• 0

The Benefits of Mental Workouts for Kids and Teens

Category : FC Youth News

Hey FC Kids and Parents,


“Focus on your Breathing” is a common phrase you have all heard me saying during the youth classes. The benefits of focused breathing is incredibly powerful. I was reading this wonderful article the other day that talked about just that very fact. Have a read and please share it with other parents that could benefit.


The Benefits of Mental Workouts for Kids and Teens
By Daniel Goleman


“My child just can’t stay focused.” I’ve heard this over and over again as I’ve been touring the country talking about my book ‘Focus’. Parents are worried. My response: Of course they can’t. And there’s something you can do about it.


First, the science. The brain is the last organ of the body to finish growing. It does not become anatomically mature until the mid-20s. During that time circuits for everything from managing your emotions to staying concentrated are strengthening. And while they are still growing, the external signs of this are a child or teen who can’t stay concentrated and who gets easily emotionally upset. That’s normal. Of course some kids have an especially hard time focusing and managing their distress. That’s where a new understanding of how the brain grows can help. “Neuroplasticity”  is the term brain scientists use for the way the brain gets shaped through repeated experiences – the more repetitions of a given behavior, the stronger the circuitry for it becomes. That applies to focus. And it turns out the brain’s circuits for focusing is intertwined with those for recovering from emotional upsets.


I visited an early elementary school in New York City’s Spanish Harlem neighborhood, where most of the students lived in housing projects and came from poor, often chaotic, families. You’d expect the classrooms to be equally chaotic – but when I observed a second-grade group, they were calm and focused. The secret? A teacher told me they try lots of methods, but one of the most important is their daily “breathing buddies” session, where each child lies on the floor, puts a small stuffed animal on their belly, and watches how it rises as they breath in, and falls as they breath out. They count one-two-three on the in breath and out breath, and after just a few minutes of the exercise get up feeling calm and focused.


Studies of the impact of similar mental workouts find that it not only helps kids focus on their school work better, but children act more emotionally mature, better able to handle upsets. The technical name for this skill is ‘cognitive control’. Research finds this single ability predicts a child’s adult financial success and health better than either their IQ or their family’s wealth. The same concentration game can be adapted to older age groups – even for teens. There’s a special need for such help in the teen years, because of a gap between key brain systems in their growth rate. In teens the reward system leaps ahead, making them more impulsive and distracted, while the systems for thinking about consequences – and inhibiting that impulse – lags behind.


Whatever the age, the effect is the same: kids become better able to concentrate, feel calmer, and are less distracted and impulse-driven. Teacher’s love kids who have these abilities: it makes them ready to learn.

  • 0

Canadian Teacher Wins “Global Teacher Prize”

Category : FC Youth News

Hey FC Parents,


Hope you all had a fun and relaxing March Break. See you all at FC this week for classes.
Found this article in the paper today about an amazing teacher from Northern Quebec.


Have a read…


Canadian teacher wins coveted $1M global prize


A Canadian school teacher whose teaching philosophy underscores hope and acts of kindness in an isolated corner of Quebec won a $1 million prize Sunday in what has become one of the most-coveted and high-profile awards for teaching excellence!
Maggie MacDonnell was awarded the annual Global Teacher Prize during a ceremony in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, beating out thousands of applicants from around the world.

Canadian school teacher Maggie MacDonnell, receives the Global Teacher Prize from Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, March 19, 2017.

 The prize was established three years ago to recognize one exceptional teacher a year who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession, employs innovative classroom practices and encourages others to join the teaching profession.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered his congratulations in a video message that was broadcast at the event. “On behalf of all Canadians, from one teacher to another, congratulations on winning the Global Teacher Prize 2017,” the message began. “You have done extraordinary things in exceptional circumstances and have showed enormous heart, will and imagination,” said Trudeau, a former teacher himself.
Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, Governor General David Johnston, and astronaut Chris Hadfield all took to social media to congratulate the Nova Scotia-born teacher, who has been teaching in northern Quebec since 2010.The Kativik School Board also putting out a release praising MacDonnell’s work at Ikusik High School in Salluit, Quebec’s second-most northern community.


Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum was on hand to present the prize to MacDonnell. Her name was announced by French astronaut Thomas Pasquet in a video message from the International Space Station. MacDonnell was among 10 finalists flown to Dubai to attend the ceremony. The nine others hail from Pakistan, the UK, Jamaica, Spain, Germany, China, Kenya, Australia and Brazil. Last week MacDonnell told the Canadian Press she was excited three of her students could make the trip to Dubai with her. “They’re a huge part of the story and the reason I chose to get involved (in the award) was to make sure it could in some way benefit their lives,” she said. She said that if she won she wanted to start an environmental stewardship program for northern youth, focused on kayaking. MacDonnell has been teaching in Salluit for six years. According to her biography, Salluit is home to the second northernmost Inuit indigenous community in Quebec, with a population of just over 1,300, and can only be reached by air.


Her perseverance to continue teaching in the remote area, where many teachers leave their post midway through the year, made her a standout for the award. MacDonnell created a number of programs for boys and girls, including job mentorship and funds to assist with healthy meals. She also established a fitness centre for youth and adults in the local community, where drug use and alcoholism rates are high due to the region’s harsh winters and isolation. The tiny village witnessed six suicides in 2015, all affecting young males between the ages of 18 and 25. Her approach focuses on emphasizing “acts of kindness” such as running a community kitchen and attending suicide prevention training. “The memory that continues to haunt me is when I see these Canadian teenagers, their very own classmates of the deceased, literally digging the grave,” she said. “I didn’t know until I came to Salluit that that was a Canadian reality.”


Last year, Palestinian teacher Hanan al-Hroub won for her efforts in encouraging students to renounce violence and embrace dialogue. The inaugural prize went to Nancie Atwell, an English teacher from Maine.
The award is presented by the Varkey Foundation. Its founder, Sunny Varkey, established the for-profit GEMS Education company, which has more than 250 schools around the world.
The foundation’s CEO, Vikas Pota, said in a statement that the award aims to shine a spotlight on great teachers and share their stories with the world.
Also Sunday, 15 countries, including Chile, Iraq, Japan, Pakistan, Portugal, Somalia, Ukraine and Yemen, announced they would launch national teaching prizes with the support of the Varkey Foundation.

  • 0

March Break Closure

Category : FC Youth News

Hey FC Youth & Parents,

Just a quick reminder that the Systema Youth Program at FightClub will be closed from Friday March 10th till Saturday March 18th for March Break.  Regular classes schedule will resume after March 19th.


Have a fun and safe March Break Everyone!

  • 0

Connect their mind and body

Category : FC Youth News

Hey FC Youth and Parents,


They’ll Connect Their Mind and Body


What they don’t teach our kids in school is how to really listen to your body. To listen to your body is to also see your thoughts and have heightened awareness of your emotional construct.

In Systema training at FightClub we teach kids to see, feel, and listen – both internally and externally. Tapping into intuition, fear, and courage are examples of being able to put the physical together with the mental. How often have we heard the phrase “being paralyzed with fear”? Being able to combat such a thing is just one of the many great skills kids are learning at FightClub.


See you at FC this week,

  • 0

Organizational Skills

Category : FC Youth News

Hey FC Parents and Kids,
Most kids generate a little chaos and disorganization. Yours might flit from one thing to the next — forgetting books at school, leaving towels on the floor, and failing to finish projects once started.You’d like them to be more organized and to stay focused on tasks,  Is it possible?
Yes! A few kids seem naturally organized, but for the rest, organization is a skill learned over time. With help and some practice, kids can develop an effective approach to getting stuff done.
And you’re the perfect person to teach your child, even if you don’t feel all that organized yourself!
Easy as 1-2-3
For kids, all tasks can be broken down into a 1-2-3 process.
  1. Getting organized means a kid gets where he or she needs to be and gathers the supplies needed to complete the task. For coming to FightClub its putting on their FC T-shirts on and getting a water bottle filled and packed. 
  2. Staying focused means sticking with the task and learning to say “no” to distractions. In FC class this means that when the teacher is talking they should sit facing the teacher, legs crossed, mouth closed and ears open.  
  3. Getting it done means finishing up, checking your work, and putting on the finishing touches. After class listen to the teachers final words and ask any questions about what you learned that day.
Not only is it practical to teach these skills, but knowing how to get stuff done will help your child feel more competent and effective. Kids feel self-confident and proud when they’re able to accomplish their tasks and responsibilities. Use the moments before coming to class to re-enforce getting organized. To me learning happens before, during and after FC classes. 
See you at FC,

systema blog systema video archery systema store


Subscribe to FC Youth Newsletter

toronto systema training