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Karate, School, and Other Activities – How Do Parents Choose?

Karate, School, and Other Activities – How Do Parents Choose?

This is the Podcast and transcript of the Karate, School, and Other Activities webinar. Parents! Find out how to decide what activities to pick and how Karate and school fit into all the things your kids do! See more at






Ch. Master Greg Moody, Ph.D.

The Podcast:


The Transcript:

Dr. Greg Moody, Chief Master Instructor:

Hey, everybody. Thanks a lot for being in another episode of our success training, our podcast. Thanks a lot for being here. Senior Master Sanborn.

Sr. Master Laura Sanborn:

Hello, sir.

Dr. Greg Moody, Chief Master Instructor:

Nice to see you here today and I appreciate you being here. We’re going to be talking about karate and school and other activities and how they intertwine. We have a lot of our students that are kids, and so therefore we have a lot of parents and families that are participating in martial arts at KarateBuilt Martial Arts. So, we get asked a lot of times how these all fit together, karate, their school, elementary school or high school sometimes or middle school, and all the other activities that they do because, of course, all of our kids are doing martial arts, but a lot of times they do soccer, tee ball, baseball, ballet, chess, on and on and on.

Sr. Master Laura Sanborn:


Dr. Greg Moody, Chief Master Instructor:

Yeah, many other activities. So, they’ve got all kinds of other activities as well as martial arts. The one question is, is martial arts just another one of those activities or is it different? Does it fit in differently than those activities? And, we believe it fits in differently, but how does it fit in differently than these other activities and how do parents understand that as well? So, let’s talk about that a little bit. And, the way we like to conceptualize it is one way to think about it is that school is going to be essential skills.

So, these are essential skills, and if you think about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, for those of you who know what that is or have heard about it, that’s like survival skills and more importantly, you have to have survival skills or safety before you can worry about maybe interpersonal relationships or other things that are maybe a little bit less important. So, I have to make sure I’m safe before I worry about food. I have to worry about food before I worry about getting along with other people and so on. So, school is like that. It’s going to be very, very essential to a person’s development in life. And so, that’s one thing that we have to be able to do. Your kids have to be able to learn to read, they have to learn to be able to probably do some amount of math.

Some people don’t like math, but they have to be able to do some amount of math. They have to learn to do all the school type activities, math, reading, we used to say reading, writing, and arithmetic, but they have to learn to do all the different things that they learn in school and in today’s society, in the United States, we have free and compulsory education. So, you’re supposed to get all the education that entails first, second, third grade, all the way through high school. So, we’re supposed to learn these essential skills. You also get some additional skills and additional things from school, but what you don’t get is a lot of physical education, you do get some physical education, and the next thing that kids generally do is they get some other activities.

Now these like soccer, maybe they get ballet, chess club, and on and on, football, we love these activities. These are great activities and each one of them has individual characteristics that are fantastic. In the case of any one of these individual ones, let’s take chess, chess, they’re learning about strategy, they’re learning a lot of mathematical things because there’s probability in there. They’re learning about spatial relationships, they’re learning about thinking steps ahead. There’s a lot of different things that they’re learning in chess. Fill in more things about this Senior Master Sanborn because I’m not a good chess player-

Sr. Master Laura Sanborn:

[inaudible 00:04:19].

Dr. Greg Moody, Chief Master Instructor:

But you’re not either, so okay.

Sr. Master Laura Sanborn:

No, sir.

Dr. Greg Moody, Chief Master Instructor:

Let’s take football. Football, they’re learning about teamwork, working together, they’re learning about also strategy because it’s a very complicated sport because there’s 11 offensive and 11 defensive players. They’re learning about physical education because it’s a very physical game and there’s a lot of things they’re learning.

So all of these activities, and we could go through many other activities, there’s debate club… I don’t want to leave anything out because there’s just so many activities that kids could learn all through their career from zero years old through high school where you as parents, which is who we’re speaking to right now, are responsible for. So, there’s many, many, many activities. Your kids did a lot of activities when they were in school. My son did many, many activities. He was in football and in chess and everything. Maybe that’s why I picked those two to talk about.

He was in theater too, so theater’s good when they learn speaking in public and they learn other things, and this covers a lot of different things. Since we’re going to isolate this to just these three groupings… Now, why did I draw this on the top? Not just because it’s my favorite activity, or the one that we’re involved in or that we talk about, but when we talk about martial arts and why this is different, this is about a few things. One thing is it’s about performance, and when I say performance, it’s about learning all the skills that we need to be able to be excellent in future endeavors in your life. So, what do I mean by that? What we mean by that is skills like speaking in public. Now, do you get those in some of these other activities?

Yeah, you can get them particularly like speaking in public in theater, but it’s a different angle in speaking in public. It’s not teaching other people to do things. You can get that in debate too, but it’s about debate, it’s not about showing other people how to do things, but in karate specifically, one of the graduated steps is to show other people how to do things, so you get performance skills. You get to learn how to do things over a long period of time because the progression of karate can be it’s not the same activity over one or two or three years. You continue to learn new stuff and you can learn new stuff for as many as… Well, I’ve been doing it for 34 or 35 years now. At this point it was… We’ve been recording it and Master Sanborn not quite as long, but pretty close.

And, every time you do another year or another set of moves, you’re learning new stuff, new stuff, new stuff, new stuff, and I’ve got new stuff to learn. So, you’re learning performance skills and performance skills come from being able to learn new things and being able to teach those things back to other people and that defines performance. That’s what you do when you’re a CEO of a company, that’s what you do when you’re a manager of a company, a CEO of a company, that’s what you do when you’re an entrepreneur, you learn more things and then you bring them back to society. The other thing that we do is you’re able to present. You have to learn to present in karate, you have to learn physical skills.

So, all of the things that we do in karate are about excellence and performance, and it’s not that the other activities and school activities aren’t that way, but this one is more of a lifestyle activity, and these are more typically short term. Now, they don’t have to be. Sometimes people do ballet for 30 years or they can do chess, any of these they can do for a long time, but they’re not necessarily built that way. Typically, kids do something like this for six weeks or seven weeks or a shorter amount of time, and then they go onto another activity and they get a taste of it and they learn the basics of it and they learn a new activity. That’s not how martial arts is really built. Master Sanborn, did you want to add something there?

Sr. Master Laura Sanborn:

No, I was just going to go into the same thing. A soccer season might be only eight weeks long, and then they’re done. And at that point you ask your kid, “Oh, do you want to do soccer again?” And, the kid says yes or no, and you’re not invested in it, and the child is not invested in it in any way because even if they start again, they may have a different soccer coach, it may be a whole different group of kids with them. So, everything about it might change. So, there’s no buildup of progression of learning. There’s no progression of learning because what they’re doing is they may start over again from the beginning because it’s a whole new coach in a different area and stuff like that.

Dr. Greg Moody, Chief Master Instructor:

Yeah, that’s exactly right. So, one of the things that we talk about when we compare other activities and school and martial arts is in school, if we go back to school, they’re learning essential skills that they need for the basic foundation of their life. You have to be able to read for the most part in American society today and the world society today on the global scale. Most schools now are requiring them to learn a little bit of another language because the world is becoming pretty global and you might need to interact with people in other countries. So, you have some essential skills that you learn. So, we want to think about this term essential. These are essential skills. Other activities that your kids do… And by the way, we recommend that your kids do other activities. These are going to be choice activities, and they’re generally going to be short term.

They’re going to be activities that they do because they choose to do them. When people choose martial arts, they choose to do it because… And they don’t have to do it, but if they want to do things to build excellence because the goal of the martial arts training, it’s great if you love doing it, probably about 10% of the students that do martial arts want to do it just for martial arts, maybe they go to tournaments and maybe they do it because they want to become career martial artists like Master Sanborn and myself, but most people that do martial arts and for parents that are choosing to do martial arts, they should do it because they want these things. They’re choosing to get excellence, performance, presentation skills and build them physically. They’re choosing martial arts because they want skills that their kids are going to continue to have and preserve for their life, just like what school has.

School is the foundation, martial arts then becomes the additional beneficial skills that they’re going to have later. Again, we love that people are doing other activities. Those are going to be additional flavors that they get, spices that they’re getting all along the way in their life, and they should get those, and we recommend all those other activities, but because they’re shorter term and because the goals of those activities are to build those activities, their goal of chess is to teach chess. The goal of football is to teach football. Believe me, when my son was playing football, the goal was to win games. The goal of debate is to win the debate. The goal of soccer is to win the soccer game. The goal of ballet is to perform the Nutcracker during Christmas.

So, the goal of each of those activities is for those activities, whereas the goal of karate is to build excellence in the future, not just to do the physical activity. So, we thought we’d do a podcast here to make sure we showed the difference. We’ve got three different types of activities. One is to build a foundation, one is to learn some fun activities, and to do interesting different things, absolutely recommended, and martial arts is to build excellence for their future. Anything to add, Master Sanborn?

Sr. Master Laura Sanborn:

No, it’s not just short term, it’s finite, where karate for me, it’s an infinite, ongoing lifestyle, just like you have up there, but you don’t normally have a chess lifestyle. You may not have a debate lifestyle, or you don’t want to live with a kid who wants to debate every little thing you say. Whereas the lifestyle that karate teaches, it starts with the basics of self-discipline. You want your child to have it. Those are the kind of foundations that we have that lead to performance and presentation is the ability to control yourself. So, therefore the lifestyle is ongoing and it builds from an essential, and for us, the essential is self-discipline and respect and honesty and things like that.

Dr. Greg Moody, Chief Master Instructor:

Those are what we’re teaching. So, those have infinite uses outside of the martial arts school, and in fact, that’s what we’re teaching things for. That’s another way to say it. We’re teaching everything inside the martial arts school for outside use, whereas in these other activities… And school, by the way, is that way. Everything inside the school is to be taught for use outside the school, for elementary school and high school. In the martial arts school, everything taught inside the school is for use outside the school.

Sr. Master Laura Sanborn:


Dr. Greg Moody, Chief Master Instructor:

All the other activities, everything’s taught for those activities for use in those activities. So, that’s a very different way of thinking about it. So, for everybody that’s a parent, and in all these things, whether it’s school or other activities or karate, your kid’s going to wake up one day going, I don’t feel like going to school, I don’t feel like going to chess, I don’t feel like going to ballet, I don’t feel like going to karate.

Think about what the value is that your kid has. If it’s school, well, your kid pretty much has to go to school unless they’re sick. If it’s chess or ballet or football, they probably should because they’ve made a commitment to their team and their own development in that activity, but if it’s in martial arts, this is something that they have to do because you want the excellence of performance for them. So, whenever you’re thinking about the difference between these activities, this is what you’re developing for your kid. So, one of the things that we talk about when parents are asking their kid, “Do you want to do martial arts?” We honestly don’t really care if the child wants to do martial arts. We care, just like we would for a parent, about school. Do you want your kid to get this benefit?

If they want their child to get the benefit, that’s when the child should do martial arts. And of course, we know that the kids have fun doing it, but the most important thing is that a parent has the idea about what we just talked about, that their kid should get excellence just like a parent wants their kid to do well in school, so their child gets the essential benefits. It’s not that important to us whether or not the kid is super excited about doing this activity of martial arts or school, it’s more important that the parent is engaged in the benefits and value and that will get results that they want. Anything to add there, Master Sanborn?

Sr. Master Laura Sanborn:

No, sir. Obviously as an instructor, I want my class to be fun. I want the students that I’m teaching to enjoy it and want to come back to class, but when I do talk to the parents about it, when we sit down and talk about progress that their child’s made, we’re not talking… My first question is not, “So, is your kid having fun? Is he liking the classes? Are you liking the classes?” My first question is, “So when you first came in, you wanted this. Are you getting that? Are you getting the discipline that you wanted? Are you getting respect like you asked? Is there improvement in excellence that you want for your child?”

And, almost every time there is some improvement really fast and then it’s ongoing, and I’m continuing to ask them as I talk to them over time, “So, we’ve gotten this far, you’ve seen this improvement, right? We’ve seen some here. What are you seeing at home? What are you seeing at school?” Because they come to karate and we talk about these things in class and make them perform, make them present themselves. So, it’s an ongoing process with the parents to make sure that they can recognize the growth that leads towards excellence.

Dr. Greg Moody, Chief Master Instructor:

That’s a fantastic way to say it and that’s right. When we’re talking to parents, we’re not measuring… Of course, we measure or not whether they moved up in their rank and they got their next belt, and we always have goals for all of our students that they’re going to get their black belt and beyond to second degree and third degree black belt, and that takes two or three or five years to get to second degree black belt and then more beyond that to get to third degree black belt, but what we’re comparing, what we’re talking to parents about is when they get those ranks and when they’re moving forward, how that’s going to matter in the rest of their life, how that’s going to matter when their kid is an adult, how that’s going to matter when their kid graduates college, when their kid’s an adult, when their kid’s in the workforce, and what difference it’s going to make.

And when a parent understands that, then that’s going to manifest in reality. That’s not any kind of metaphysical thing. If I pay attention to things, if I expect my child to be strong and confident and be able to speak in public and be able to talk to my teachers at school and ask them for what I want and what I need, then they’re going to get better results as well. So parents, that’s what our challenge is for you. Make sure that you expect big things out of your kids and then you’ll get big things out of your kids and then we’ll have really good success.

So, hopefully that summarizes everything that we expect out of the difference between school, other activities, and karate. Everybody should be doing all three of these, but now you can hopefully have a mindset for what the difference between all three of these things is in terms of what your future outcomes are and what the purpose of each of these activities is in your life. Thank you very much, Master Sanborn. Senior Master-

Sr. Master Laura Sanborn:

Thank you, sir.

Dr. Greg Moody, Chief Master Instructor:

Thanks for being here today and I appreciate everybody’s effort in the instructional team at KarateBuilt Martial Arts for working with all the kids so long and for thousands and thousands of kids that we’ve helped and students that we’ve helped over the years and we look forward to seeing everybody at our school.

Sr. Master Laura Sanborn:

Thank you, sir. and KarateBuilt Martial Arts have been selected as the nation’s #1 martial arts schools for EIGHT YEARS IN A ROW!

KarateBuilt L.L.C. was founded in 1995 by Dr. Greg Moody, an 8th-degree Black Belt and Chief Master Instructor, KarateBuilt Martial Arts and Karate for Kids offer lessons for preschool children ages 3-6 and elementary age kids ages 7 and up are designed to develop critical building blocks kids need – specialized for their age group – for school excellence and later success in life.

KarateBuilt Martial Arts Adult Karate training is a complete adult fitness and conditioning program for adults who want to lose weight, get (and stay in shape), or learn self-defense in a supportive environment.

Instructors can answer questions or be contacted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 866-311-1032 for one of our nationwide locations. You can also visit our website at

About Dr. Greg Moody:  Dr. Moody is an eighth-degree black belt and chief master instructor.  He has a Ph.D. in Special Education from Arizona State University (along with a Master’s Degree in Counseling and a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering – he actually is a rocket scientist). He has been teaching martial arts for over 25 years and has owned eight martial arts schools in Arizona and California. Chief Master Moody is a motivational speaker and educator and teaches seminars in bullying, business, and martial arts training, around the world. See more at

Dr. Moody is also a licensed psychotherapist and maintains a practice at Integrated Mental Health Associates ( where he specializes in couples therapy and men’s issues.

The KarateBuilt Martial Arts Headquarters at KarateBuilt LLC is in Cave Creek, Arizona at 29850 N. Tatum Blvd., Suite 105, Cave Creek AZ 85331. You can locate the Chief Instructor, Master Laura Sanborn there directly at ‭(480) 575-8171‬. KarateBuilt Martial Arts serve Cave Creek, Carefree, Scottsdale, and Paradise Valley Arizona as well as Grand Rapids, MI.

Also, check us out on, School Listings, and on Local Trust Navigator!

P.S. From a parent:

“My kids are so well trained and the instructors are the best! Our son Herman shows more respect to his teacher and our daughter Ella is always helping at home! Thanks!” –  Samuel Ulmer