Welcome to Northwest School of Martial Arts, a Stanwood, WA family martial arts school. Northwest School of Martial Arts has been serving the local community since 1988.
“Beyond Self-Defense. Mind-Body Discipline for a Better You!” Located downtown at the Stanwood Mason Hall, we teach Karate, Tae Kwon Do, and Arnis to people of all ages. From youth who want to fly high and kick, to teens who need a confidence boost, women who need vital self-defense skills, and adults who want fitness, discipline, and a mental challenge: whoever you are, we can be a part of your journey towards a better, healthier, more confident you!
The best challenges are the ones we have a choice in. By choosing to undertake difficulty, we make ourselves stronger. –Sensei/YDN Caitlin
Pile o’ belts.
Today, I was reading about the history of using colored belts when I came across another great quote. “Achievement of rank should be considered as a side-effect of karate training and not a goal.”(You can read the essay here if you’re interested, but it is a fairly dry [no offense to its author] historical essay full of facts, names, and dates).
Anyhoo, I agree that your training shouldn’t only be focused on achieving belt rank. That’s shortsighted, and misses the point of martial arts.
But I *do* think that testing is an important ritual in martial arts. Let me explain… (click “more”).
Karate is like a video game. Karate is better than video games. (Sorry, gamers). In order to bust a move in karate, you will need to engage in the act of “grinding.”
The students in the picture below are grinding. They don’t realize it, but front stance straight punch is the very definition of grinding for karateka. Isn’t it beautiful?
NWSMA youth class in action!
What does “grinding” mean anyway?
In video/computer gaming culture, “grinding” refers to engaging in repetitive tasks for a purpose, either to attain an item, badge, or to unlock access to certain features. The repetitive tasks are rarely entertaining.
Tl;dr “grinding” means to do the same thing. Again and again, a lot. And it’s not terribly exciting or fun.
Hmmm….this is starting to sound like karate! Click the “more” link to hear about why grinding is important, not just in games! Continue reading →
When I look at a black belt candidate–a high-ranked student who is getting close to black belt–I usually rely on a gut feeling to tell me whether or not they’re ready for black belt.
By black belt, I mean 1st degree. Provisional black belts are not yet black belts, they are on probation and have to prove themselves worthy of that rank. By “candidates” I mean everyone from brown belt to provisional black belt–people who aren’t yet there but are trying to get there.
The demo team bows after their performance.
Today, instead of relying on my gut, I want to try to articulate some of the things I’m looking for in black belt candidates: all brown, advanced brown, and provisional black belts.
Look at any martial arts website, and you’ll often find a list of benefits of martial arts. No matter the source, the lists of benefits are usually pretty accurate.
However, something I have never seen mentioned is the benefit of learning a foreign language.
Vocab study notes on a sticky note are great to attach to a mirror or cupboard so you can look at them every day!
In martial arts, often, it is required for the student to learn vocabulary in a foreign language. The actual language depends on the art. It can be as simple as learning to count to ten, or as complicated as learning to recite dojo creeds in another language.
Granted, the instructor may not be a native speaker. But generally speaking, exposure to a foreign language at a young age does cool stuff to the brain.
Additionally, martial arts is a kinetic activity, involving movement. By learning in a way that connects language with movement, children may also become more flexible learners.
“Understands the importance of a proper diet” is a mental requirement for our Tae Kwon Do students.
Each TKD belt level has 4 mentals, and students must memorize and recite them at tests. We also usually ask each student to talk about what they mean, and occasionally ask for a short essay if a student has not been displaying the values contained in the mental requirement.
But back to the importance of a proper diet. If you train like an athlete, you should eat like one.
If you’ve ever participated in a competition or have taken a test, you know that nerves can sometimes get the better of you. Even if you know the subject well, test anxiety can paralyze your performance and skew your scores. According to the ADAA, 1/8 children suffers from some kind of anxiety disorder, as well as millions of adults.
Do tests make you feel like this?
Martial arts is great for learning to overcome test anxiety. The system is set up for each student to learn progressively, in steps, at their own pace.