motivated individual

Creating a Motivated Mindset

By Shotokan Karate Leadership School in Santa Rosa, CA

It is hard to keep one’s motivation fueled up. The bed is always there, waiting, warm and comforting. You tell yourself you need a break from all the rigors of your professional life. It is impossible to keep oneself motivated for long hours. However, this can be taught. You can train to be a much more motivated individual. To do this, ask yourself two questions. 

  1. Are both the mind and the body extremely tired?
  2. Is your body healthy, but it takes a lot of mental struggle to rise up from the bed every day?

The first question assists you to take a decision whether or not you should provide yourself a deserved and much needed hiatus from work. The second question indicates the need for motivating yourself. 

Motivation in this context can be defined as the reason or the number of reasons which one enjoys for behaving or acting in a certain manner. It can also be described as a willingness or the desire of a person to achieve something. It can also be explained as the force which causes a person to do something.

Two kinds of motivation function as influence or force or “reasons”. The two kinds are intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation. 

Extrinsic motivationextrinsically motivated

This is motivation which comes from the outside of any individual. These include third party approval, award points, money, attention from others and time. Other motivational factors are Social Media “Likes”, numbers on the scale and avoiding any negative reactions derived from others. It follows that an athlete competing for a medal is extrinsically motivated. 

 external validationIntrinsic motivation 

This is based on internal pleasure which comes from participation in an activity or process. The person motivated in such a manner derives happiness from learning and skill development. The athlete is determined exclusively for the sole satisfaction of learning. He or she wants to be masterful and competent. An example of this is the rower who rowed constantly for better practice sans any immediate external validation. 

Find out where your own motivation lies as this can be different for each person and remind yourself of that motivation every day!

Please visit for information about our martial arts school  in Santa Rosa, CA!

group of martial arts students

True Story: How Johnny’s parents had to change for him to succeed

By Shotokan Karate Leadership School in Santa Rosa, CA

NOTE: Names have been changed to protect the unknowing parents and the innocent child.

Four years before coming into our school, Jill had given birth to a beautiful baby boy named Johnny.  Robert and Jill had held off having children until they had established their careers. Jill was 38, Robert was 41 and Johnny was their first child.

young boy punchingThey were perplexed by the fact that their son could be a strong-willed terror with them but shy and reticent with others. He dominated them with angry outbursts and temper tantrums until he got his way.  While outside their home he would adamantly refuse to try anything new. They gave in to him and bribed him with toys and food. But he was going to be starting school soon and they were worried that it would not go well.

Johnny had seen martial arts in a cartoon and had taken a liking to it. Jill had heard that a good martial arts school would teach self-control to a child prone to angry outbursts, and instill confidence in one who was shy. They wanted to give karate training a try. So they brought him to our school with the hope that this nightmare would end soon, and that they could get the happy child they had dreamed about.

Jill and Robert believed that the problem was with their son. They wanted him to become independent so they were letting him have a say in family decisions. Jill believed that using her position as the mother to control her son would harm him emotionally and stunt his personal growth. Robert didn’t believe in rules.  His parents were strong authoritarians who harped at him constantly about being responsible. They had rules for everything and didn’t believe in coddling their child. As a matter of fact he could only remember them telling him that they loved him once in his whole life and he didn’t want to be that kind of parent. He felt that his son needed a friend, not a disciplinarian. He wanted him to be free. So the few rules that the family had were rarely enforced.

Coming into Our School

When they came into our school, even though Johnny had been excited about taking karate, he refused to come out on the floor. Robert told us that he was ‘shy’ and then Jill asked Johnny if he wanted to take the class. Johnny continued to refuse and began to throw a tantrum. They looked at us and said they didn’t want to make him do anything he didn’t want to do. There was no doubt about it. Johnny was in charge.

The Dangers Inherent in a Permissive Parenting Style

What Jill and Robert didn’t know was that they were employing a permissive parenting style which based on their past experiences, seemed like the right thing to do. But what they didn’t know was that permissive parenting often leads to low achievement, poor decision making, displays of aggression, less understanding of emotional states, inability to manage time, poor habits, delinquency and substance abuse. They were setting Johnny up for severe emotional and psychological problems later in life.

Description of Four Different Parenting Styles

Research by Diana Baumrind from the early 1960s and later research by Maccoby and Martin suggest that there are four different parenting styles: Authoritarian, Authoritative, Permissive, and Neglectful.

Authoritarian Parenting is seen where the parents set firm rules and punish their children for breaking them. They provide no explanation of the reasoning behind the rules. The answer is “Just do it.” Very little affection is given to the child.

The Authoritative Parenting style is one in which rules are put in place but the reasoning behind the rules are given and they are enforced affectionately.

Permissive Parenting is high on nurturing but low on expectations and rules. The parents indulge their child and rarely discipline them.

The Neglectful Parent has few demands, no rules, and little or no communication or affection.

A study done by a Brigham Young University research team showed that Permissive Parenting resulted in teen binge drinking that was three times above parent helping a child with schoolworknormal while Authoritarian Parenting resulted in teen binge drinking that was two times above normal. From these studies it appears that the optimal parenting style is the Authoritative Style in which the parents set rules but enforce them in a nurturing and supportive way. This was best described to me by a successful parent who told me that he had a mom who he knew loved him, but he also knew, that if he ever crossed the line, she would have killed him.

The Naturalistic Observation Research Method

Naturalistic observation is a research method used by psychologists and social scientists to study subjects in their natural environment. It is a research method that we have used for 50+ years. Our conclusion is that the real students in our school are the parents.

So… is there hope for permissive parents like Jill and Robert? The answer is yes. The events of our lives can shape us in ways we don’t always know and cause us to act in ways we won’t normally have.  Shotokan Karate Leadership School training will give you an insight into the impact your life events have had on you and free you to see a better way and empower you to change. Through our training you can learn to set rules in your household and enforce them with affection. Contact us if you’d like our help.

Please visit for information about our martial arts school in Santa Rosa, CA!

Two Opposing

Two Opposing Ideas

Why you want order and your child wants chaos and what to do about it

By Shotokan Karate Leadership School in Santa Rosa, CA

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” -F. Scott Fitzgerald, author

Consider F. Scott Fitzgerald’s belief that holding two opposing ideas in mind at the same time was a good test for a first-rate intelligence. Then consider that Sun Tsu, the author of the 2500-year-old book, The Art of War, states that battles are won by thinking; not by fighting. The conclusion we can draw is that a person with a first-rate intelligence has a much better chance of winning in battle than a person without one. By extension the person who can win in battle, where conditions are the worst imaginable, would have a better chance of winning in life where the conditions are bad but not nearly as bad as in war.

TeachingWinning in life can mean many things but what’s true in all situations is that we must first win for ourselves then win for others. If you are dead-broke and living under a bridge, you won’t be able to help many people. You have to first fix that situation. In an emergency airlines drop oxygen masks down and tell you to put your mask on first and then help the person next to you. If you can’t breathe, you can’t do much to help anyone else.

 Growth Mindset

When I was young, the common belief was that you were born with a certain amount of intelligence and that was all you got. But social scientists have now discovered that intelligence is like a muscle that can grow and get stronger. In other words, if we work at it, we can become more intelligent. Working at it means reading, writing, studying, and formulating ideas and speaking about them.

 Messiness May Be Better Than Neatness

Researchers at the University of Minnesota tested students on how well they came up with new ideas while working in an orderly or disorderly environment. What they found was that the students working in a messy environment came up with more interesting and creative ideas as judged by independent observers than their counterparts who worked in an orderly environment. Also, Eric Abrahamson and David H. Freedman, authors of A Perfect Mess demonstrate that moderately messy systems use resources more efficiently, yield better solutions, and are harder to break than neat ones.

Order, and all that goes with it, is what parents generally want. It makes life easier. Whereas chaos and all that goes with it, is what kids want. Watch kids play when there are no adults telling them what the rules are and how

they should play the game. They are at their happiest and freest; there is nothing they love better. Child development experts tell us that kids need this type of play to grow and become who they are meant to be.

 As a parent you want to know what your child is learning


I believe that if you’ve read this far, that you want to benefit from the lessons your child is getting. So, here’s a challenge for you: hold the two opposing ideas of order and chaos in your mind at the same time and then continue to function normally. I believe you will find that they can exist together in harmony. When you do this you will become a happier and more peaceful parent to your perfectly messy and chaos loving child.

Marty Callahan has spent his life understanding and improving the lives of students both young and old. His passion led to the founding of the 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, Marty has become Sonoma County’s preeminent martial arts leadership instructor.

Please visit for information about our martial arts school in Santa Rosa, CA!

adult & Teen martial arts students

What Qualifies Us to Teach Children Leadership?

By Shotokan Karate Leadership School in Santa Rosa, CA

There are many different traditions in the martial arts. The Shotokan Karate tradition, established by the great Master Gichin Funakoshi, values character development over technical prowess.  To quote from his Niju Kun, or twenty precepts: “Spirit and mind are more important than technique.”

Master Funakoshi’s successor, Masatoshi Nakayama in his widely acknowledged volumes titled Best Karate says:

“Training means training of body and spirit, and above all else one should treat his opponent courteously and with the proper etiquette. It is not enough to fight with all one’s might; the true objective in karate-do is to do so for the sake of justice.”

loyaltyLong ago it was recognized that training that developed the mind and spirit, as well as the body, was vastly superior to training that developed only technical prowess. It was also recognized that those who completed this training developed the noble traits of courage, courtesy, integrity, humility and self-control.  And, that these traits made them excellent protectors in times of war, and superior leaders in times of peace. We believe that an empathetic person of noble character will act to correct a problem when they see one, and will inspire others to join in their cause. To us, this is what it means to be a leader.

The essence of martial arts training is to prepare oneself to face life or death situations with a calm demeanor. Once Life Benefits of Martial Arts for Kidsthis training has taken effect, the individual becomes uniquely qualified to lead. But not all martial art programs are alike. Only a training program designed to develop superior character will produce the superior leaders we need today.

We provide a superior training program that develops the mind, body and spirit and it is why we are qualified to teach leadership to children.

Now the question remains, will you answer this call? We sincerely hope you will.

Please visit for information about our martial arts school in Santa Rosa, CA!