardo and 4S Ranch.  There are so many martial arts schools around here, and you really don’t need to find “the best” one.  There are plenty of good ones.  I have made friends with a lot of instructors around here.

Some of the schools I thought were more based on games than learning have taught me how to disguise repetition to make kids have a good time.  If you are having fun learning becomes so much easier.

When my daughter and I play Pokemon Go walking around Rancho Bernardo, if she isn’t catching Pokemon and we are just walking, she quits pretty quick.  She knows it just exercise at that point.

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It isn’t that people don’t know what they want, they don’t know what the martial arts can give them.I was 18, I had just become an instructor in Rancho Penasquitos.  I was sitting down to a meeting with the other instructors.  Our head instructor was going over students who needed special attention when someone walks by and sticks their head in.  They asked if we teach Muay Thai (which we didn’t).  Our head instructor yells back, “Sure we have that,” and sends someone to get their information.  I was immediately put off by the clear misdirection.  This guy was looking for something totally different than what we taught, why would my instructor say we had that?

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One of the best things I have learned from Master Giuseppe is to keep an open mind and keep learning.  I have never met someone so skilled continue to learn from so many different people.  It has been inspirational to me to see that kind of growth through a CANI attitude (constant and never-ending improvement).  That is one of the reasons why I continue to train not only in my art but in others as well.

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Here are Five great ways to help your kids become more resilient if they live in Ranchi Bernardo or 4S Ranch!

Join a Mindfulness Stress Reduction program

Pioneered by Jon Kabat Zinn, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction(MBSR) has become a staple in the mental health world.  In a world that rarely lets us be present and in the moment for long, MBSR helps train your brain to stay focused on one thing at a time, helping you learn how to relax, and ultimately question your thinking.  It has become a staple in cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy.  Check out the course at UCSD and teach it to your kids.  We teach basic meditation in our martial arts classes.  It is a great skill to get started.

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