Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai was very brave because she sought an education in spite of being pressured by the Taliban, and shot for her beliefs.

In the dojo we talk about bravery, of which she is a fantastic example

more here

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Lifehacker’s top tips from Carl Sagan

Check out this great write up for productivity addicts on LifeHacker!

In it Carl Sagan shares his best tips for being productive.

Check it out here

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We are excited to be introducing a whole new layer to our life skills programme for our younger students here at the Shudokan Black Belt Academy. Not only will this add value to your child’s membership but it will give them more to strive for, and more opportunities for success. We believe that success can become a habit.

Even with the best parenting in the world sometimes it can be difficult to keep our children on the right path. In today’s society we have so many negative influences that can be quite damaging to our children’s outlook and the way they perceive the world. Some of these negative influences can have quite a powerful draw making it difficult if not impossible for our children to ignore them.

However the more we can encourage our youngsters to engage in positive activities, to contribute, and to foster within them a winning success based mindset then the better chance they have of really making something of themselves.

Our new “Way of the Warrior – Life skills” system does just that. Our young members will be encouraged to strive for new achievements. The achievements are arranged in categories and will be displayed on a board placed in the family room. This way both you and your child can keep an eye on progress. I am looking to make this a web based thing also so you can check progress from home. Each time an achievement is completed it is marked on the board. Initially this system is in trial and will only be available for juniors and cadets; our intention though is to expand its use to our Little Dragons and to develop it further for our junior leaders. Going forward we can add achievements and even categories to give your child plenty to strive for. We will be rewarding success here at the dojo and it would be great if you could monitor your child’s progress and maybe reward at home also. Please monitor your child’s progress and work with us to encourage your child to strive towards achievements. If you have any ideas or thoughts to help us develop this system we would be pleased to hear them.

Our aim is to give out young members the tools to rise above mediocrity, the vision to dream great dreams, and the courage, the determination, and the will to strive to make their dreams a reality. Together we can help your child create an amazing future.

To find out more about our Way of the Warrior Life skills programme contact us here 

Yours in Budo

Sensei Ken Robson 7th Dan

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Breaking Through Your Limitations

A wise phrase reads, “No one who has led a life of ease has a name worth remembering.” The lives of some of the most remarkable martial artists are woven with stories of great personal struggle. One of the qualities they all shared was relentless enthusiasm and optimism. We can all admire and learn from their unwavering positive attitudes. I don’t mean that we should adopt a “Pollyanna” attitude, and claim that the glass is half full when it is really empty. Instead, like these great martial artists, we could all benefit during our difficult moments, if we remember that, “this too shall pass.”
Control your reactions
Life always contains cycles of good times and bad. During either period, we only have control over one thing— our own behaviour—specifically, our reaction. Realizing this truth, great martial artists choose to develop habits, which lead them in the directions they wish to go. Once they determine their path, they stay diligent in their disciplines and choices. Everyone has heard the phrase, “attitude is everything,” but nothing sums up this concept as succinctly as the Japanese phrase, “Kaizen.” More than just a word, Kaizen represents a philosophy of commitment. The person makes a resolution to never stop improving.
Use your practice as a tool for disciplining and developing your body, as well as a means to building a strong and powerful attitude.

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Effective Goal Setting

With the New Year upon us and everyone thinking about new years resolutions, why not take some time to think about goals for the year too.

The purpose of effective goal setting is to achieve what you want in life in a successful, focused and decisive manner by taking the right actions in a lesser time frame.

Who doesn’t want to achieve more in less time, yet many of us abandon our goals before we accomplish them. Why is that?

Some of the reasons include: lack of confidence, not having a workable plan for achieving them, being unrealistic by expecting too much too soon, fear of failure, and lastly, putting too much pressure on ourselves to accomplish them.

Luckily there are strategies and behaviors we can adopt for successfully setting and achieving goals.

How do you start?

Know that you deserve success and achievement.
Before beginning the process of setting goals, know that you deserve success and that it is achievable for anyone who puts their mind to it. You must believe you can do what you set out to do and that you possess the talents and abilities for doing it. Unless you begin with this crucial premise, your efforts will be thwarted and you will fall short of accomplishing what you want.

Determine what you want.
One of the biggest problems people have in setting goals effectively is not knowing what they really want. Lacking a clear concept of what you want in life makes it difficult to proceed. The one thing all successful people have in common is that they are extremely focused and intensely goal oriented. They know what they want and they understand it takes setting goals to achieve it. A good way to begin the process is to take the time to write down the goals most meaningful to you and then list what you would need to do accomplish them. To  figure this out you can look at the ‘big picture’ of your life. Start a journal or workbook and write down for yourself the answers to some of these important questions:

  • Do I want to be in the best of health and what will it take to get there?
  • What do I want to achieve in my career?
  • What kind of family life do I want?
  • What kind of lifestyle do I want today and in the future?
  • How do I see myself in 5, 10 or 20 years from now?

As an example, under the goal of maintaining good health, you can jot down: exercise 3-4 times a week, eat a balanced diet of protein, fruits and vegetables, get 7-8 hours of sleep etc.

For where you want to be in 5 years, you might include: finish college degree; be earning an income of x amount of pounds; have a serious personal relationship (or avoid having a serious relationship until career is established).

Plan, organize and prioritize your goals in smaller, manageable chunks.
If you look at everything you want to achieve all at once, you might find it daunting and overwhelming, so it’s best to organize and prioritize your goals.  Instead, devise a workable plan for each item you want to accomplish. You know that your health goals need to be ongoing ones, so establish a daily routine or agenda that you can keep up on a regular basis. For a career goals, categorize them  in monthly, quarterly or yearly chunks. List points, or plan the actions required to attain a particular point in your career. This may include taking the odd supplemental course, doing extra reading, or volunteering in the community in order  to get exposure and experience. Since careers take time and effort to build, planning and organizing your moves makes good sense.

Review, update and revise.
Review and update your goals on a regular basis to ensure they are still relevant to you. Doing so also keeps you on track and taking the appropriate steps and actions. If some of your strategies aren’t working, fine tune them, or devise new ones. Likewise, figure out which obstacles and distractions are getting in your way and determine what you need to do to overcome them. We all know there will be setbacks and bumps in the road along the way to achieving our goals, but we need not let them hinder or take us off course. Revise and adjust the game plan where, and when, you need to.

Stay focused and motivated.
Staying focused and motivated is probably one of the hardest things to do when setting goals. It is common to periodically fall off the wagon however, it is essential to get back on track as soon as possible.

A great tool for keeping you focused is the journal or workbook you’ve been maintaining. Go over it regularly as a reference point and to remind yourself what you want to accomplish. Set up routines or habits that will ensure you stay on track. For example – do your exercises at the same time each day; drink your protein shake first thing in the morning.

Other helpful techniques for staying motivated include the use of relevant affirmations and visualization. Many successful people, especially athletes, swear by both. It’s important to ‘see’ yourself  accomplishing a goal before you actually do. Positive affirmations implant positive thoughts into your subconscious, which in turn, prompt you to take the right actions to achieve your goals.


The Benefits of Setting Goals

  • Give you the ‘big picture’ direction you want your life to take
  • Help keep you organized and focused
  • Build self-confidence and a sense of accomplishment
  • Help you achieve success more efficiently and in less time
  • Make the small day to day tasks more meaningful and purposeful

Goal setting, and certainly effective goal setting, has been a tried and true method for achieving success and accomplishment in life. Without it we would drift aimlessly and waste valuable time and effort in pursuits that lead nowhere.  So start now! Decide which goals are most meaningful to you and devise a plan for achieving them.


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Expand Your Comfort Zone

From a psychological standpoint your comfort zoneis an artificial mental boundary within which you maintain a sense of security and out of which you experience great discomfort.

For the most part your comfort zone is a reflection of yourself-image and how you think and expect things should be.

When you are in an uncomfortable situation, or one that doesn’t fit your expectations, you usually do whatever you can to make yourself comfortable again.

For many people, even if they are unhappy or unfulfilled, their natural inclination is to stay within the comfort zone simply because it is familiar and safe. Many stay in jobs, relationships, and situations that have long since lost their relevance only because they are afraid of the unknown. The truth is that security does not reside in anything outside of ourselves; instead, it lies within us.

Unfortunately, if you choose to remain in your comfort zone you will never find out what your true potential is or what you are capable of achieving. Nor can you really succeed at anything without venturing out of the comfort of your safety net.

If, however, you make the decision to move beyond the circumstances, people, and experiences you are familiar with, you move out of your comfort zone and onto the path of personal development. It is a path that forces you to stretch yourself, push your limits and become more than you were.

Of course you don’t have to do anything extraordinarily out of character, like climbing Mt. Everest or swimming the English Channel if you have no inclination or desire for it. Stretching yourself does not have to be that extreme.

Anyone who takes a new subject in school, learns a new language, takes up a new sport or starts a new job, operates out of their comfort zone in the beginning.

Ultimately, if you ever want to achieve anything noteworthy or out of the ordinary expanding your comfort zone is a must!

Here are some other things you can do:

  1. Break from a routine or  habit you’ve had for a long time and find a different, perhaps better way to do it.

  2. If you’re typically a sedentary person take a break from reading or the computer and find a physical activity you can enjoy and partake in. If you’re normally very active, learn to wind down, read or relax.

  3. Read a book, watch a movie or listen to musicin a genre you’re not familiar with. If you usually read mysteries, try reading an inspiring biography, if you like action movies, try a romantic comedy, if you just listen to rock, try some jazz music.

  4. If you happen to be a shy person and have trouble speaking in front of people, join a group like Toastmasters International where they encourage you to speak in public by using positive and helpful techniques. The more practice you get, the more comfortable you’ll be and the better you will feel about yourself.

  5. Go to an ethnic restaurant and try a dish from a culture different from your own. It will stimulate your taste buds and possibly open up a whole new cuisine.

  6. Volunteer at the downtown mission or soup kitchen for a day and realize how comfortable your life really is, while helping someone at the same time.



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Strategies for Overcoming Fear

1) Acknowledge the fear. Whether it’s imagined or real, the first step in overcoming fear is to admit that it exists. We all have fears; it’s human nature. Denying or ignoring them doesn’t make them go away.

2) Analyze it. Where does it come from? Is it real or imagined? Can it be put in a different context? For instance if you think it through to its logical conclusion, what’s the worst that can happen to you? Once you’ve determined what that might be, ask yourself if you can deal with, or overcome it. More often than not, once you go through the process of analyzing it, the fear isn’t as scary as you originally imagined.

3) Face it. Allow yourself to feel it, and then do it anyway. Act in spite of your fear and treat is as a challenge for personal growth and an opportunity to become stronger.

4) Be persistent. Do the thing you fear over and over again. By doing it repeatedly it loses its power over you and you become less vulnerable to it.

5) Develop courage. Sometimes the answer may not be to conquer a particular fear; it may be to develop courage. If you focus too much on any one fear instead of trying to build courage, you may in fact, intensify it. By developing courage you build self-confidence and resilience. You also build a healthy approach towards facing all fear.




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Ways To Develop Your Mind – Part 2

11. Ask For What You Want In Life

If you don’t ask you won’t get. Asking for your wants puts it out there. I mean literally ask and metaphorically ask. When you want a big house or a mansion, ask out loud and send it out there. When you want the smaller things in life, ask for them from people who can give you them. Always pay it forward.

12. When Someone Does You A Good Turn Pay It Forward

If you receive a compliment, thank the person and look for an opportunity to give someone else a compliment. If you receive a gift, give a gift to someone else at an opportune time.

13. Love The One You’re With

Always let your partner know how much you love them by telling them and showing them. This way your mind is focused on them for at least part of the day.

14. Make New friends

Whether it be online or offline. Keeping yourself busy socially is stimulating for the mind and lets you see the world from others peoples perspective.

15. Make Love Regularly

Releasing the feel good chemicals, endorphins, into your bloodstream is a great way to stimulate the mind. I have to admit to feeling much more creative after making love.

16. Turn Off The TV

There’s nothing more brain numbing than having the TV on all day every day. Exercise your mind and read a book, or at least watch something educational.

17. Tidy House Tidy Mind

There really is nothing better than clearing your house or office space to clear your mind. When the house is not tidy there is always a niggling at the back of your mind. When the house, office and workspace is totally clean and tidy it frees your mind to concentrate on work or your family at home.

18. Exercise Your Mind Not Just Your Body

We all know the benefits of exercising the body but exercising the mind by doing crosswords, maths puzzles, playing chess, reading, anagrams, sudoku etc, all help to increase the minds capacity for learning.

19. Read Philosophy

The beauty of philosophy is that there is no right and wrong. However, reading different philosophers views about the world will stimulate your mind.

20. Watch A Motivational Video On Youtube First Thing In The Morning

This is a great way to start the day. Just type in motivational into youtube search box, sort by view count and watch a few videos.


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Ways to Develop Your Mind

1. Do the Thing You Fear the Most.

If there’s one thing that will change your thoughts quicker than anything else, it’s facing your fears.

2. Stand up For Yourself

A lot of people have difficulty in standing up for themselves. The first time you do it can be very empowering and your thoughts about yourself will change forever.

3. Stop Talking

It’s great to be silent for just a little while. Our thoughts turn inward and we begin to appreciate ourselves just a little more.

4. Strengthen Your Strengths

Sometimes we focus too much on trying to strengthen our weaknesses when we should be concentrating on strengthening our strengths.

5. Blindfold Yourself for a Day

Walk in the shoes of a blind person for 1 full day, it will forever change the way you think about life.

6. Give Money to Someone Unexpectedly

Whether it be on the internet, or in the street, just give a larger than normal donation to someone. This again is liberating and your thoughts about money will change for a few moments (that’s all it takes to start the process of changing your life.)

7. Strengthen Your Thoughts About Yourself

Reinforce your thoughts about your good points. If you are good at talking to people, tell yourself this often. If you are good at maths, tell yourself often. This has the benefit of reinforcing and strengthening your self image.

8. Take A Risk

Life would be boring without ever having taken a risk in your life. Do something that you didn’t want to do because you thought you wouldn’t be any good at it. This totally smashes the boundaries of your comfort zone and your life could change forever.

9. Talk To A Stranger

Again this is breaking our comfort zones, but just saying hi to stranger in the street or good morning can have an enormous impact on your day and the person you said hi to.

10. Stop Contact With Your Down People

If you have people in your life who constantly drag you down, or are negative all the time, drop them. Honestly drop them from your life, you are not serving them and they are not serving you and they are dragging your thoughts down.

11. Work Toward, What You Think, Is An Impossible Goal

If you work toward a goal without expectation you don’t care about the outcome as much. When you don’t care about the outcome, you don’t have as much expectation.

12. Practice Gratitude

We all know what we don’t have in our lives because we spend a lot of time wishing we had them, but are we really thankful for what we have? Spend time every single day being thankful for the good things we do have in our lives.


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Quotes to Boost Your Daily Motivation, Productivity and Optimism

Here’s a selection of some of my favourite quotes. I hope they inspire you…

It is possible to move mountains by carrying small stones

Chinese Proverb

Our life is a creation of our mind


I can therefore I am

Simon Weil

It is never too late to be what you might have been

George Eliot

The difference between try and triumph is just a little umph

Marvin Phillips

Trust in what you love continue to do it and it will take you where you need to go


We are shaped by our thoughts we become what we think


Your imagination is worth more than you imagine

Louis Aragon

Our thoughts and imagination are the only real limits to our possibilities


You already possess everything you need to become great

Crow proverb

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step
Lao Tzu

Thought is the seed of action.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams live the life you have imagined


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