Self Esteem.  A confusing topic, if you ask me.  As a parent, I knew I wanted to imbue my kids with self esteem...but how much was too much? 

I certainly did not want to be responsible for birthing narcissistic, me-focused, unproductive citizens.  And yet, I did not want to punitively overpower my sons and destroy their sense of self. I hope I can shed some clarity on this subject. 

This testing cycle, we examine Self Esteem.  In order for students to earn their yellow stripe, parents (or caregivers) need to fill out a Self Esteem sheet describing how the student shows Self Esteem. (Spouses of our adult students, this is a chance for you to say something nice about your spouse...perhaps for the first time.  Yes, please fill out a Self Esteem sheet for your husband or wife! In case you were wondering, it takes 10 good comments to equal 1 negative comment.) 

Sooo..... here goes. My thoughts on self esteem over my half a century on this earth.


A person shows self esteem by having a can-do and a never-give-up attitude even when something doesn't go as planned.  A person with self esteem shows a confidence in their capabilities in one or more areas of their lives.  THAT is worth encouraging. Let me be clear. Pride in oneself can be healthy! What does your child (or husband) do often or say frequently that shows healthy pride? What do you do? 


People show their self esteem when they lift others up. When they look at other people's good qualities over their bad ones. When they see the gem of potential in that person. Confidence and pride that puts other people down is called arrogance, and it is ugly. It is not healthy pride or self esteem. People without self esteem tear others down by pointing out each other's flaws. How are you doing as a parent/spouse with that? Do you or your child choose to be a good-finder? 

Seems like true self esteem is very connected to humility.  But that is another big topic for another day.

Parents and students, please share your comments on our blog or on  our facebook page about your thoughts and feelings regarding Self Esteem!

Fight the good fight,

Mrs. Streacker

“For it is easy to criticize and break down the spirit of others, but to know yourself takes a lifetime.” Bruce Lee

Weapons for my kid...seems counter intuitive.

After all, aren't we as parents interested in promoting cooperation, non-violence, and happy days?

Yes, we are.  Still, we live in a scary world, and the more we shine light on things that might be frightening within the safe circle of our adult presences, the better equipped our kids will be when faced with the inevitable negative parts of life. 

When I worked through my color belts on my path to black belt what seems like a century ago, (everyone knows I am ancient) we did not have weapons or chestguards or faceshields.  (Thank insurance companies for the additional gear.) Back then, weapons training was reserved for the black belt.  So, when I achieved my black belt, my instructor, Chief Master Patti Barnum handed me a Ssahng Jeol Bong (nunchuk) with a broad smile.  I asked her if I had to do weapons.  (Hear the whine?) She grinned and said, "yes, ma'am!" Grudgingly, I proceeded to drop my weapon over and over as I tried to master a 360 during that class.  Geeze, I thought. What a pain.

I am so glad she pushed me to do weapons and here's why:

  1. I learned more about personal space and how a weapon extends my reach. (Think, self defense)
  2. I grew in perseverance through something I did not initially enjoy. (Bearing with uncomfortable situations)
  3. Training with weapons helped me face my fear, gain control of my aggression, and respect my power. 
  4. Weapons work improved my martial arts practice.
  5. I eventually achieved a district championship in Ssahng Nat (kamas)!!!!! Who would've thought!!! Certainly not me.
  6. I grew to love weapons, and have become very proficient in them.

I am so glad we teach weapons to color belts! It only makes our students better martial artists, and more respectful human beings. Which is exactly what our purpose is for our students. I expect that each student has a special place at home for their weapons, belts earned, and equipment.  I expect that each student must ask permission of their parent to work with their weapons.  In this way, we teach our kids respect for authority, a reverence for things that can harm others, and a measure of self-control that is lacking in many people today!

Parents, please comment on your experience with our weapons training!

Mrs. Streacker

Fifth degree black belt owner

Full Life Martial Arts


If you are getting this email, you probably have a child.
At some point, you might have gazed on this miniature version of yourself and thought, “how gorgeous!”, quickly followed by “OMG, what have I done!” Hence the interest in martial arts.
Parenting is perhaps one of the most frustrating, and rewarding, endeavors any human may endure. When my four sons were young, their warm hugs and sloppy kisses reminded me this crazy parent thing was worth it. In their teens, it was their surprise punching and kicking attacks as I rounded the hallway corner. These days, as they grow into manhood, words like “thanks for guiding us four crazy kids in becoming such smart individuals” from 23 year old Son #1 are all that I need to know that I did my best and it is at least recognized.
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Full Life Martial Arts


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Hmm.  My child sparring.  Let me think about it...I don't think so.  That DID go through my head when my sons began studying martial arts in 2000 at the ages of 4, 6 and 7.  So, how did I begin to change my mind? Well, let's talk about the ATA Tiger story of Mir, the blue dragon. I have found that the best lessons are learned from stories.

Mir was tall with long limbs, and POWERFUL. When he sparred, he was known to knock his opponents out of the ring, on the floor, upside down. But his heart was kind, and he hated to hurt his friends.  Sometimes, without thinking, he did, accidentally. One day, he came to taekwondo class with a science experiment perched delicately in his hand--an egg which he was not supposed to break until his science class the next day. He laid it gingerly on a pad as he geared up for sparring.   On this day, he was paired up with Ara, the turtle, one of the smallest students in the school. And, could you have guessed? Ara ended up in a crying heap on the floor. Ara had indomitable spirit in the face of failure, and he bounced back quickly. But Mir resolved to simply do nothing in the next match, so he would not hurt Ara, and they started quarreling.

Well, Master Jahngsoo (that would be me in a white tiger kind of way) approached Mir to ask what the problem was.  Mir angrily announced that he needed a new partner because his partner was too small, and not a challenge.  Ara angrily retorted back, "I can't learn anything if you don't DO ANYTHING!"

Master Jahngsoo calmly asked him to retrieve his egg.  He pointed out that Mir could hold the egg gently.  "So you CAN show self control in your power!" Mir got it right away.  He turned humbly to Ara.  "I am sorry I did not use self control. I am ready to learn from you!"

I wanted my sons to be aware of their power, aware of others' needs, humble enough to learn from anyone and anything (especially failure) and kind enough to have self control over their power.  Sparring can teach all those lessons to our children. Even as an adult, sparring helped me learn these lessons as well.

Helping us to grow a bright spirit, kind hearts, and sound minds.

Mrs. Streacker