• July 2, 2017The power of HumilityWhy is humility good? When I meet someone who radiates humility, my shoulders relax, my heart beats a little more quietly, and something inside me lets go. Why? Because I know that I’m being fully seen, heard, and accepted for who I am, warts and all—a precious and rare gift that allows our protective walls to come down.Truly humble people are able to offer this kind of gift to us because they see and accept their own strengths and limitations without defensiveness or judgment—a core dimension, according to researchers, of humility, and one that cultivates a powerful compassion for humanity. This kind of self-acceptance emerges from grounding one’s worth in our intrinsic value as human beings rather than things such as six-figure salaries or the body of a movie star or climbing the corporate ladder or the number of friends on Facebook. Instead, humble people place high value on more meaningful things that benefit others, such as noble qualities.They also see life as a school, recognizing that while none of us is perfect, we can, without negatively impacting our self-esteem, work on our limitations by being open to new ideas, advice, and criticism.This ability alone cultivates an awe-inspiring inner strength, the most powerful example of which is Gandhi, whose Autobiography is a journey of humbling self-dissection. He once famously said, “I claim to be a simple individual liable to err like any other fellow mortal. I own, however, that I have humility enough to confess my errors and to retrace my steps.” If Gandhi is an example of what a humble leader can accomplish, then society serves to benefit from this kind of governance. Consider what researchers of the “quiet ego”—a construct similar to humility—suggest happens when we gain control of our ego: we become less likely to act aggressively, manipulate others, express dishonesty, and destroy resources. Instead, we take responsibility for and correct our mistakes, listen to others’ ideas, and keep our abilities in humble perspective. Who wouldn’t want that kind of leadership for our country—and the world? But the benefits of humility do not extend to just our leaders. Nascent research suggests that this lovely quality is good for us individually and for our relationships. For example, humble people handle stress more effectively and report higher levels of physical and mental well-being. They also show greater generosity, helpfulness, and gratitude—all things that can only serve to draw us closer to others. (Vicki Zakrzewski) Source: Greater Good Magazine
  • June 7, 2017CourtesyCourtesy, the first of the five tenets of Taekwon-do, is perhaps the most important quality in a martial artist's life. Unfortunately, people sometimes have the wrong idea of what this word truly means. Most time people are only courteous to those they know and like or when they want something in return. To me this is a very incomplete definition of the word. Courtesy is when you show kindness, gratitude, respect and appreciation for oneself and others regardless of who they are or how important they are to you. Showing courtesy doesn't have to be something big. It can be as simple as smiling at a total stranger and wishing them to have a great day. It can be as simple as holding the door open for an elderly person. It is the basic human nature of politeness and respect to all people. It is this skill that guides a Taekwon-do practitioner and guards them from using their skills for any evil end. At Silver Lining Taekwon-do, courtesy is at the core of who we are and what we teach our students. Always be kind, polite and nice to others. Simply follow the golden rule and do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Be your best.
  • June 1, 2017GratitudeGood evening friends, when we train in the martial arts, Taekwon-do in particular, we learn so many valuable life lessons and one of those is GRATITUDE. Gratitude is a very powerful word that I feel its meaning is sometimes misunderstood. Most people think being grateful is only when someone does something good for you and you show them that you are grateful by thanking them Gratitude is much more than that. It's showing appreciation for what you have in life, whether you believe in a divine power or not. It's showing appreciation for the people around you and all the positive contributions they make in your life directly or indirectly. No man is an island and whether you choose to think you owe all your success to your hard work, you still have to remember that someone influenced you along the way; a teacher, mentor, parents, siblings, friends or even complete strangers. Being grateful means recognizing what all these people along with all external natural forces brought to your life to get you where you are. Another aspect of being grateful is also being able to show appreciation when things don't go your way or when you are feeling down and depressed. The reality is no matter how bad you may think you have it, there is always someone somewhere who's got it worse than you do. Also, no matter how dire a situation may be, be grateful that you still have your life, health and people who love you. Be thankful for that. Thank you for reading and keep training hard.
  • November 2, 2016Time to uniteLast week, we discussed unity in all of our classes because we feel this is a very important topic to talk about. I bet if you turn on the news right now, a majority of it will be about the awful things happening in our world today. They will either talk about war, crime or political division. Wouldn't it be nice to turn on the news and actually get happy news worth reporting such as people coming together and helping one another, loving one another. It seems to me the only time we come together is when tragedy hits. Why wait until something bad happens for us to unite. I don't understand it. I always tell my students that I love the martial arts particularly the discipline of Taekwon-do because martial arts don't see color. Martial arts only see people no matter what you look like and no matter where you come from. This is how the world needs to start looking at people because at the end of the day, we all live under the same sky, breathe the same air, bleed the same. My birthplace doesn't define me. My skin color doesn't define me. My faith, my love for the human race and my belief in the goodness in people are the primary architects of the person I am today. There is no need for all the nonsense and violence we experience in our lives today. There is too much unnecessary violence and too many innocent lives lost for no reason. Why? because we have yet to learn to live together and accept each other for who we are and what we believe in. As my man Alpha Blondy put it "Why send children of God to kill other children of God in the name of God?" Well, there is a question worth pondering over, don't you think? We are all the same people and it is high time we all come together and work together, love one another, help one another and treat one another with respect and dignity. Way back during the time of slavery, racial discrimination after that and apartheid, people were judged by their appearance. We figured long ago that racial prejudice only breeds ignorance and intolerance and instead of coming together as one, we find other ways to further divide us. One of my favorite raggae singers Mr. Lucky Dube said "One time we were judged by the color of our skin and now we are judged by the color of our flags" and then he added: "Let us unite against being divided." So, to all the people reading these words it is time to unite against being divided. The time is now to come together. These are the teachings of Taekwon-do and as a student of the art, these are among the words I will live and die by.
  • September 28, 2016Build a better worldHello, I was listening to a song by one of my favorite reggae musicians and that is no other than Mr. Stephen Marley and in the song were these words by Charlie Chaplin from the movie "The Great Dictator." I must have restarted this song a dozen times just to hear the words again. Decades later, this message is more relevant today than it has ever been. I hope you enjoy it too. Have fun reading and as you read these words, please open your heart and your mind to accept all the goodness in the world and free yourself from any negative thoughts that are weighing you down. "I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible- Jew, Gentile, black men, white… We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each others’ happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men’s souls; has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery ,we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in man; cries out for universal brotherhood; for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women, and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me, I say “Do not despair.” The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish. Soldiers! Don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you and enslave you; who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel! Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder! Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men—machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have a love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate; the unloved and the unnatural. Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty! In the seventeenth chapter of St. Luke, it’s written “the kingdom of God is within man”, not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people, have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy, let us use that power. Let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfill their promise. They never will! Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfill that promise! Let us fight to free the world! To do away with national barriers! To do away with greed, with hate and intolerance! Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers, in the name of democracy, let us all unite!"
  • September 1, 2016Backpack safetyHello friends and visitors. If you have a child in school then you need to read this piece about backpack safety tips. This information comes from the National Safety Council and I think it's good information for all parents to know in order to help their children prevent injuries due to heavy backpacks. School backpack safety tips: Backpacks that are too heavy can cause a lot of problems for kids like back and shoulder pain and poor posture. The American chiropractic recommends a backpack weigh no more than 10% of a child’s weight. When selecting a backpack look for: 1- An ergonomic design. 2- The correct size: Never wider or longer than your child's torso and never hanging more than 4" below the waist. 3- Padded back and shoulder straps. 4- Hip and chest belt to help transfer some of the weight to the hips and torso. 5- Multiple compartments to better distribute the weight. 6- Compression straps on the sides or bottom to stabilize the contents. 7- Reflective material. I hope you found this information useful because our mission at Silver Lining Taekwon-do is to always bring you relevant and useful information to help you be your best all day, every day.
  • August 24, 2016CommitmentPerhaps of all the skills that martial arts teach people, commitment is one of the most valuable lessons. People always talk about being committed to something but never see it through. This means they were not really committed in the first place. So, before we talk about committing to something, let us first talk about how one comes to this state. 1- First you must decide what you want to commit yourself to. 2- You must figure out what value this commitment will bring to you. How will this improve your life? 3- You must identify the time it will take you to achieve your goal and decide if it's worth it to you and if you can stay committed and focused that long? 4- You must identify the potential setbacks and challenges and craft a plan to deal with them so you are not derailed from your goal. 5- Identify all the available resources that can help you stay committed. 6- Create a rewards system and give yourself a pat on the back for each milestone achieved. This will help you renew your commitment and will give you more courage to keep going. 7- Discipline yourself to work hard because success doesn't fall in your lap. It takes hard work and of course commitment. So, when I teach my students about commitment, I teach them all of these required steps to see things through. Most people are in the habit of saying they will do something and then never finish it. This is a very bad habit to build. Always finish what you start. It meant something to you in the first place and I believe that the value you saw in whatever you started didn't just vanish but what changed is your commitment to it. Teach yourself to always finish what you start. At Silver Lining Taekwon-do martial arts school we always teach real commitment to our students and we always give them all the support they need to be successful so long as they remain committed because we have an unwavering commitment to help them be the best they can be.