Turning Your Weaknesses Into Strengths:  Martial Arts Develops the "Yes I Can!" Attitude

On the journey to become a Black Belt, be careful not to allow negative thoughts to create limitations. We spend a lot of time worrying about the future or the unknown but these are unfounded concerns which merely appear real. We worry that we won’t master our required techniques and that we’ll be criticized. Yet, attitude affects environment. It’s often our outlook that determines what we can accomplish. In fact, the very areas that you consider your weakest points can actually become your strengths—if you’re willing to work on them!

Turning your weaknesses into strengths sounds like a daunting task, but with concentration and a commitment to excel, it’s very possible. For example, if you think that a particular school subject such as math, is one of your weak areas, it means that you just need to devote more time to that subject. You can ask your teacher for extra help, get a tutor, or ask your parents to spend more time helping you with homework problems. In math, as with Martial Arts and many other things in life, practice makes perfect. While you may not be perfect, you can master things that you find difficult.

The easiest way to turn your weaknesses into strengths is to spend more time reminding yourself of what you can do and less time thinking about what you can’t do. Mind over matter, a concept integral to the study of Martial Arts, is a very concrete objective. Just devote your time and thoughts to the affirmation "I can do it!" That’s it. If you pick one area at a time, work on it in earnest, and repeat as often as possible "I can do it" (replacing "it" with the task at hand), you will be well on your way to improving your skills in all areas. Develop a "Yes I can!" attitude, and you will see your very own weaknesses turn into your strengths.

"Pick of the Month"

You’ve seen him around ... He’s taught you in class ... Now its time to get to know the real Sensei Mathew Bergstresser !

Mr. Matt Bergstresser was born in Miami, Florida to a family of four. As a youngster he wasn’t interested in sports. He liked to watch karate films which is what got him interested in taking karate lessons. At the age of twelve he first started his journey to become a Black Belt. When he reached his goal he wanted to go further and began training towards his Nidan (second degree). He is presently preparing for his Sandan (third degree). He has also trained in Aikido and Sayak Kali and is a NiKyu in Kobudo.

Mr. Bergstresser is currently twenty-four years old. Besides being a karate instructor his daytime job is as a Huffy Retail Servicer. He uses these two jobs to support himself as a single guy and to save money for a Masters degree. He already has a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology from FIU. Between working and training Mr. Bergstresser doesn’t have a lot of time for himself. One of his hobbies is playing classical guitar, which some might find quite surprising since, as the kids well know, he is a big fan of Metal. Some of his favorite bands are Metallica, Tool, and Stabbing Westward. In the rest of his spare time he lifts weights, eats ice cream (his favorite), goes to concerts, and studies WWII History.

Mr. Bergstresser has been at the Karate School for thirteen years now. He is a well-known Black Belt who always trains very hard. We appreciate all his efforts in helping make the University Karate Center the best place to train in Martial Arts.

1998 Mudokai Karate Team

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1998 Mudokai Karate Team

Body Conditioning for Adults

Set your sights on looking this year! With just a few additions to your daily routine, you can improve your fitness dramatically in a few months.

By improving nutritional habits, adding more aerobic exercise like our "Funkicks" classes and continuing the Martial Arts, you’ll find that you will feel and look better than ever.

Sit-ups are a great way to tone your body; and a strong midsection helps coordinate your lower body to help you with the Martial Arts. You must be careful when trying to perform sit-ups though because improper form can lead to back injury or simply be a waste of time. When you’re lying on the floor, fold your arms across your chest with your knees bent and your feet raised from the floor. Be sure to keep your back and neck straight, and only rise until you feel your lower back lift from the floor. By elevating slightly, you actually make the sit-up more difficult (and more effective) because you are making the muscles work continuously. After you have been doing sit-ups in this manner for a few weeks, try the exercise with your arms out at your sides to increase the results. You can also try doing sit-ups with your hands locked behind your head (but be careful not to use your hands for momentum).

In addition to sit-ups, try jumping rope everyday for 10-15 minutes to improve your stamina, your footwork, and strengthen your stomach muscles—you’ll be surprised at how good your midsection feels after complementing sit-ups with jumping rope. But to keep this new body of yours, you’ll need to avoid eating junk food like hot dogs or ice cream sandwiches etc. You’ll find that your aerobic exercise and your sit-ups will improve your posture in your kata and the strength in your punches and kicks.