Too Many Coach and too Few Mentor

Category : FC Youth News


Hey FC Parents and Kids,

Many of you have commented on the positive ways I interact with your kids – Thank you for your feedback and kind words. Let me explain in a little more detail my approach and why I feel it’s so effective. For me it comes down to two approaches – Coaching vs Mentoring. Let me explain the difference …

Coaching and Mentoring are not the same thing. My experiences support the conclusion that mentoring is a power free, two-way mutually beneficial learning situation where the mentor provides advice, shares knowledge, and experiences, and teaches using a low pressure, self-discovery approach. 

Teaching using ‘learning’ versus ‘teacher to student’ model and, being willing to not just question for self-discovery but also freely sharing their own experiences and skills with the partners. The mentor is both a source of information/knowledge and a Socratic questioner. If I am a coach my concern is your performance and enrolling your support in the vision/direction. A coach has a set agenda to reinforce or change skills and behaviors. Mentors, on the other hand are facilitators and teachers allowing the partners to discover their own direction. 

Students with good mentors would say things like this…”They let me struggle so I could learn.”

A good mentor….”Never provided solutions—always asking questions to surface a student own thinking and let them find solutions.”

Are public schools cannot adopt this approach. There are simply too many kids in each class and teachers are pressed for time under school board curriculum formats. What I provide for the kids as a mentor is something I believe our kids will need a lot more of in the future. That is to be self-driven and self-learning. 

At FightClub they are on a journey through Systema with me as the guide.  Ask yourself – what kid doesn’t like to go on journey? 🙂 



Resiliency so Important for our Kids

Category : FC Youth News

Hey FC Parents and Kids,

I wanted to talk to you today about giving your kids something a little different this new school year. Resiliency is an attribute that is so important for our kids to have in modern life. They are exposed to so much information (unfortunately most of it bad) and it leaves them feeling confused, frustrated and consequently with an ever grow sense of anxiety. These are not my opinions but medical facts coming out from our highest educational institutions. Kids need to be mentally tough enough to handle all they see and hear these day, but who teaches this or even talks about it?

Here is article I found that might highlight what I mean a little more clearly. Feel free to share this with parents you know and care about. Tell them to bring their kids for a few free lessons so they can see how important and vital the lessons taught at FightClub our for kids.

See you on the mats,


Our Precious Little Snowflakes

by MARGARET WENTE  – The Globe and Mail


The other day a proud father showed me a photo of his son’s graduation. There was the beaming scholar, diploma in hand, tasselled mortarboard on head, ready to take on the world.

“Congratulations,” I said. But something puzzled me. The kid is only three feet tall. He’s graduating from nursery school.

“Since when do nursery schools have graduation ceremonies?” I asked.

“Oh, they have graduation ceremonies for everything these days,” he said. “It was a big deal. All the parents came. Grandparents too. And of course the nannies.”

This celebration of a child’s every accomplishment, however slight, is something new. By the time a kid reaches 18, she will have accumulated boxes and boxes of diplomas, medals, ribbons, trophies and certificates for just showing up – whether she’s any good at anything or not.

There’s also a good chance that her parents will still be as heavily involved as ever – guiding, advising, applauding, and doing everything they can to protect their little snowflake from any sense of failure or rejection. The task of parental rescuing now extends well beyond the age the kid is old enough to vote.

A few weeks ago I found myself sharing a table with several business executives and a dean from a leading community college. All had stories to tell about overly protective parents. The dean described parents who help their kids write their essays (these kids are 20), and complain to him if they think their children’s marks are too low. A bank executive told us that it’s not uncommon for parents to call the HR department if they think their kid got an unfair performance appraisal. (He made me swear not to name the bank.) A manager with a major multinational told us how a mother called his office to complain about her son’s too lowly job description.

“I hear stories all the time from recruiters,” says Nate Laurie, who runs Jobpostings, Canada’s leading online student job network. “Parents call the recruiter and ask if he got their child’s resumé, or why their child didn’t get the job. When the kid goes for an interview, they go with her and sit in the waiting room.”

When baby boomer kids were young, there were so many of us that we were nothing special. Our parents never told us how exceptional we were. They never would have dreamed of complaining to the principal if we flunked math. They yelled at us instead. The threshold of adulthood was the day we got our bachelor’s degree. After that, we were on our own.

Today people have fewer kids, so it’s natural to be more invested in them. There is no such thing as an “average” child any more. Each one is a unique and special individual whose ego and talents must be nurtured like a hothouse flower so that she’ll reach her full potential. Parents pay more attention to their children than ever before in history. And they’re stuck to them like glue.

When I went to university I called home once a week, on Sunday night, on a pay phone at the end of the hall that I shared with 29 other girls. We talked for about three minutes. They knew nothing about my life, and that was fine with me. Today, parents (especially moms) text their kids 20 times a day. They know the smallest details of their children’s lives.

“A lot of parents can’t separate from their kids,” says my friend Barbara Moses, who’s a career counsellor. “Their identity is overly tied to their children’s success and failure. I hear mothers say, ‘We are having trouble finding a job.’ ”

One reason “we” are having trouble finding a job, according to Mr. Laurie, is that expectations are far too high. “Do what you love,” we urge our children, as if there’s a dream job out there just for them. But “do what you love” is probably the worst career advice in the world. It implants the notion that doing what you love can produce a sustainable livelihood – which isn’t always the case, alas. It also sends the message that if you don’t wind up doing what you love, then you’re a flop. That’s how you get freelance writers who are still living in a basement apartment at age 35 and wondering why things haven’t worked out the way they were supposed to.

Sometimes you have to compromise in life, but we don’t want to break this crushing news to our children. Personally, I’ve met far too many young adults who graduate from university with plans to work in development/save the world/find a career in environmental sustainability. There’s nothing wrong with these noble aspirations. What’s amazing is that no adults have ever levelled with them.

Reality will bite soon enough, of course. The idea that your job should be your passion is a misguided romantic notion that only the upper-middle-class can afford to entertain. In fact, most people wind up in areas that nobody ever talks about. “Insurance is a very interesting field,” Mr. Laurie assured me. “But no one says ‘I want to go into insurance.’ ”

The trouble is, snowflakes are not very resilient. They tend to melt when they hit the pavement. How will our snowflake children handle the routine stresses of the grownup world – the obnoxious colleagues, pointless meetings, promotions that don’t come their way? 

How will they cope when no one thinks they’re special any more?

I’m afraid they could be in for a hard landing.



Another School Year is about to Begin! 

Category : FC Youth News


Hey FC Parents and Kids,

Here we go again, another school year has begun. I’ve got a great curriculum planned for the kids this September till December.

The world is so much more complex than when I was in school and I’m sure you feel the same as I do. Our youth must develop and use the skill of creativity more and more as the world progresses towards a new age. This is why I put such a big emphasis on this during the Systema training at FightClub.

In a global world, creativity is essential. Through the use of creative thinking, youth learn to be innovative and flexible in a world in which they will act as leaders and influencers.

Individuals first need to understand creativity. Creativity can be defined as the ability to think beyond the traditional into the imagined; it also involves viewing things through a new light. Creativity looks for a deeper meaning that leads to deeper solutions, looking at everyday things, events or the world as a whole as if new combinations of ideas would lead to something more profound in understanding and finding solutions to problems.

By having the kids at FightClub learn how to be creative with breathing, moving, various exercises, working with different partners/ages/genders, walking and talking with each other, and so much more I try to cultivate lots creativity.

Creativity is usually associated with the arts (martial arts), but when elevated to “creative thinking” it can apply to world problems, such as global warming and interaction between countries, world economics, world politics or world understanding. When thinking globally, being able to understand the “big picture” is only part of what is considered creative thinking. Understanding the “big picture” and being able to influence the outcome of problems, issues or topics of concern is the more realistic use of the creative process.

All this might sound a lot for kids to comprehend (and it very well might be), but I would rather them hear it early, hear it often and pick up even 20% of it rather than waiting till they are older.

Kids are so clever these days and I love to challenge them! Something I feel our schools don’t do enough of… Feel free to share this with parents you know and care about. Tell them to bring their kids for a few free lessons so they can see how important and vital the lessons taught at FightClub our for kids.




Our Worst Nightmares Happen in Classrooms

Category : FC Youth News


There’s a reason why, even as adults, many of our worst nightmares continue to be set in classrooms or feature us naked and unprepared for exams: School is where a wide range of fears meet, mingle and multiply. No matter what age, all kids can use a gentle check-in from their parents about any anxieties they may be feeling.

“You want the child starting the year off in a confident manner”


Some Symptoms …

The hallmark of anxiety is avoidance of the thing that is scaring us; for kids, that means they simply won’t want to go to school. The most common way this manifest itself physically is a stomach ache, It’s not fake, either; it’s a real physiological response. “It starts the night before or the morning of as the stressor approaches. And if the child doesn’t go to school, the stomach ache goes away.”

Little ones …

To ease your kids’ fears, experts suggest mapping out the routine, even walking the route to school a few times. Some teachers will have had open doors this week, but even if you missed that chance, visiting the school grounds can still be soothing.

If you’ve been the parent or seem to be more attached with your four-year-old , it may be clear that she is going to meltdown as you try to peel her off you; send your spouse or an older sibling to walk to school with the child.

I says kids are never too young to learn simple deep-breathing techniques to calm themselves down – This is what I teach in the Youth Martial Arts Classes at FightClub.

Older kids

You thought you were in the clear once your kids made it out of kindergarten alive? Transitions to a new school – especially giant high schools for Grade 9 – can be tough for other reasons, including fears around failure, bullying, and hazing.

The anxiety of being at the bottom of the food chain can be paralyzing, It’s not uncommon to speak to teens who have not visited their lockers for six months because they have forgotten the combination. ”They say, ‘I don’t know who to ask.’ They’re afraid to look stupid.”

They are also in perhaps the toughest stage of human development, don’t forget. It’s an adolescent’s job to reject his parents. But he, too, may beg to stay home one day, paralyzed by anxiety. You can help them best by not pointing out this disconnect.

“Listening is the most important skill for these older kids. You may think you know exactly what is bothering them, but you might be way off base”

And once the lines of communication are open, resist the urge to share your own anxieties about high school. This is not the time to talk about drugs or sex.

Rule No. 1

Don’t let them skip school. “Parents have to be firm”. Consider going to school the best way to conquer the fears. “Every day you do it, it becomes easier.” Routine is critical for children of all ages. In this case, experts say, the goal is to make what was once scary totally boring.

What about you?

Don’t forget that your face is the ultimate mirror, Listen to your child’s concerns, of course, but “don’t be all weepy and sad yourself. I suggest telling your own stories about school jitters – complete, of course, with a happy ending.



Category : FC Youth News


Over-parenting has been a hot topic lately. It’s a serious problem that is crippling an entire generation. Over-parenting is not good parenting, but it is often disguised as such. As a result, young adults enter college unable to cope with problems or stress, unable to interact with adults and overall are unprepared for adult life ahead.

If you want to have strong, successful, emotionally healthy kids, the worst thing you can do for them is be over involved in their lives, protecting them from every obstacle they may face. Are you over-parenting your child? Here are some signs that you might be:

Your child calls you with every problem he encounters 

It is normal for your five-year-old to need you to help him with his problems. It is not normal, nor is it OK, for your 19-year-old to be calling you from college every day whenever an issue arises. If he is unable to problem solve on his own, this means he never had to do so when he was growing up. Don’t jump in and tackle every problem or issue your child faces, allow him to figure out how to solve problems on his own.

Your child can’t handle disappointment

No one enjoys disappointment. Not making the team or the school play is difficult for any child, but these things should not cause a complete meltdown. Resiliency is one of the strongest signs of good parenting. If your child has never practiced resiliency because you have done everything you can to protect her from disappointment, she will not be able to handle the inevitable adversity she will face in life.

Allow her to face pain and disappointment, at least every once in a while, so she can practice getting back up when she falls down.

Your child avoids hard work (and always looks for short-cuts)

If you are problem solved for your child and protected him from anything that could disappointment him, chances are he will expect life to be easy. Over-parenting produces unrealistic expectations in a child and doesn’t prepare them for the real world. When faced with the reality that he must work hard in life, he will look for a short-cut or a way out. If you catch your child trying to get out of a homework assignment or not wanting to practice his instrument for his next lesson, perhaps this is because he has been handed too many things in life and is in need of learning how to work hard.

You consistently do homework for your child or calling the teacher 

If you often find yourself up late at night reading your child’s book for her book report due that week, you are most certainly over-parenting. Doing your child’s work for her will not do her any favours. What will she do when she’s away at college and doesn’t have you to help her anymore? What will she do in her first job when she has to give a presentation? If your child has procrastinated on her book report, allow her to learn this hard lesson: she will have to stay up all night to get the work done if she procrastinates.

You spend hours scouring the internet for the right foods, vitamins, preschool …

Parents, I know it is tempting to get caught up in the minor details of parenting. There are countless “experts” out there telling you how to parent your child and many of them claim it has more to do with feeding them organic food than it does loving them and spending time with them. Don’t fall prey to this. This is over-involvement in the details and not only is it a sign you are over-parenting; it will also make you crazy. Don’t fuss over every little detail of your child’s life. Focus on the big things, like loving him and spending time with them. The rest will fall into place.

All parents are doing the best they can. I understand this. I have two children of my own and I’ve been teaching hundreds for over 10 years at FightClub. It is tempting to over-parent or over-teach, but remember, the goal is to raise great kids. Just remember ….


“Don’t parent in a way that only protects them today; parent in a way that will prepare them for tomorrow”

See you all back on the mats in September,




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