September 28, 2020

Karate 4 Life
Family Time With A Purpose

It’s great to get in the dojo and train, but it’s even better to do it with your family.

Nothing says quality time with your family better than the opportunity to kick your child in the head or having them throw you to the ground and punch you.

In all seriousness though, getting into the dojo as a family is a great way to spend quality time, but the benefits don’t stop there.

Normal family hierarchies can be turned on their head. Especially when the kids start training first which is often the case. In this case, the parents are the juniors and the kids are their seniors.

I love the way karate helps us look at things in a different way.

—- Transcript —-

Martin: Hey everyone, this is Martin & Sandra Phillips and welcome to the Karate 4 Life Podcast.

Sandra: Today we want to talk about, ‘family time with a purpose.’

Martin: We’ve noticed that everyone faces challenges in life, some big some small. But not everyone has a way to navigate these problems.

Sandra: It’s not always easy, but we’ve found that we always keep coming back to what we’ve learned from our years in the dojo.

Martin: And that’s what this podcast is about…

Sandra: Helping us all find the solutions to life’s problems…

Martin: Or even better yet, to remove the problems before they arise.

Sandra: This is Martin & Sandra Phillips and welcome to the Karate 4 Life Podcast.

Sandra: Hello everybody, Sandra here.

Martin: Hey, this is Martin. How are you doing today?

Sandra: Today, we wanted to celebrate some of our wonderful parents. I’m not sure if many of you know this, but at Sunshine Coast Karate, we have quite a few parents who are being brave and they’re jumping into the dojo and they’re training with the kids.

Martin: Yes, it’s great to see parents jumping in and training with the kids. Not a lot of them do, but they certainly are some, and it always puts a bit of a smile on our face and in the faces of the parents and the kids too.

Sandra: Yes. One of the things that we’d like to look at with today’s podcast is to share with you the reasons why we think it’s a wonderful thing to have more parents in the dojo as far as not only helps the kids themselves but also to help the parents too.

Martin: There’s so many benefits to doing this, like just that family time of kids and parents together. We see people in daily life just getting distracted by needing to focus on this, focus on that, and then the last thing is… oh the kids too.

Sandra: Yes, we can easily say, “Just wait five more minutes, and I’ll be right with you,” but doesn’t always go down so well if we go too often with our kids, does it?

Martin: No, they don’t tend to like that too much.

Sandra: Yes. That’s one of the great things, is when you’re in the dojo, you have driven to the dojo together, you are in a class together, and it’s going to go for 40 minutes, that class, potentially or longer, so you have to get in that moment, don’t you?

Martin: Yes, you certainly do. That’s one of the benefits of training overall, is because it’s such a difficult, challenging thing to do that you’re forced to connect both your mind and your body to work together just as an individual a little and as a family. You’re forced to focus on yourself because you can’t get engaged without focusing both those two things together. Then when you bring the family on in it as well, it’s a whole different story.

Sandra: Yes. You see parents, and me included, we have our kids training as well, and you get so caught up on really enjoying being with them. It’s amazing how a smile can just come across that face so much faster when you’ve got the kids and they’re training with you. It’s so easy to get lost in those moments, and it really helps to relax you. Although you might be stepping in your comfort zone with something that you’re doing there and then, just having that person there with you, it just seems to melt away any kind of anxiety, any sort of fears or hang-ups, and you just go with the flow.

Martin: Yes. I see that all the time, especially in the little champion’s class on Saturday morning, that seems to be quite popular with the families. You see these parents jumping in to train with their little champions, 4-7 year olds, and we teach the class to the kids. We teach it to that age group. There’re jumping around, they’re playing games, and the parents are doing it right alongside with the kids. They’re forced to be kids just by being in the class. As an adult, we don’t really get opportunities to do that so much. Most of us don’t, I know you like to do things like that. You’ve been known to get a little bit childish at times, but–

Sandra: There’s a reason for it though. I have this belief, get this, I really think that, because I’m a very serious person, as you know, I take life-

Martin: You can be. You can be, yes.

Sandra: -way too seriously at times. I like to think about balancing my life, and I figure what’s on the other side of that seriousness and focus and intensity and moving through with life is being a bit more childlike and having some fun and creating adventures. That’s what keeps things really alive and full of energy for me, is when you’re creating moments with families and with ourselves where we’re looking forward to something in our life. It really helps you move through that moment there and then and get excited about something.

Martin: Yes. I guess in the dojo context, it really brings the parent into the child’s world, doesn’t it?

Sandra: Yes. It’s pretty amazing watching them, isn’t it? Another great benefit would be that on that car ride home, this is the chance for the parents to be that child’s number one fan, and they’ve got something to talk about together and get excited about and work on together. It’s a wonderful chance for parents to look at how they’ve balanced their feedback as far as to be encouraging and to help that child to move through possible challenges, but also to think about– also to give some more constructive criticism as well, which is going to help that child get even better.

Martin: Yes. That’s one of the things that we look at when we’re talking about ourselves, is when we’re giving feedback to ourselves, when we give feedback like we’re giving it to a child. Quite often, it’s really easy to get hard on yourself, and you give feedback in such a way where you just beat yourself down, but when you’ve got your own child, most parents I know wouldn’t intentionally talk down at their children. They wouldn’t give them a hard time and treat them badly with their words. I kind of causes you to reflect a little bit on how you do that with yourself, too.

Sandra: That’s one of the greatest gifts of training with your kids, isn’t it? It really brings to the surface. The extra bonus is that you become a mirror to your child and vice versa. If you see your child doing something in a certain way or you see them responding to things in a certain way, they get it from somewhere. If we are open enough, I think that that’s a really beautiful thing because when we see things in our children, it’s a chance for us to look back at ourselves and say, “Do I need to come back and work on that as well?”

Martin: Yes, that mirror, that can be a really good thing. It can be a really scary thing at times because you look at things that your children do and you think, “Well, they’re really good kids, aren’t they? They’ve got that from somewhere.” Then at other times you look at them go, “Wow, where did that come from?”

Sandra: It’s out of the blue.

Martin: Really, it’s that mirror being held up, isn’t it? a lot of the time.

Sandra: Yes, it’s so true. What you’re saying in that case aspect to going, “Okay, full circle. Let’s take some responsibility for this and let’s go, ‘All right, so in my day, I’m going to make an effort as a parent to lead by example with that particular weakness, and I’m going to show my child another way of doing that or approaching that.'”

It’s actually gold because, in the dojo, it’s quite clearly a place where you are perfecting your technique and the way you use your mind and your body, and then when you have your children to train alongside of, you have another learning possibility of this is a mirror. This is young you next to you, watching you, copying you, and it just bounces back to you in a way where it’s instant feedback, which says, “All right, I’m on the right track with this attitude or this characteristic about myself although this, I might need to do some work on.”

Martin: Not only do you get that physical feedback of the mirror sitting at the front of the dojo so you can polish your technique, you get this mirror of a child standing next you mirroring back your behaviour and your attitudes and the way you interact with the world.

Sandra: Yes, because our kids are with us a lot more than we realise. Once they’re at the dojo with us for that short 40, 50 minutes, they’re actually with us a whole lot more time, and they model everything about us, which is exciting, but also maybe not so exciting-

Martin: At times. Sometimes-

Sandra: -and it just depends on your perspective. I love to learn, so I get excited about seeing all that in my children obviously. I think that’s a wonderful thing, but I think the hardest part would be to be confronted to deal with yourself sometimes and take some personal responsibility there, I need to also grow up sometimes and challenge myself to become a better person.

Martin: It’s certainly a really challenging thing, but this training with the family is one of the best things about being in the dojo. It does not only we’re talking about our own kids, but in time as teachers, we get to see all members as family.

Sandra: Yes, it’s a really beautiful thing, isn’t it?

Martin: We get this benefit of this mirror being held up in so many ways because it is not just our own children, but a whole family. All of the students, so we get that mirror held back up to us all the time. We take that responsibility in a really big way because everything our students do is a reflection of something that we have done as teachers as well.

Sandra: That’s right. Certainly ongoing learning for us. The more students we have to work with, the more mirrors we look into, and it’s a beautiful thing in terms of what we can create within ourselves as we move forward. That’s certainly very confronting at times.

Martin: It certainly is.

Sandra: What we’re trying to get at is that having these wonderful parents step up, it’s certainly been a wonderful thing, and we have much gratitude for all the parents who are stepping into this role of being a hands-on parent and working and training next to the kids.

Martin: Leading by example.

Sandra: Yes. It’s certainly a beautiful way to really accelerate the idea of bringing out the best in our children, but the bonus though, it really brings out the best in ourselves as well if we are open to receiving those lessons of our wonderful mirror.

Martin: Thanks for listening to today’s episode of the Karate 4 Life Podcast.

Sandra: If you found this episode useful, please comment on our website

Martin: Share it with your friends via social media and don’t forget to tag us #karate4lifepodcast.

And if you’ve got a topic that you’d like us to cover in a future episode or questions about karate or life…

Sandra: Please send us a message, we’d be more than happy to share our thoughts.

Martin: Thanks again for joining us and stay tuned for the next episode which will be about ‘seeking continual improvement with the rule of 1%’.

About the author 

Sandra & Martin Phillips

Co-Founders of Karate 4 Life Online (established 2020) & Sunshine Coast Karate (established 2000). Martin Phillips, 5th Dan, Shihan (Master Instructor). Sandra Phillips, 5th Dan, Shihan (Master Instructor).

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  1. What a great opportunity through Sunshine Coast Karate for family members to train together. I personally would not have joined if it wasn't for this opportunity. Not only is it practical for me to join the classes when I do the "taxi run" for the kids but its opened doors for me to grow, learn and become healthy and fit at the same time 🙂 Thank you

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