Staying Safe on Halloween

Stay Safe On Halloween

Halloween is right around the corner, which means it’s almost time for trick-or-treating fun! While Invictus helps people stay safe in everyday life, we’re also offering up some simple tips to stay safe on Halloween.

Believe it or not, only a third of parents talk to their kids annually about Halloween safety even though three quarters report having Halloween safety fears.

So, this year, as the kids get ready to dress up and head out for an evening of fun and candy, here are a few tips to chat with them about to ensure they stay safe on Halloween night.

staying safe on halloween

While children are typically the focus when discussing Halloween safety tips, several of these tips can easily apply to adults as well. While children are smaller and harder to see, pedestrian injuries and fatalities also occur for adults on Halloween. If you’re accompanying your kids, always be aware of your surroundings, especially when crossing the street. If you choose to drive during trick-or-treat hours, be very cautious in neighborhoods and keep an eye out for excited kids darting into the street unexpectedly.

Clearly, having a plan as well as a pre-Halloween chat with your kids before heading out to trick-or-treat will help everyone feel safe and confident. Remember: Be smart, be seen, be safe…and, or course, HAVE FUN!

 

Ready to feel safe and confident in everyday life? Try a FREE martial arts training session at Invictus!  Which class below are you most curious about?

Preschool ages 3-5 (CLICK HERE)

Kids ages 6-12 (CLICK HERE)

Adults ages 13+ (CLICK HERE)

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5 tips to stop cyberbullying

5 Tips To Stop Cyberbullying

October is National Bully Prevention Month, so we’re taking a look at how we can prevent a persistent form of bullying: cyberbullying.

Recent statistics show that a staggering 59% of U.S. teens have been bullied or harassed online. Cyberbullying includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else. The most common places where cyberbullying occurs are social media, texting, online gaming communities, and email.

Effects of cyberbullying can include lower academic performance, poor concentration, increased stress and anxiety, depression, and even increased rate of suicide.

So, what can we do to stop cyberbullying? These 5 tips can help empower our youth to be part of the solution.

Stop Cyberbullying

 

While a majority of U.S. teens will experience some form of cyberbullying, only 1 in 6 parents are actually aware of the bullying. So, how can parents play an active role in preventing their kids from being cyberbullied? Here are a few great suggestions:

  • Ensure that they only friend and chat with people they know in real life
  • Verify that privacy settings are set on all of their accounts
  • Educate them on the importance of keeping their passwords private
  • Show them how to block, delete, or report cyberbullying
  • Limit their screen time. The less time they spend on their device, the less likely that they will be cyberbullied.
  • Get them involved in offline activities.

Ready to get your teens involved in a great activity in a supportive community? Try a FREE martial arts training session at Invictus!  Which class below are you most curious about?

Preschool ages 3-5 (CLICK HERE)

Kids ages 6-12 (CLICK HERE)

Adults ages 13+ (CLICK HERE)

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dyslexia and martial arts

Managing Dyslexia Through Martial Arts

October is Dyslexia Awareness Month and we’re taking a look at how a brain-boosting activity like martial arts can help offer support.

While dyslexia is most known for challenges related to reading ability, it’s actually much more involved. Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. (Lyon, Shaywitz, & Shaywitz, 2003, p. 2).

In fact, current research shows that over 2.8 million school-aged children struggle with dyslexia. Fortunately, martial arts offers a unique way to help!

Here are just a few of the benefits individuals with dyslexia can experience through martial arts training:

Develop Motor Skills

Individuals with dyslexia often have difficulties with fine motor skills which can make activities like writing more challenging. Additionally, kids with dyslexia are often challenged with crossing the midline of their body. Martial arts drills designed to encourage crossing the midline help fire up neural pathways between brain hemispheres making it easier to recall previously learned material. Such drills include common warm-up exercises like bicycle crunches or crab toe-touches as well as pad drills that incorporate strikes from opposite hands and feet. Additionally, martial arts drills like sparring often require the use of both sides of the brain which helps develop new neural pathways and increases processing speed and problem solving.

These martial arts drills gradually work with and improve motor skills through repetitive combos and movements. Each new strike or skill might initially come as a challenge for a child with dyslexia; however, through patient instruction and encouragement, they can experience tremendous success in the martial arts. And this success will have a lasting impact on their cognitive skill development as well.

Increase Focus

Kids with dyslexia often find it challenging to concentrate. Fortunately martial arts is great for practicing and encouraging self-control and focus. In fact, focus-oriented drills that require a student to hit a specific target with a specific strike can help focus their mind and body simultaneously.

Ultimately, developing self-discipline is crucial of kids with dyslexia. Working through learning challenges can be exhausting and discouraging. Strong character traits cultivated by martial arts training like discipline, focus, and perseverance, can make all the difference when academic challenges arise. Kids who train in the martial arts are well-equipped to tackle challenges head-on rather than giving in to distraction or giving up entirely.

Practice Sequencing

Another common challenge for individuals with dyslexia is sequencing. Sequencing refers to an individuals ability to perceive items in a specific order as wells as remember that sequence. Tasks like learning the days of the week, months of the year, a phone number, the letters of the alphabet, and even counting, can be significantly challenging. Being able to sequence effectively is of great importance.

Martial arts helps develop sequencing skills through the instruction, memorization, and practice of combos and long forms.  Remembering long series of movements that combine opposite hand-leg techniques help to develop critical brain skills required for being able to sequence effectively.

Boost Confidence

Typically, kids with dyslexia can struggle with self-confidence. Martial arts training boosts confidence and helps normalize their experience. While kids with dyslexia can struggle with academic performance, they often excel in extracurricular activities. Participating in martial arts training helps equal the playing field. They may experience being “slower” than other kids in their class when it comes to reading, writing, or even math, but in martial arts, everyone learns at the same pace by belt rank. Each new belt rank offers an opportunity to demonstrate what they’ve learned in an environment where they feel supported and celebrated. They’ll feel more confident and begin to see themselves as more than just dyslexic…they’ll see themselves as a strong and confident martial artist.

 

Ready to get your kid training in mixed martial arts? Try a FREE training session at Invictus!  Which class below are you most curious about?

Preschool ages 3-5 (CLICK HERE)

Kids ages 6-12 (CLICK HERE)

Adults ages 13+ (CLICK HERE)

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Best Hispanic Mixed Martial Artists

Top 5 Hispanic Mixed Martial Artists

Since the 1980s, Mexico has boasted it’s fair share of impressive boxers. Names like Oscar De La Hoya and Julio Cesar Chavez dominated throughout the 80s and 90s and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez continues to dominate even today. But up until the last 5-10 years, hispanic fighters have been under-represented in the sport of MMA. Fortunately, the UFC now has a growing number of fighters with Mexican roots who display the same heart, desire, and physicality we’ve come to expect from Mexican boxers.

MMA fighter Efrain Escudero recently said, “For Mexicans, not only in boxing but also in MMA, we are warriors. We like to fight. We like to be involved in tough wars inside a ring or Octagon.”

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re taking a look at five Hispanic fighters who have faced insurmountable odds to become some of the best mixed martial artists in the world.

Here’s our list of the top 5 Hispanic mixed martial artists of all time:

Tito Ortiz

Ortiz grew up in Huntington Beach, California with his Mexican father, Samuel and French mother Joyce along with three older brothers. He had a difficult childhood due to his involvement in street gangs, exposure to drugs, and frequent trips to juvenile halls. In high school, he began wrestling and quickly found his passion for the sport winning a CIF championship and finishing fourth in the state tournament his senior year. He went on to attend Golden West College where he became a California Junior College State Champion and All-American for two consecutive years.

Ortiz‘s mixed martial arts debut was at UFC 13 in 1997. He has a record of 21 wins and 12 losses. He went on to become the UFC light heavyweight champion. In July of 2021, Ortiz was inducted into the UFC hall of fame.

Dominick Cruz

Cruz grew up in Tucson, Arizona with his mother, grandmother, and brother. He began wrestling in middle school and went on to compete for Flowing Wells High School. He was on track to secure a wrestling scholarship to the University of Northern Colorado; however, due to an injury he sustained his senior year, he lost the opportunity. Before becoming a professional fighter, Cruz worked at Lowe’s while he attended community college where he studied to become a firefighter.

Cruz began his professional mixed martial arts career in 2005 at the age of 20.  He quickly became known for his quick footwork, head movement, and use of feints and angular strikes. In December of 2010, he won the inaugural Bantamweight Championship. After successfully defending the belt twice in 2011, he was sidelined in 2012 due to an injury and subsequently stripped of the title in 2014. In early 2016, he regained the Bantamweight Championship in what many media outlets called the greatest comeback story in MMA history. Cruz has a record of 21 wins and 3 losses. Besides his amateur wrestling experience, he is also a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. While Cruz still actively fights, he is now also a regular commentator for UFC.

Brandon Moreno

Moreno was born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico where his family owned a piñata business. He started training in mixed martial arts at the age of 12. While he had early ambitions of attending law school, he decided to focus solely on his mixed martial arts career.

Moreno made his professional MMA debut in Mexico in early 2011 at the age of 17. In 2014 he joined the World Fighting Federation promotion where he won the Flyweight Championship before being cast on the 25th season of The Ultimate Fighter in 2016. Moreno has a record of 19 wins and 5 loses and is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. In June of 2021, Moreno became the first  Mexican-born UFC Champion in history. He is expected to defend the Flyweight Championship at UFC 269 in December of 2021.

Cain Velasquez

Velasquez was born in Salinas, California but raised in Yuma, Arizona.  His father, Efrain, was an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who gained his citizenship when he married Velasquez’ mother, Isabel.  Velasquez attended Kofa High School where he served as the captain of both his wrestling and football teams. He had a very successful wrestling career winning the 5A Arizona Wrestling Championship twice. After high school, he attended Iowa Central Community College for one year where he won the NJCAA National Championship in the heavyweight division. He transferred to Arizona State University where he placed 5th in the country in 2005 and 4th in 2006. He graduated in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies.

Velasquez made his UFC debut in 2008. He became known for his cardiovascular endurance and aggressive fighting style. In 2013, he was ranked number 1 for the most strikes landed per minute in the UFC. He has a record of 14 wins and 3 losses and is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Velasquez is also a former two-time UFC Heavyweight Champion.

Jessica Aguilar

Aguilar was born in Poza Rica, Veracruz, Mexico. Her family immigrated to the US and settled in the Houston, Texas area. After losing her father and older brother at a young age, she went on to graduate high school and attend San Jacinto College before taking a semester off to pursue a career in acting in Hollywood. Success did not come easy, so she made the decision to move to Oregon where she worked as a corrections officer and gained extensive experience in self-defense. At the age of 24, she moved to Miami where she first began training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Aguilar made her professional debut as a mixed martial arts fighter in 2006. She went on to fight for Bellator Fighting Championships from 2010-2013. She became the first female fighter to sign with the World Series of Fighting (WSOF) promotion in 2013 and in 2014 became the first WSOF Women’s Strawweight Champion. Aguilar went on to successfully fight in the UFC from 2015-2019.

Currently, Aguilar uses her martial arts expertise to teach self-defense classes. She says, “Being able to share the importance of self-defense with men and women makes everyone involved feel so empowered and confident. I love that I can share my skills to help people protect themselves.”

Aguilar has had a decorated career in mixed martial arts. Her accomplishments include: FILA Grappling World Championship Women’s Senior No-Gi Gold Medalist (2009-2010), 2010 female fan favorite of the year, 2011 female flyweight of the year, 2012 Florida MMA Female Fighter of the year.

Aguilar was part of the first female team at American Top Team from 2006-2020. She has a record of 20 wins and 9 loses and is a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

 

Ready to start training in mixed martial arts? Try a FREE training session at Invictus!  Which class below are you most curious about?

Preschool ages 3-5 (CLICK HERE)

Kids ages 6-12 (CLICK HERE)

Adults ages 13+ (CLICK HERE)

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Fight Fatigue With Martial Arts

Fight Fatigue With Martial Arts

If you’re currently hitting the snooze button multiple times every morning, walking around like a zombie during the day, reaching for the nearest energy drink to get you through the afternoon, and unable to unwind and get good quality sleep at night, you’re not alone. Fatigue is a common complaint for many adults. General fatigue is caused by several issues including: poor sleep, poorly managed stress, poor diet, poor life/work balance, and yes…poor fitness habits.

It may sound counterintuitive, but experts agree that expending energy by engaging in regular exercise actually pays off with increased energy over time. This is because regular exercise raises blood oxygen levels and increases endorphins, which helps us feel more energized.

So, which are the most effective exercises at increasing oxygen in the blood and boosting energy? It turns out, aerobic training, like mixed martial arts, is best!

Here are three ways to fight fatigue with martial arts:

Focus On Cardio

Training in mixed martial arts is fantastic for  cardiovascular strength building and endurance. Martial arts drills that incorporate bag or pad drills are great for developing enhanced aerobic and anaerobic respiration.  Additionally, mixed martial arts is great for increasing stamina and endurance. The best martial arts training sessions start with a warm-up designed to get your heart pumping and your muscles conditioned. Additionally, sparring drills focus on developing your cardiovascular endurance. Consistent training improves heart health which helps the body regulate oxygen levels more efficiently, resulting in better energy management.

Full Body Workout

One of the greatest benefits of mixed martial arts training is that it trains the body as a whole. Whether you’re working on the fluidity of your practice combos on a pads or refining the technical aspects of your kicks  on a heavy bag, mixed martial arts training will have you experiencing the benefits of a full body workout. The more you focus on conditioning your body as a whole, the more you’ll realize the benefits when it comes to feeling more energized.

Get Better Sleep

While exercise helps boost your energy, it can also help you wind down. In fact, a recent study showed that exercise plays an important role in improving the quality of your sleep. Experts suggest that people who get at least 150 minutes of exercise per week sleep significantly better at night and also feel more alert during the day. Mixed martial arts training requires both physical exertion and mental focus which helps ready the body for a better night’s sleep. So, while you’re putting in the time on the mat, you can be confident that you’ll be falling asleep faster as well as sleeping through the night more consistently.

So, instead of pouring another cup of coffee when you hit that afternoon slump, hit the mats for a quick 30 minute training session! In the long run, you’ll be happy you did.

 

Ready to feel more energized? Try a FREE training session at Invictus!  Which class below are you most curious about?

Preschool ages 3-5 (CLICK HERE)

Kids ages 6-12 (CLICK HERE)

Adults ages 13+ (CLICK HERE)

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Tips For Sparring Success

5 Tips For Sparring Success

Over the last decade, we’ve helped hundreds of martial arts students achieve sparring success. There’s no shortage of helpful advice we can offer when it comes to technical tips:

  • Keep your guard up
  • Maintain a stable stance
  • Focus your eyes on your partner
  • Retract your punches and kicks
  • Keep moving

But if you’re new to martial arts training, and especially just starting to spar, these technical tips can sometimes fall short of being helpful. So, if you’re frustrated with your most recent sparring experience or you’re just ready to take your skill development to the next level…keep reading.

First, it’s important to acknowledge that sparring is more than just a physical exercise. There’s a mental component to sparring that must be equally developed. Clearly, the best tips for sparring success encompass both the physical and mental.

Keep in mind that sparring is simply an opportunity to try out your martial arts skill development on a resisting partner and, with the right mindset, it’s quite fun!

Here are our five tips for sparring success:

 

Have A Plan

Sparring is just as much a tactical exercise as it is a physical one. Sparring requires you to constantly be thinking about your next move. While your plan will need to adapt to your sparring partner, it’s always advisable to start any sparring match with a general plan. Knowing your personal strengths and limitations is a huge benefit. If you’re taller than your sparring partner, you can use your legs to keep them out of range. If you’re smaller than your sparring partner, you’ll want to get in close to take away their optimal range.

Sparring with different partners is also a huge learning opportunity. Want to level up quick? Spar with people who can out-pace, out-punch, and out-plan you. Study what they do and ask them for help. Some of the most effective strategies we’ve learned have been from sparring partners who were better than us.

Stay Calm

It’s ok to feel nervous before sparring. Unless you’ve been training for a while, you’re probably not use to the idea of someone punching and kicking at you.  It’s important to accept that in a sparring situation you’re going to get hit (after all, even the professionals do!). The key is to control where you get hit and how you respond after. Practicing offense and defense drills that help you experience what it feels like to absorb a punch or kick will build your confidence in this area. As you build trust with your sparring partners, you’ll realize it gets easier to remain calm, even with punches and kicks being thrown at you.

Most importantly, remember to breathe. It’s common for people to inadvertently hold their breath as they spar. Practice exhaling when you strike so that breathing becomes routine, even when your focus is on blocking, evading, and countering. Ultimately, breathing and remaining calm will help you conserve energy and strike with better precision.

Stick To The Basics

When your adrenalized, complex movements are more challenging to pull off successfully. When you first start sparring, use the most basic techniques you know: jab, cross, hook, and round kick. Sticking to the basics will increase your skill and also keep you mentally focused. In fact, simple and direct works best 80% of the time. Save the more complex moves for the remaining 20% of the time.

While it might be more comfortable to throw one strike at a time, using combinations will increase your chances of connecting with a viable target. Counters are also key. It’s easy to find yourself in a position where your partner is doing all the striking and you’re doing all the defending. Look for opportunities to counter after defending every strike your partner throws.

Check Your Ego

Every sparring match begins with a respectful bow as a reminder that both partners are prepared to help and not harm the other. Sparring is not about beating up your partner. Ultimately, ego clouds judgment and can cause you to rush and even loose control of your power. If your primary focus is striking with power, your technique will suffer and you will miss the opportunity for growth and advancement in your skill development.

When it comes to having the best sparring experience, adopt a givers mindset. Sparring is not a competition, it’s a partnership. When both sparring partner focus on helping the other improve, magic happens. Mutual challenge and respect results in mutual development and benefit.

Focus On Learning, Not Winning

Sparring is not about winning or loosing. Some days, you won’t be able to miss, while other days, you won’t be able to hit a single target. Sparring is all about learning. Every time you spar, try to improve from the last time.

As we mentioned before, sparring is just as much mental as it is physical. While you’re sparring, rather than focusing on winning, focus on your mental state:

  • Stay calm and remember to breath
  • Be aware of your position and guard
  • Concentrate on your opponent or partner
  • Practice those problem-solving skills
  • Stay in control of your emotions

Most importantly, have fun! Remember, it can take years to get really good at sparring. The best martial artists are the ones who show up, consistently put in the work, and enjoy the experience.

 

Ready to up your sparring game? Try a FREE training session at Invictus!  Which class below are you most curious about?

Preschool ages 3-5 (CLICK HERE)

Kids ages 6-12 (CLICK HERE)

Adults ages 13+ (CLICK HERE)

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Bully-Proof Your Kid

How To Bully-Proof Your Kid

Starting a new school year is an exciting time for many kids. It’s an opportunity to make new friends, learn new things, and tackle new challenges. But for many kids that are prone to bullying, starting a new school year can be a stressful experience. According to recent studies, one in three children will experience some form of bullying in their lifetime.

As parents, we want to do everything we can to protect our kids, but realistically, we can’t always be by their side. So, what steps can you take to bully-proof your kid?

Experts have long agreed that enrolling a child in martial arts can dramatically decrease how frequently a child is bullied. In fact, a recent study suggests that training in the martial arts can decrease the likelihood of bullying by up to 64%.

 

Encourage An Open Line Of Communication

As parents, it can be challenging to help our kids work through an encounter with a bully, especially if we don’t know about it. Kids will often feel embarrassed to admit they are being bullied, which is why establishing an open line of communication is so important. When kids feel it’s ok to talk to you about their experience with a bully, they are more likely to talk to other authority figures as well such as a school counselor. Sometimes, simply reporting the incident can resolve a problem with a bully before it becomes a long-term issue.

Martial arts teaches kids to confidently advocate for themselves. In fact, the best martial arts programs stress the importance of using a strong voice to stop a run-in with a bully before it can escalate. Avoiding a physical altercation is always the best bet.

 

Help Them Develop More Confidence

What makes some kids an easy target? Put simply, bullies tend to target individuals who they believe won’t fight back. They look for body language such as crossed arms, rounded shoulders, and lack of eye contact to identify insecure individuals who can be easily controlled or victimized. Experts agree that kids with high self-esteem and confidence are less likely to get bullied.

Building confidence through the martial arts is a great way to keep bullies at bay. Every martial arts class your kid attends is an opportunity to prove to themselves that they are strong and capable of greatness. Sparring drills encourage focusing and performing under pressure which is another great way to develop unshakable confidence. As they earn new belt ranks and learn more challenging techniques, their view of themselves and what they are capable of will shift and you will begin to see an outward demonstration of your kid becoming bully-proof.

 

Surround Them With Good Friends

It’s well known that bullies tend to seek out kids who lack community or are isolated. This is because it’s much easier to take advantage of and control a single kid rather than a group of kids. Also, fewer witnesses mean less of a likelihood that the bully will be identified and reprimanded.

When it comes to standing up to bullies, there’s always strength in numbers. If your kid is struggling to make new friends at school, enrolling them in a martial arts program is a great way to introduce them to new friends with similar mindsets. When it comes to making new friends, quality is more important than quantity. Even having just one significant friend at school can greatly reduce the likelihood that your kid will be bullied.

 

Have Them Learn Age-Appropriate Self-Protection Skills

Even though we always advocate for walking away from a bully, we also understand that there may come a time when that’s just not possible. In this case, it’s important for kids to understand how to appropriately defend themselves from a physical attack.

We often get asked: “what is the best self-defense move?” As you can imagine, it’s challenging to narrow it down to just one. When it comes to kids who are being bullied, verbal assertiveness should always be the first course of action. If this approach proves to be unsuccessful at deescalating the situation, non-violent self-defense techniques are the next best thing. This is because, typically, punching and kicking the bully back will do more harm than good. Instead, kids can learn leverage-based control holds to neutralize the threat without leaving a mark.

Role-playing common scenarios (such as being pushed or grabbed) during martial arts class will give your kid the confidence they need to know they are equipped to defend themselves should the need arise.

 

Ready to help your kid become bully-proof? Try a FREE training session at Invictus!  Which class below are you most curious about?

Preschool ages 3-5 (CLICK HERE)

Kids ages 6-12 (CLICK HERE)

Adults ages 13+ (CLICK HERE)

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How To Fuel Your Body To Maximize Your Fitness Results

Fuel Your Body, Maximize Your Fitness Results

The difference between a good and a bad workout often comes down to how you fuel your body. What you eat and when you eat it determines how hard you can push yourself during a training session. It also impacts how well your muscles recover afterwards.

Many people believe not eating before a workout will help them burn more fat. That’s simply not the case. In fact, not eating before a workout can lead to feeling lethargic or even faint during a workout. The main goal of eating before a workout is to prime our metabolism and replenish the glycogen that supplies our energy needs to our body.

So, how do you fuel your body for a successful workout without limiting your performance? The solution is a simple nutritional recipe for fitness success: drink plenty of water, and eat good carbs and lean protein.

Here are a few tips on how to best fuel your body to maximize your training experience.

Stay Hydrated

We can’t stress this enough: stay hydrated. Drinking water before you begin your workout is crucial. The amount of water your body needs will vary from person to person based on size and muscle mass. Do your own personal research to determine your optimal hydration requirements.  The goal is to be fully hydrated within an hour of starting your workout. This is because the act of drinking water only starts the hydration process and our bodies need time to fully benefit. During a high-intensity workout, aim to drink water every 20-30 minutes to stay hydrated as you exercise. Keep in mind, when you drink water during your workout, you’re not just putting liquid back into your body, you’re also replenishing electrolytes, sodium, and glucose. Even better, drinking water can help regulate your body temperature and even prevent muscle cramps.

 

Eat Regularly Throughout The Day

We get it. Life happens and suddenly we find ourselves skipping meals and making excuses. The benefit of disciplining ourselves to eat at regular intervals throughout the day is that we can better maintain proper blood sugar levels and energy levels as well.  Aim to eat about 300 to 500 calories about two hours before your workout. Remember, your body can only use food it’s already digested. Eating easily digestible food a couple of hours before you exercise will provide your body with the time it needs to properly fuel itself without making you feel too full.

Convinced you just can’t make that happen? Even just eating a 50 to 100 calorie snack consisting of fast-digesting carbs right before your workout can provide a quick burst of energy to fuel your fitness. Some great choices to eat on the go are fruits like oranges, bananas, apples, or raisins.

 

Just Say “No” To Some Foods

When it comes to fueling a great workout, avoid foods high in saturated fats like fried foods or pizza. In general, these kinds of foods take a long time to digest and tend to sit very heavy in your stomach. A small serving of good fats is much more ideal, such as half an avocado or a hand-full of almonds.

Additionally, while foods high in fiber are great for digestive health, consuming large servings of foods high in fiber right before a workout could upset your stomach. Consuming high-fiber foods like broccoli, lentils, or certain cereals before a workout draws blood flow to your digestive system rather than your muscles. This can limit the amount of oxygen, sugar, and amino acids your muscles receive as you exercise.

Lastly, avoid carbonated beverages like soda and seltzer before working out. These drinks can cause gas, bloating, and abdominal pain. They also contain significant amounts of sodium, which can cause dehydration.

 

Fuel Your Recovery

Jump start your recovery process by consuming good food within 30 to 45 minutes after completing your workout. Look for foods consisting of carbohydrates and a moderate amount of protein. Whole grains and lean meats work best for restoring glycogen stores and stimulating muscle protein synthesis. Fruit smoothies or protein shakes are great options if you’re crunched for time.

In general, macronutrients are key for maximizing your body’s recovery after a great workout. Protein helps repair and build muscles. Carbohydrates replenish your body’s glycogen stores. Good fats like avocado, nuts and seeds, eaten in moderation, have also been shown to aid in muscle growth after a workout.

Finally, don’t skip the water. Replenishing lost water and electrolytes will help you maximize the benefits of your workout.

 

Now that you’ve got some great tips for fueling your workout, try a FREE training session at Invictus!  Which class below are you most curious about?

Preschool ages 3-5 (CLICK HERE)

Kids ages 6-12 (CLICK HERE)

Adults ages 13+ (CLICK HERE)

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All rights reserved. Used with permission. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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Forging Friendships Through Martial Arts

Forging Friendships Through Martial Arts

Of all of the countless benefits of enrolling your child in a martial arts program, one of the most important may be forging lasting friendships through martial arts. Experts agree that good friends can enrich your life and improve your health. In fact, adults with strong social support have a reduced risk of health problems like depression, high blood pressure, and unhealthy BMI.

For school-aged children, having friends is important for developing important life skills such as socialization and conflict resolution. Making friends is also important for a child’s self-esteem. All kids thrive when they feel a sense of belonging and acceptance.

But, let’s face it, making friends can be a challenge for kids. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be!

Surrounding them with like-minded individuals in a positive and supportive environment can make it so much simpler. Developing friendships through martial arts is fun and rewarding! Let’s take a look at what makes martial arts friends so great:

They’re Committed To Self-Improvement

When it comes to making friends, quality is more important than quantity. Martial arts is all about making progress towards the goal of achieving new belt ranks and learning new skills. Setting goals and working towards them with like-minded individuals is a great way to build lasting friendships. Martial artists are often self-motivated and love encouraging their peers to develop good habits such as eating healthy or prioritizing their fitness.

Earning a black belt requires several years of commitment. This presents a unique opportunity to interact with the same group of people for an extended period of time. Nothing feels better than knowing that the people you train with are supporting you and cheering for you on the way to earning your black belt. It’s truly an unforgettable experience.

They’re Respectful

Respect is the foundation for any lasting friendship. In martial arts, respect is taught in several different ways. Students learn to bow to their training partners as a sign of respect. They also address each other as “yes, sir” or “yes ma’am” to further establish respectful relationships. Kids quickly learn that they not only deserve respect but that they must respect others as well.

In martial arts training, all individuals are treated with respect equally. Girls and boys train together. Different ages train together. The more diverse the class, the more rewarding the training experience.  Kids develop an appreciation for their peers and learn how to demonstrate respect to them in an environment that frequently reinforces its importance.

They’re Trustworthy

Most people will agree that trust is an important aspect of any friendship. Building trust allows kids to feel accepted as they are and encourages them to share their successes and struggles with others.

Clearly, it takes a lot of trust to work with a training partner who is punching and kicking at you. Martial artists must develop exquisite control to prevent injuring themselves or the people they train with. Whether it’s training with pads or practicing sparring drills, through consistent practice, martial artists learn to rely and depend on their training partners.

They Share Your Passion

Common interests bring people together and create opportunities for building strong friendships. Kids often have a hard time introducing themselves to new people or even starting a conversation. Participating in a shared physical activity takes the pressure off of conversation, especially in the early stages of friendship.

It doesn’t take long to develop a passion for martial arts. Nothing feels better than being surrounded by people who just get it. They understand your excitement when you achieve a new belt rank, empathize with you when you struggle to perform well in a tournament, and even geek out with you at the latest martial arts themed movie or TV show. Martial arts friends will see you and understand you on a level most others won’t. And that’s pretty amazing.

 

Does your child struggle to make new friends? Fortunately, it’s never too late to build new friendships through the martial arts. Try a FREE training session at Invictus!  Which class below are you most curious about?

Preschool ages 3-5 (CLICK HERE)

Kids ages 6-12 (CLICK HERE)

Adults ages 13+ (CLICK HERE)

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martial arts improves school performance

Martial Arts Improves Academic Performance

Experts agree that martial arts improves academic performance in school-aged children. It’s true! And who doesn’t want their child to have better focus and higher grades?

In fact, participating in physical activity, such as martial arts, has a direct impact on the behavior and development of the brain.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, physical activity can have an impact on cognitive skills and attitudes, and academic behavior, all of which are important components of improved academic performance.

Here are three ways martial arts sets kids up for academic success:

Better Grades

According to a recent study, there is a link between children’s cardiorespiratory fitness and their performance in school. In short, the study determined that the more athletic a student is, the better their grades are in core subjects like mathematics and reading. Participating in an aerobic style of martial arts such as kickboxing or Muay Thai, can enhance executive function and overall brain health.

Additionally, another study revealed that children with higher levels of fitness perform better on a relational memory task. This is in part due to having a larger hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for relational memory performance. Reputable martial arts programs require students to memorize specific striking combos or forms at each belt rank. Of course, developing the ability to recall key facts and concepts quickly is critical to doing well on academic exams.

Best of all, exercise has been shown to improve creative thinking. Martial arts drills such as sparring require the student to creatively determine how to strike and defend themselves against a resisting opponent. Practicing this creative approach to thinking and problem solving is key to achieving academic success, especially in STEM classes.

Improved Classroom Behavior

Regular participation in a structured martial arts training program enhances concentration and focus often resulting in improved classroom behavior. Did you know that mixed martial arts training has been shown to improve social skills and lessen behavioral problems in boys with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)? Martial arts training encourages students to develop and practice strategies for self-control. Developing this skill can help children with ASD learn to better control their emotions as well as inhibiting rigid/impulsive behaviors.

Additionally, mixed martial arts classes provide a positive environment for hyperactive kids to release energy while improving their ability to concentrate. Kickboxing and Muay Thai classes combine high-intensity exercises with drills that require students to focus on hitting specific targets with technical accuracy. Children learn self-control and discipline while participating in regular physical activity that has been proven to decrease the severity of ADHD symptoms and improve cognitive function.

Boost In Self-Confidence

It is well-known that students who are more confident are better problem solvers. Alternatively, children who struggle with self-confidence tend to struggle with test anxiety. Fortunately, martial arts is great for improving self-confidence in children. Most martial arts programs will have frequent opportunities for students to demonstrate the skills they have learned in front of their peers and instructors. This may be in the form of a competitive tournament or even a test for a new belt rank. These opportunities to have their hard work and commitment recognized serves as a way to help boost their self-confidence. It also reinforces the idea that hard work and practice lead to progress. Consequently, they’ll be more likely to hit the books for extra study time when it comes to their academics.

 

It’s easy to see how participating in martial arts improves academic performance. Whether your goal is boosting your child’s self-confidence, improving their classroom behavior, or helping them score better grades, enrolling in a reputable martial arts program may hold the key to a less stressful, more successful school year.

 

Ready to experience how martial arts improves academic performance for your child? Try a FREE training session at Invictus!  Which class below are you most curious about?

Preschool ages 3-5 (CLICK HERE)

Kids ages 6-12 (CLICK HERE)

Adults ages 13+ (CLICK HERE)

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© 2019-2021 Invictus Martial Arts

All rights reserved. Used with permission. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Try a FREE class >>

 

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