Self Discipline – developing an inner voice

self disciplineSelf Discipline is the ability for us to govern ourselves….mind over matter in many cases.  It’s probably the key trait for those know as “self starters”.  This month I’m going to stress the idea of developing a positive inner voice.  And of course kids will range in their ability levels to self discipline.  My goals for the month will be to define the word, to understand why it’s a good thing, and to talk about examples of how self discipline can be used in everyday examples.

Discipline – getting it done without being asked

School work, home work, chores, and martial arts practice are the things that all of my students can relate to.  And all of us know that to some extend our inner voice can be that of our inner “lazy” kid.  So to keep things simple we will look at examples in 2 versions – one with good discipline and another without.

Example 1 –  homework that is assigned by the week.  Based on my own children I can say that many teachers assign a packet of homework for the week.  This lets the kids/parents manage when to get it done.  So to start this chat I’ll ask my students if they have such a teacher.  Most will raise their hands in the affirmative.  Then I simply ask them what happens if they wait until the night before it’s due to start working on it?  They all know that such a scenario is the best way to get it all done properly. Then I’ll ask them how many start working on their packets without mom or dad asking them to.   And regardless of how many kids actually do it on their own we stop to understand that is an illustration of self discipline.  Being prepared and doing the work without being asked is the goal.

Example 2 – kata requirements for belt testing.  My second example is centered on kata which is a pattern of techniques (my typical jr black belt knows 5).  Some kids gravitate to the performance of kata and because they love it tend to memorize them quicker.  However, for kids who prefer the interactive activities they often have trouble learning and retaining kata.  But wether a student loves kata or not it is a requirement to earn a black belt from me.

So for this discussion I’ll make up a fictional student (lets call her Hilda) and storyline how she loves kickboxing drills, jiu-jitsu wrestling, and bo staff.  But since she has trouble remembering her 3 kata I need ideas on how Hilda can get better.  The kids will typically tell me she needs to practice.  And Bingo…that gets us back to discipline.  I’ll suggest that Hilda needs to work on her inner voice to remind her that she needs to practice.  With a practice plan and her inner voice to follow the plan she will be able to focus on this in the weeks leading up to the test and succeed.  This example will show that discipline is more important than ever since she needs to do more work in a “less loved” part of karate.

Conclusion and Resources

I hope you enjoyed this post on Self Discipline.  I try to keep my mat chats under 5 minutes per class and in general easy to understand so that any age kid can understand and identify with.  Here are a few good articles I found on the topic.

About.com – Parenting to teach your kids Self Discipline

Parenthood.com – Slow down!

Success Conscious – self discipline for adults

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