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Kovar Systems
Student Retention Staff Development Point to Ponder

Old School vs new school Martial Arts

By Chad Shepherd

Today’s blog is an excerpt from a book written by one of our Success Coaches, Shihan Chad Shepherd. Shihan Shepherd has been training for over 20 years and teaches as the head instructor at our Roseville location. His book comes from his years of experience of instructing classes and parenting.


In-teg-ri-ty: 1. completeness; wholeness. 2. Honesty, sincerity, etc.


“Old School”

Picture this scenario: You are running horribly late for an appointment because you got up late and took too long to get ready. You are rushing everyone around, the whole time scolding yourself out loud for oversleeping. Finally you reach your destination only to say “I am so sorry I’m late, traffic was terrible this morning.” Your child looks at you bewildered as you give them “THE LOOK.”

Sound like you are sending a mixed message? It should.  Sending a mixed message to a child can impact their definition of integrity and honesty. You see, 80% of our communication is our actions, and children are very observant of every action you take, especially when you don’t think they are paying attention

Old school martial artists were not too far from this way of teaching. Rarely did they talk about honesty or integrity. When they did speak about these virtues, it was usually some ancient story of a Samurai warrior in battle… only to find out latter that no such Samurai ever existed. And sometimes they simply told you not to lie and always be truthful, because it came from the mighty SENSEI, you obeyed.


“New School”

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Your actions speak so loudly I cannot hear what you say.” Since actions make up such a large part of our communication, we must make a choice to “talk the talk and walk the walk.”

If you want your students to have integrity, you must first have integrity. You should be truthful at all times and if you tell your students that eating at McDonalds is bad, then you definitely don’t want to be caught cramming a Big Mac into your mouth.

Besides living with integrity, one of the ways I have found to help students is to catch them being honest and create opportunities for them to be honest. I use a game called Sensei Says (just like Simon Says). If I trick the students, they are out and must immediately sit down, when they do; I praise the student for their honesty. I also let them know I would rather have them be the first person to sit down being honest than the last person standing having been dishonest.

Keep in mind that all children seek acceptance and attention; if you praise integrity, you will get integrity; if you give attention for dishonest behavior, and you will continue to get dishonest behavior.


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About Author: Shihan Chad Shepherd

shihan-shepherd-698513-edited.jpgShihan Chad Shepherd has been training in the Martial Arts for 23 years. Shihan Shepherd is a 5th Degree Black Belt in Kenpo, a 2nd degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do, and is actively training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  Shihan Shepherd is also a certified MMA conditioning coach under Kevin Kearns, and a former professional MMA fighter. He also holds the honor of being a United States Marine Corp Veteran and appearing in the John Woo film, Windtalkers.

Shihan Shepherd has been operating Martial Arts Academies for 14 years, and is currently operating Kovar's Roseville Academy, a 2300 sq. foot academy with an active count of 285 students and growing. Shihan Shepherd's passion, discipline and dedication in the field of Martial Arts can be seen in everything he does; be it training his students, developing his staff, or sharing his expertise.

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by Chad Shepherd