“Sensei, my name is Dean. I was your student 15 years ago. I’m calling because I want to thank you for giving me the foundation for a wonderful life. The training I received from you has helped me in innumerable ways. I have a wonderful life and I don’t believe it would have turned out this way without the training that I received from you.Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

-Text from a call that came into our school in June of 2011

Self-efficacy is the centerpiece of renowned psychologist Albert Bandura’s social cognitive
theory. It is the belief you have in your ability to succeed in a given situation. This belief will
determine how you think, feel, behave, and motivate yourself. When your child has a strong
sense of self-efficacy he will be happy. Gone will be his mood swings, negative emotional states and adverse physical reactions to difficult and challenging situations.

When your child has a STRONG sense of self-efficacy:

• He or she will view challenging problems as
tasks to be mastered rather than as threats to
be avoided.
• He will develop an intrinsic interest and deep
engrossment in the activities in which he
• He will set challenging goals and maintain a
strong sense of commitment to them.
• He will recover quickly his sense of efficacy
after setbacks and disappointments.
• He will heighten and sustain his efforts in the
face of failure.
• He will attribute failure to insufficient effort or
deficient knowledge and skills, which he can
• He will approach threatening situations with
assurance that he can control them.

The result will be that your child will experience an array of personal accomplishments, reduced stress and lower vulnerability to depression. And when self-efficacy is thoroughly instilled it will stay with him his entire life and, just as in Dean’s case (see above), give him the foundation for a wonderful life.

When your child has a WEAK sense of self-efficacy:

• He will view challenging problems as being beyond
his capabilities.
• He will lose interest easily in activities in which he
• He will have low aspirations and weak commitments
to his goals.
• He will be slow to recover his sense of efficacy
following failure or setbacks.
• He will slacken his efforts and give up easily in the
face of failure.
• He will view failure as deficient aptitude. It would
not require much failure for him to lose faith in his
• He will dwell on his personal deficiencies, on the
obstacles he encounters, and he will imagine all kinds
of adverse outcomes rather than concentrate on how
to perform successfully.
• He will quickly lose confidence in his personal abilities

The result will be that your child will find it difficult to accomplish even moderately complex tasks, and will fall easy victim to stress and depression. And unless this is addressed properly this is what his entire life will be like.

How Shotokan Karate Leadership School® training program develops self-efficacy

Mastery Experiences
We train your child to perform skills at a high level of proficiency. This requires him or her to practice long and hard. This transformational process is comparable to baking
bread where dough must be in an oven that is hot enough and it must be left in long enough for it to be transformed into bread.

Social Modeling
We give your child the opportunity to watch other students successfully perform the skills he is working on. This raises his or her belief that he/she too possesses the capabilities to
master those skills.

Social Persuasion
We convince your child that he has what it takes to succeed. We encourage him to help him overcome self-doubt and stay focused on giving his best effort to the task at hand.

Psychological Responses
Your child’s moods, emotional states, physical reactions and stress levels can impact how he feels about his personal abilities. But what’s most important about this is how he
perceives and interprets this. We work with you and your child to make sure that his perceptions and interpretations of his emotional states and physical reactions strengthen his sense of self-efficacy and give him the foundation for a wonderful life.


Marty Callahan has spent his life understanding and improving the lives of students both young and old. His passion led to the founding of Shotokan Karate Leadership School in Santa Rosa, CA in 1981 with a dream to awaken the extraordinary leader in his students. Having inspired, taught, coached, supported, and trained over 15,000 students in 40,000 classes in Santa Rosa, Marty has become Sonoma County’s preeminent martial arts leadership instructor. His students, hundreds of whom have gone on to become leaders in their chosen fields, appreciate his engaging, student centered approach to teaching and they believe you will too.