Developing Self-Confidence, Self-Discipline & Self-Esteem in Children


          I could never believe that the data of statistics are always 100% accurate. Statistics are too powerful of a tool of political persuasion not to stray beyond its boundaries of integrity. When I read the facts and figures on the conditions of health, education and welfare of American children, even if I trim 35% of the fat from the reports, the remaining records still reflect an alarming status and crisis for the overall well being of our children. Out of the three most serious conditions of health, education and welfare affecting American children, I am certain that health is the most crucial.

          Several years ago the president’s council on health and education conducted a national study on the condition of physical fitness of elementary school children. The results of the report revealed disturbing reviews. The average child’s physical condition did not possess the strength to perform 5 sit ups, 5 push ups, or the stamina to run a distance of a half a mile without reaching exhaustion.

          The overweight/obesity problem is an official epidemic of national proportion. It is definitely a major contributor to the American health crisis. Since the mid eighties obesity has doubled in the adult population and has tripled in the population of children. Over 25% of all children are obese, and close to 35% are over the weight limit of their physical physique. Obesity is now the major cause of the increase of a disease called – diabetes II. Children are contracting diabetes II at such a young age that their adulthood is almost certain to experience serious health problems at some stage of their adult life.Children are also victims of a fast food culture in which non nutritional products saturate their diets. Their poor eating habits soon become fixed patterns that will follow them into adulthood. It has become so un-American to take the time to properly prepare well balanced nutritional meals at home and dine harmoniously in an atmosphere of loving family spirit.

          The factor of inactivity is a major contributor to American health problems. Most children are certainly lacking the adequate mental activity and proper physical exercise needed to help develop and sustain their overall state of health. When adequate mental activity and proper physical exercise is absent in the everyday life of children they become mentally depressed and super charged with hyper tensions from suppressed energies. Children experiencing this menacing condition or dysfunctional state of being are analyzed by professionals, given an identity of professional jargon (ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder), and then turned over to the medical world of drugs and treatment for immense profits. The most successful solutions and best methods of resolving the health problems in regard to the children’s best interest are deliberately ignored in the interest of profit.

          Most parents are helpless and confused as they trust wholeheartedly the advice of accredited professionals, and do what they are told is best for their children. Parents make appointments with physicians who hand them prescriptions and send them to the nearest pharmacy for mind alterating and nerve manipulating drugs that zap the energy frequency of children and modify their behavior. It is an awful sad but very true statement that pharmaceutical drugs are not designed for curing your child's health problems. Instead, they are designed for an on going treatment that only renders your child's behavior more manageable and more tolerable for the time being. However, the long range side effects and consequences of such prevalant exposure to drugs is devastating to your child's physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well being. Drug treatment for children is a weaning process of today, headed toward a serious drug addiction problem of tomorrow. (There are more drug addicts on prescription drugs than there are on illegal drugs)

          For parents who are deeply concerned and determined to take responsibility of the health and well-being of their children, I offer a few questions I feel that you should consider pondering as matters of extreme importance in regards to your children and their future state of being.

I. How young should health be established and valued as the child’s greatest asset, and cultivated accordingly?

         A child’s health should begin with its mother’s health long before the sperm reaches the egg. The child’s wellness of being, physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually should be cultivated from the womb to the stage of mature independence.

II. How young should a child start exercising?

           A child initiates exercising inside the womb. Those kicks and punches in the late semester of birth aren’t acts of aggression, they are stretches and muscle movements that promote the development of strength, flexibility and the over all geometrical formation of the body. Children should never stop exercising. Their exercises should be purposeful, regulated and appropriate for the stages of their body’s growth and development.

III. How young should a child's patterns of feeding and content of food be governed by a diet?

            The moment nutrients enter the veins headed to the cells and tissues, the child enters a systematic form of eating (diet). I can easily imagine how the definition of a diet as a systematic form of proper intake of nutritional food catches most parents off guard in their perception of a diet. When the child eats, and how much he or she eats is just as important as what the child eats. To systemize the intake of food (diet) must include the consideration of the system of food processing (the digestive system). Eating excessively; eating frequently, and improper chewing of food, abuses the enzymes and weakens the assimilation process. Eventually the digestive system is forced into disorder, and then improper function of the stomach leads to health complications. As far as diet is concerned your child should never have been without a scheduled program of eating nutritional food, with intervals of non-eating that allow the stomach to digest such food properly. Before the next intake of food the digestive system should be given adequate time to digest all food occupying the stomach; give the enzymes proper rest and recuperation time, and allow the acids and enzymes to regain their level of strength for assimilation. Eating nutritional food moderately according to the body’s activity level; refraining from eating between meals; chewing food properly, and eating the major meal of the day when the body can retire from active movement and allow majority of the body’s energy to go toward digestion is considered to be a diet so universal that it will never need to be altered or discontinued for any reason. In this case a child’s diet should be from womb to tomb.

IV.     How young should a child face discipline of behavior; and when should the mind be cultivated in coordinating movements of the body?

          As soon as possible! Possible is when a child reaches the age of adequate communication skills and a level of proficient understanding. Possible can be as young as eighteen months old. 

             In regards to our Karate Krazy Kids concept we offer a program of self-development specially designed to support parents who are seriously concerned and determined to do something about the health condition of their children. Our program focuses upon discipline, exercise and diet as the most successful means of health development. Martial arts was purposefully chosen as the foundation of our program because of its exceptional levels of discipline and harmonious development of the body, mind and spirit of the child. Our program is far from the comparison of programs of other athletic sports that compete in occupying the child’s attention span and holding their interest. Karate is the most popular, interesting and developmental sport in the world, as far as children is concerned. And when taught properly by knowledgeable and experienced teachers, according to the principles and integrity of its original philosophy of spirituality, it is the best all around program of self-development in existence.

          Teaching karate to children as young as three years of age is far from being a simple or easy task. The first hurdle in the obstacle course of teaching children is gaining their respect. From that point on it takes a very knowledgeable martial arts teacher of exceptional skill and experience, with a background in child psychology who is capable of controlling the attention spans and entertaining the minds of children, while persuading them to do those strenuous and difficult exercises of martial arts training.The strenuous routine body development exercises of flexibility and strengthening of the muscles, along with the performance of balance, techniques, forms, and coordination of mind and body is far more valuable to the child’s development than specific emphasis on self-defense.

          Self-defense is the major reason most students march through the doors of karate studios and practice diligently to develop their skills to levels of self-protection. Without the levels of development of self-confidence that self-defense drills cause such students to feel, most of them, adults in particular, give up the strenuous life of martial arts practice and its exceptional demand of discipline of body, mind and spirit. When self-defense is the major focus in karate classes for children, they quickly gain self-defense skills capable of harming other children. The temptation to experiment with the techniques that they have practiced so diligently to learn and develop becomes somewhat overwhelming, and often lead to showing off their karate skills to classmates or neighbors. Injury is a highly probable result of a child who has learned only self-defense and no self-discipline. Children should never be taught more self-defense than self-discipline.Television and movies saturate the minds of children with fictitious action of martial arts techniques demonstrated by their favorite karate heroes. By the time kids enter a karate class their little imaginations are already geared with their own fantasies of creative combat action of karate kicks and punches. To ignore such wild imaginations and action packed fantasies is an assault on the child’s martial arts interest – an interest that must be cultivated and steered in the proper directions of discipline, compassion and harmlessness toward others. Entertaining children as young as 3 years of age; fueling their fire of interest; stretching their attention spans beyond normal limits, and yet achieving astounding levels of discipline and self-development is so difficult to accomplish that most karate studios will not even think of accepting children under the age of 6 years old.

          Our martial art training is far superior to the majority of other martial art classes in the fact that our program is founded upon self-discipline, rather than self-defense. Our focus is upon progressive self-development. We establish a partnership with parents and incorporate their supportive roles as personal trainers, dietitians, and disciplinarians of their children at home. Our program is exceptionally rewarding to our students with self-respect, self-worth, and self-esteem based upon the progress of the development of their character.

          I am the Grand Master of the martial arts system of Nungkyyii (Nung-Ky-yi-ee) and Zen Master of Nung-Budo-Ky. Martial arts have been a way of life for me as a teacher for over 46 years, with 36 of those years as a teacher. My fanatic love for karate began at the age of 12 years old and has remained my number one passion for over four and a half decades. I consider myself to be an expert in teaching young children martial arts and its strict way of discipline. I taught my own children the discipline of martial arts as young as 18 months old. The key to my success in having taught so many young children the proper discipline, attitude, behavior and character that is trustworthy of knowing such harmful techniques of the art of karate, is due to the successful organization, cooperation and dedicated support of the parents of my students. It is absolutely imperative that discipline is extended between the karate studio, school and home. And that the consequences of improper behavior regarding the abuse of martial arts skills and techniques do not go unattended to. When children realize that their behavior is also being monitored by their teacher and parents, and that the reports from the teacher or parents that reach the karate teacher will determine their further participation in class, karate students become much more conscious of the consequences of their behavior.

          The secret to my success in having an exceptional high level of enrollment, a very low dropout rate, and well disciplined and developed karate students is my formula for mixing the right amount of entertainment with exercise and discipline. In order to entertain the minds of my students and provide a thrilling opportunity to let their karate fantasies take flight from wild imaginations, I spar (fight) with all of my students from the very first day they enter class. They get dressed in their martial arts gear of mouth piece, helmet, gloves, pads and boots and I give them an action packed show of martial arts drama by letting them knock me down as they wage an arsenal of offensive kicks and punches to their opponent. Every Saturday we conduct a special fight session called “The Main Event”, in which we make video tapes of these hilarious bouts of each child’s performance of combat with the teacher. A boxing ring is set up in the center of the dojo floor. Kids wear their special ceremony gi (karate uniform) to this event. Parents also get in on the act by wearing Karate Krazy Kids tee shirts with their child’s nick name blazing on the front of it. As corner personnel the parents coach their little fighter and take care of the water, mouth piece and stool in his or her corner. I encourage the parents to take the tape home to share with friends and family members.

          In the mind of the child, fighting the teacher is the main attraction of the karate class and probably their major reason for showing up at the dojo (karate studio). In order to successfully take care of discipline and exercises this entertaining event is scheduled at the end of class. Every student is fully aware of the consequences of failing to participate in all of the exercises and not giving their best performance in class. And I can assure you that no student wants to miss out on all the hoopla, cheering and supporting noise made by their peers as they experience the center of attention and the precious moments of experiencing their karate fantasy.

          I try to impress upon my parents that martial arts discipline, practice and training should never be conceived as a course of study in which the child completes the course after a certain period of time. Martial arts is an on going program of self-development that increases the values of self-consciousness, self-confidence, self-discipline, self-respect, self-worth and especially self-esteem, continuously. When my students are separated from me as their karate teacher, due to reasons of parents having to relocate, I always encourage the parents to find another karate school with a responsible teacher and continue the child’s discipline and self-development.

          On behalf of the Karate Krazy Kids program, my staff, and me as the master teacher, we will eagerly look forward to helping parents promote greater levels of discipline, health and well-being in the lives of their children.