TGJ: The Desert of Integrity by Marty Callahan

Tiger’s Great Journey Continued…

An Adventure Story for Youth Who Want to Make the World to a Better Place

As Tiger and Blake continued their journey, the landscape became barren. Tiger tried to
remember the last time he’d seen a tree or flowing water. His journey with Blake had taken them into a vast stretch of desert with red rock canyons and a sea of sand. The walking was difficult, but each day Tiger felt himself grow stronger and more aware of the beauty of life. He’d thought of a desert as a dead and desolate place, yet as they walked and talked he was fascinated by the colors and textures of the rock, the deep blues in the sky, and the variety of hardy plants and animals that lived in this harsh environment

One morning, Tiger awoke early and decided that, while Blake slept, he would walk the
hundred or so yards to the small ravine where yesterday they had found a pool of fresh water fed by a spring. The sand crunched beneath his feet as he walked. He wondered what the new day would bring. He reached the clear pool of water and kneeled to take a drink. Then he splashed water into a bowl-shaped depression in the rock and used it to wash his face. He stretched out on a great, flat rock and enjoyed the feeling of the rising sun drying and warming his skin and the stone.

A sound startled him—the clatter of approaching hooves. He jumped to his feet and
focused his eyes on a cluster of six or seven horses, each mounted by a boy not much older than him.

“Well, hello!” the rider in the lead shouted as he dismounted. “What brings you to this
one friendly place in an uninviting desert?” He let his horse drink eagerly from the pool.

Tiger sensed that something wasn’t quite right with these boys. They were too well
dressed and riding horses that they didn’t seem to know. “I am on a journey with my friend,” he said. “We camped near here last night.” Tiger wanted to give them as little information as possible.

“What is your name?” asked a boy who wore fine, tall boots and thick gold necklace.

“My name’s Tiger, and yours?”

The boy who was apparently the leader answered, “I’m Raven. We’re going to have some
breakfast; would you like some?” The boys removed from their saddlebags fresh bread and fruit and some fancy cheeses.

Tiger thanked them for their hospitality, but declined their offer of food.

They’d eaten and chatted only a few moments when Raven said to Tiger, “You should
join us. We will get you a fine horse.”

The invitation surprised Tiger. Join these boys? He didn’t even know them. He said to
Raven, “You’re saying you would buy me a horse?”

The boys exploded into laughter. Tiger couldn’t imagine why they found the question so

Raven caught his breath and said, “We don’t buy horses, my friend. We steal them. A few
days ago we passed by a ranch with a couple of beauties. We’ll give you a ride there, and you can take your pick.”

Tiger looked at them serenely. Now he understood what wasn’t right about these boys.

“Truly, you steal horses?” he asked.

“We take whatever we need from a town or ranch, and then we ride on,” said Raven.
“Sometimes we split up into pairs and ride up to a home and tell the people we’re orphans or runaways and we’re hungry. The people always invite us in, feed us, and give us a place to sleep. We get up in the middle of the night, take whatever money and valuables we can find, and ride off.”

A second boy pulled something out of a pants pocket. He said, “Look at this gold watch I
stole from a trusting old fellow just the other night!”

Tiger shook his head. “You lie to people and steal from them?” he said. “How does that
make you feel about yourselves?”

Raven shrugged and said, “Hey, it doesn’t bother me a bit. We only take from rich people. My belly’s full, and there’s money in my pocket. And there are a lot of people who do
what we do, and worse!”

Tiger rose to his feet. “Well, that’s not for me,” he said, and turned to walk back to his

He found Blake awake and ready to resume their journey. “I was beginning to worry
about you, Tiger.” Blake said. “Where did you go?”

“I went for water, and I ran into some thieves. I learned something important from them.”

“What was that?”

“I learned the meaning of integrity. I learned that I could ride if I would do what I know
is wrong, but I would rather walk and stay true to myself.”

Changing the subject, Tiger suggested that they look at the map. As he carefully opened
it, an image of two hands shaking with the word INTEGRITY began to appear.

“Wow! There’s another image, Blake.”

Blake looked and said, “Tiger, this map is going to show you the way to the temple and
record the leadership traits you gain along the way.”

“I believe you’re right, Blake. It’s very special. Well, let’s get out of here, because those
boys may decide that letting me walk away was not a good idea.”

And with that, Tiger and Blake packed their belongings and moved out, leaving no trace
that they had spent the night.


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.

The Effort Effect

By Marina Krakovsky

According to a Stanford psychologist, you’ll reach new heights if you learn to embrace the occasional tumble.

-James Yang

One day last November, psychology professor Carol Dweck welcomed a pair of visitors from the Blackburn Rovers, a soccer team in the United Kingdom’s Premier League. The Rovers’ training academy is ranked in England’s top three, yet performance director Tony Faulkner had long suspected that many promising players weren’t reaching their potential. Ignoring the team’s century-old motto—arte et labore, or “skill and hard work”—the most talented individuals disdained serious training.

On some level, Faulkner knew the source of the trouble: British soccer culture held that star players are born, not made. If you buy into that view, and are told you’ve got immense talent, what’s the point of practice? If anything, training hard would tell you and others that you’re merely good, not great. Faulkner had identified the problem; but to fix it, he needed Dweck’s help.

A 60-year-old academic psychologist might seem an unlikely sports motivation guru. But Dweck’s expertise—and her recent book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success—bear directly on the sort of problem facing the Rovers. Through more than three decades of systematic research, she has been figuring out answers to why some people achieve their potential while equally talented others don’t—why some become Muhammad Ali and others Mike Tyson. The key, she found, isn’t ability; it’s whether you look at ability as something inherent that needs to be demonstrated or as something that can be developed. What’s more, Dweck has shown that people can learn to adopt the latter belief and make dramatic strides in performance. These days, she’s sought out wherever motivation and achievement matter, from education and parenting to business management and personal development.

As a graduate student at Yale, Dweck started off studying animal motivation. In the late 1960s, a hot topic in animal research was “learned helplessness”: lab animals sometimes didn’t do what they were capable of because they’d given up from repeat failures. Dweck wondered how humans coped with that. “I asked, ‘What makes a really capable child give up in the face of failure, where other children may be motivated by the failure?’” she recalls. At the time, the suggested cure for learned helplessness was a long string of successes. Dweck posited that the difference between the helpless response and its opposite—the determination to master new things and surmount challenges—lay in people’s beliefs about why they had failed. People who attributed their failures to lack of ability, Dweck thought, would become discouraged even in areas where they were capable. Those who thought they simply hadn’t tried hard enough, on the other hand, would be fueled by setbacks. This became the topic of her PhD dissertation. Dweck and her assistants ran an experiment on elementary school children whom school personnel had identified as helpless. These kids fit the definition perfectly: if they came across a few math problems they couldn’t solve, for example, they no longer could do problems they had solved before—and some didn’t recover that ability for days.

Through a series of exercises, the experimenters trained half the students to chalk up their errors to insufficient effort, and encouraged them to keep going. Those children learned to persist in the face of failure—and to succeed. The control group showed no improvement at all, continuing to fall apart quickly and to recover slowly. These findings, says Dweck, “really supported the idea that the attributions were a key ingredient driving the helpless and mastery-oriented patterns.” Her 1975 article on the topic has become one of the most widely cited in contemporary psychology.

Attribution theory, concerned with people’s judgments about the causes of events and behavior, already was an active area of psychological research. But the focus at the time was on how we make attributions and have the children “think out loud” as they faced problem-solving tasks, some too difficult for them. The big surprise: some of the children who put forth lots of effort didn’t make attributions at all. These children didn’t think they were failing. Diener puts it this way: “Failure is information—we label it failure, but it’s more like, ‘This didn’t work, I’m a problem solver, and I’ll try something else.’”

During one unforgettable moment, one boy—something of a poster child for the mastery-oriented type—faced his first stumper by pulling up his chair, rubbing his hands together, smacking his lips and announcing, “I love a challenge.”

Such zest for challenge helped explain why other capable students thought they lacked ability just because they’d hit a setback. Common sense suggests that ability inspires self-confidence. And it does for a while—so long as the going is easy. But setbacks change everything. Dweck realized—and, with colleague Elaine Elliott soon demonstrated—that the difference lay in the kids’ goals.

“The mastery-oriented children are really hell-bent on learning something,” Dweck says, and “learning goals” inspire a different chain of thoughts and behaviors than “performance goals.”

Students for whom performance is paramount want to look smart even if it means not learning a thing in the process. For them, each task is a challenge to their self-image, and each setback becomes a personal threat. So they pursue only activities at which they’re sure to shine—and avoid the sorts of experiences necessary to grow and flourish in any endeavor. Students with learning goals, on the other hand, take necessary risks and don’t worry about failure because each mistake becomes a chance to learn. Dweck’s insight launched a new field of educational psychology—achievement goal theory. Dweck’s next question: what makes students focus on different goals in the first place? During a sabbatical at Harvard, she was discussing this with doctoral student Mary Bandura (daughter of legendary Stanford psychologist Albert Bandura), and the answer hit them: if some students want to show off their ability, while others want to increase their ability, “ability” means different things to the two groups.

“If you want to demonstrate something over and over, it feels like something static that
lives inside of you—whereas if you want to increase your ability, it feels dynamic and malleable,” Dweck explains.

People with performance goals, she reasoned, think intelligence is fixed from birth. People with learning goals have a growth mind-set about intelligence, believing it can be developed. The most dramatic proof comes from a recent study by Dweck and Lisa Sorich Blackwell of low-achieving seventh graders. All students participated in sessions on study skills, the brain and the like; in addition, one group attended a neutral session on memory while the other learned that intelligence, like a muscle, grows stronger through exercise. Training students to adopt a growth mind-set about intelligence had a catalytic effect on motivation and math grades; students in the control group showed no improvement despite all the other interventions.

“Study skills and learning skills are inert until they’re powered by an active ingredient,” Dweck explains.

Students may know how to study, but won’t want to if they believe their efforts are futile.

“If you target that belief, you can see more benefit than you have any reason to hope for.”

It certainly cemented Tony Faulkner’s belief that Dweck could help the Blackburn Rovers soccer team. Unlike the disadvantaged kids in Dweck’s middle-school study, the Rovers didn’t think they lacked what it took to succeed. Quite the opposite: they thought their talent should take them all the way. Yet both groups’ fixed mind-set about ability explains their aversion to effort. But aren’t there plenty of people who believe in innate ability and in the notion that nothing comes without effort? Logically, he two ideas are compatible. But psychologically, explains Dweck, many people who believe in fixed intelligence also think you shouldn’t need hard work to do well. This belief isn’t entirely irrational, she says. A student who finishes a problem set in 10 minutes is indeed better at math than someone who takes four hours to solve the problems. And a soccer player who scores effortlessly probably is more talented than someone who’s always practicing. “The fallacy comes when people generalize it to the belief that effort on any task, even very hard ones, implies low ability,” Dweck says.

These days, Dweck is applying her model to kids’ moral development. Young children may not always have beliefs about ability, but they do have ideas about goodness. Many kids believe they’re invariably good or bad; other kids think they can get better at being good. Dweck has already found that preschoolers with this growth mind-set feel okay about themselves after they’ve messed up and are less judgmental of others; they’re also more likely than kids with a fixed view of goodness to try to set things right and to learn from their mistakes. They understand that spilling juice or throwing toys, for example, doesn’t damn a kid as bad, so long as the child cleans up and resolves to do better next time. Now Dweck and graduate student Allison Master are running experiments at Bing Nursery School to see if teaching kids the growth mind-set improves their coping skills. They’ve designed a storybook with the message that preschoolers can go from “bad” one year to better the next.

Can hearing such stories help a 4-year-old handle a sandbox setback?

MARINA KRAKOVSKY, ’92, is a writer in San Mateo.


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.

Imagine Your Child 4 or 5 Years From Now

You’ve enrolled your child in our school now what will he be like in 4 or 5 years
when he earns his black belt?

• The steady diet of making life or death decisions has spurred them to act
with courage, courtesy, integrity, humility and self-control in all situations.
• They’re well rounded in their studies and personality.
• They can think on their feet better than others.
• They’re quick to identify problems and holes in arguments.
• Their training has given them an advantage in dealing with their peers.
• Their decision to… seek to perfect their character… has propelled them to
success in school.
• They have a strong sense of themselves and have a high level of confidence
in what they say and do.
• They got this way from repeatedly forming and articulating their own
• They stand talk and walk with a sense of purpose.
• When introducing themselves to others they look them in the eye, extend
their hand, and speak in a clear voice.
• They’re polite, confident and self-assured.
• Upon seeing them people get the sense that they are not someone to be
trifled with.
• When you talk to them you know that their complete attention is on you
and understanding what you have to say.
• When they say they’ll do something they do it. It doesn’t matter how much
harder it is to do than they thought – they said they would do it, so they do
• Whining and complaining is not an option with them.
• They’ll quickly assess a situation and do what in their heart they know has
to be done, even if no one else is doing it.
• They know they’re only as good as their word.
• They know that setting and keeping high standards for themselves is
what’s going to make them sleep easy at night.
• They’re a good man or woman and would make any parent proud to call
their 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 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.

7 Reasons Why Your Child Should Practice Martial Arts

7 Reasons Why Your Child Should  Practice Martial Arts 

By Eric C. Stevens, Contributor – Martial Arts, Sports Psychology 

“The martial arts are ultimately self-knowledge. A punch or a kick is not to knock the hell out of the guy in  front, but to knock the hell out of your ego, your fear, or your hang-ups.” 

– Bruce Lee 

Recently on a visit back home, I met my one of my close friends at his son’s martial arts studio so I could  drop in and see what young Ethan was up to. Ethan was one step away from getting his white belt in  Shotokan Karate. He beamed with pride as we watched him do various forms and drills. Shortly after I  left town, Ethan earned his white belt, upon which he got to join the big kids in the adjacent room. There  the big kids practice more advanced forms, techniques, and even some sparring. He was thrilled. 

Ethan’s always been a good kid, but from what I observed the martial arts gave him quite a healthy dose  of self esteem and self respect – two of the many benefits one gains with participation in them. Whether  your kid is too bossy, too shy, or perhaps just a little hyper, the martial arts can help your child learn  many important life lessons. (And, of course, those same lessons apply for all of us, not just kids.) 

Why Your Child Should Practice Martial Arts 

Reason #1: They (and You) Will Get More Active 

This is the obvious reason kids should do martial arts in this day and age – to get active and moving. In  case you haven’t noticed, we have an epidemic when it comes to our nation’s obesity problem. We’re  also increasingly unfit in addition to being overweight. The problem is particularly alarming as it relates to  our kids. Youth sports and physical education programs are great, but not every kid is an athlete and  many schools no longer offer PE. The martial arts offer many benefits, but when it comes to fitness,  becoming a true martial artist means becoming a supremely fit person. When I was practicing boxing or Muay Thai kickboxing on a daily basis, I was in the best shape of my life by a long shot. Martial arts can  help your child get fit and healthy. 

Reason #2: They’ll Learn to Find Focus and Stillness 

Of the many challenges that parents face today, one is that we are constantly plugged in. While there are  a great many benefits to the Internet, there are many more benefits in stillness and silence. Unfortunately  stillness and silence seem to be rare to find. At some juncture in life, every one of us comes to learn that  

the greatest obstacle we face in this lifetime is ourselves. That battle is fought in the stillness of our  hearts and the willingness to confront ourselves. As Bruce Lee pointed out, behind the punches, kicks,  and knees, a true martial artist learns to sit with himself and see where his weaknesses are. In years of  martial arts classes, I remember many challenges, breakthroughs, and setbacks. What I do not  remember are distractions or gimmicks like you often see at your local health club. At the martial arts  studios and boxing gyms where I trained, there was no loud music or flat screen TVs, just hard work and  sweat equity. As a martial artist, your child will learn what it is to be still, challenged, and focused. 

Reason #3: They’ll Learn to Take Hits 

In the martial arts, your child will learn what it is to take a hit, whether that hit is a literal blow or a  disappointment like failing a test. Part of life is learning that we all take hits. The key is in learning how  best to take that hit and get back up. Unfortunately, this lesson seems to be lost on many in our every kid-gets-a-trophy culture. In the martial arts, your kid will learn to fail – a lot. Half of martial arts is hitting,  but half is also getting hit. 

When people hire me to teach them boxing, they can’t wait to lace up the gloves and start hitting things.  Seldom does someone mention how enjoyable it is when I tap him or her upside the head with a focus  mitt for dropping their hands. The first time I got struck in the head sparring in kung fu, I immediately  rushed to the mirror to see if there was a mark on my face. The students in class laughed about it for  months. While I didn’t find it too funny at the time, I came to learn that accepting I would get hit enabled  me to relax and better protect myself. That acceptance led me to be able to better respond, maneuver,  and anticipate. Ironically, learning how to take a hit is perhaps the best way for your kid to learn how to  avoid it. 

Reason #4: They’ll Gain Self Confidence and Self Respect 

As noted in talking about my friend’s son Ethan, I was able to witness firsthand the confidence he gained  by participating in the martial arts. Being able to advance and play with the big kids gave Ethan a  tremendous amount of confidence. Of course, playing with the big kids also gives all of us a little  reminder of humility – someone is always bigger and stronger. I remember sifu gently threatening the two  young boys in our kung fu class that if they ever used their kung fu training in the wrong way or to show  off he would have their hide. The right martial arts school will teach your child that there are no tough  guys. Every martial artist ultimately learns this sense of respect and true confidence. Your child will learn  that confidence and respect for others comes from a deep sense of self-knowledge. 

Reason #5: They’ll Connect Their Mind and Body 

What they don’t teach you at your local health club is how to really listen to your body. To listen to your  body is to also see your thoughts and have heightened awareness of your emotional construct. A martial artist is taught to see, feel, and listen – both internally and externally. Tapping into intuition, fear, and  courage are examples of being able to put the physical together with the mental. How often have we  heard the phrase “being paralyzed with fear”? Being able to combat such a thing is what you learn in the  martial arts. 

Reason #6: They’ll Learn Conflict Resolution 

People often ask me whether I have ever used my martial arts and boxing training in a fight. Indeed I  have used the skill sets learned from martial arts many times to resolve conflict, but thankfully, never in a  physical altercation (outside the ring, of course). One of the first lessons Sifu taught us in kung fu was  that words were never grounds for a fight. That advice right there has saved me many times. In the  martial arts, you learn that there is no such thing as “fighting” words. Instead, you learn to respond  without reacting in the martial arts. 

Reason #7: They’ll Learn to Breathe 

Of the many things I have learned in the martial arts and boxing, breathing is near the top. Back in my  kung-fu days, Sifu told me that he could tell how someone fights just by observing how he or she  breathes. Indeed, nothing is more essential to the success of how we move our body then tapping into  the life force of our essence – our breath. Ask a professional athlete, or an actor, dancer, or signer, and  they will tell you that to succeed in any physical craft is to access your breath correctly. I am shocked at  times working with adults who never learned to breathe properly when under physical exertion. This skill  can literally save your life. In the martial arts your kid will learn the essence of how to breathe and even  relax under pressure.


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.