Sunday, September 29, 2013

Morgan Seabrook Promoted to Junior Black Belt

After almost 8 years of training, I promoted by daughter Morgan to Junior Black Belt on September 26th. Morgan has been training with me since she was 3, and she is now 11 years of age. Morgan will now be learning the American Kenpo self-defense techniques (154 in total) as taught in our adult curriculum at Seabrook Martial Arts Academy, thus getting a greater hands-on approach to street survival. Morgan is an unbelievable fighter whose skills are clearly evident by her years of experience. I am very proud of you Morgan, and love you so much.

Here is a letter that I wrote the day of her test, and read to her upon completion of the grading:

It’s 12:30 in the afternoon and today you will test for Junior Black Belt. For the first time, I am starting to get choked up. I remember the day like it was yesterday that you were born. I remember the first time holding you in my arms. I remember being a young adult wondering what it would feel like to hold my child’s hand. Ever since I was a teenager, I envisioned what it would be like to teach my own children martial arts. To see them grow, develop, improve, and make mistakes. I remember your first group class in our garage at Wembley. You were only 3 ½. Almost 8 years later, you have grown into a confident young lady. You have overcome adversity, shown determination, discipline, and perseverance, all of which have made you into who you are today.

As a father, I have made many mistakes. I pushed you hard in martial arts when you were very young, sometimes setting up unrealistic expectations. One day you may come to learn that it’s not easy teaching your own children martial arts. But thank you for being patient with me, even when I was not patient with you. Teaching you and Madison has been the greatest gift that martial arts have ever brought me.

And as I’ve poured my martial arts knowledge into you over the years, it is such a joy to see that hard work pay off. You are incredibly talented, and are an amazing instructor and leader for children. You are a role model for both children and adults alike, and I am so very proud of you.

On Monday night Morgan came home from her testing feeling very sore and tired. But she said something to me that I will never forget. She said, “Daddy you are the greatest teacher in the world to me, and I am so glad I am your daughter.” And with that I promise to do my best as a father, to be there for you whenever you need me, and to make you the best martial artist you can be. Thank you Michael for going through this journey with Morgan.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

2nd Annual East Coast Kenpo Camp

This past weekend myself and five of my advanced students attended the 2nd Annual East Coast Kenpo Camp at Miller's Dojo in Bradford, Pennsylvania. I was honored to be one of the guest instructors and taught a seminar on extensions to Reversing Mace, Raining Claw, and Shielding Hammer. My instructor, Sean Kelley, taught two seminars - one on Principles of Grafting, and the other on having a black belt mindset. The special instructor for the event was Grandmaster Michael Robert Pick, who also taught two seminars: (1) Knife to the kill; and (2) Quick Picks. I was literally blown away by his knowledge and skill, and my body is finally recuperating! A special thanks goes out to Michael Miller for making this event happen, and thanks to the guys at Miller's Dojo that I had the opportunity to fight on Saturday.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Theory of Elite Performance

Hi Everyone,

There is a really interesting article that I read recently on elite performance written by Dr. Christine Carter, a sociologist from UC Berkeley. I highly recommend that all of you read it. The link for the article is Psychology Today - A New Theory of Elite Performance

Some of the key points that Christine makes are the following:

- hard work and passion matters much more than does innate ability when it comes to high-level achievements

- elite performers practice a lot to reach their key objectives, even if what they are not practicing it is not fun or pleasurable

- elite performers practice around the same amount every day, 7 days per week

- it usually takes about 10 years of consistent practice to be truly accomplished

- people who get to the top know when to rest

Although I am not convinced this is necessarily "a new theory of elite performance" as the author suggests, it does nonetheless stress the importance of dedication, perseverance, patience, and discipline to reach the top levels of performance, all of which are extremely important in the martial arts.