Last weekend we saw a post on Facebook from the mum of one of our junior students. This is what it said..

I have had a private text from school asking me to attend assembly tomorrow and not to say anything to Alex….. Can’t help thinking whats he done or not done?! 

Sounds ominous, but then the next day’s update:

He got a Gold Star!! For being kind, working hard, making his teacher laugh every day with his sense of humour and growing in confidence daily. Result was I cried but am so very, very proud of him

Excellent, thats great to hear!  Even better when she followed that up with:

I think the Ilyokwan Black Belt Academy has been the greatest thing helping his confidence. Thank you Richard Olpin!!!

Alex S

This is the real power of personal development through the martial arts programmes we teach here at the Academy.

It’s not just about punching and kicking, it’s about developing real life skills.   Here we see a child developing into a kind, hard-working and confident young man and his mum attributes those improvements directly to the positive start he’s gained from his training here at the Academy.

Well done Alex, we’re so pleased, and very proud of you!

Thanks again to our friends at St Joseph’s School in Nympsfield.  We have a number of students in common and I know we share some similar goals to help them develop as well-rounded, confident and positive individuals.

If you’re interested in giving your family a real a Positive Start in life, then get in touch. Try our programmes  free of charge as our guest for 30 days, and you’ll see the rewards for yourself!

Don't say can't

Every time you say you ‘can’t’ do something you’ll tend to believe yourself… Your subconscious will interpret it as a definite CAN NOT BE DONE, which is incredibly debilitating as it will stop you from even trying..

Think just how much more powerful it is when you switch that around to ‘how can I?’ instead. When you think that your mind immediately goes to work on looking for solutions, ideas, things to try. Has anyone else ever done it? What did they do? How could I get started? etc.

I know which I’d prefer. How about you?

Dillon Callinan

When we first met Dillon he was really shy, and you’d be lucky to get a few words out of him even if you asked a direct question.

How amazing then to see him a few years later where he stood up in front of his whole school and gave a 20 minute presentation about his martial arts to well over 100 people! Such a huge improvement in his confidence since he began training at the Academy. 

Well done Dillon!


It’s January 15th, which is the day that is thought of as the ‘cut off’ day when most people have already given up on their New-Years resolutions, and if like most of those people you’d really like this year to be different, this post is for you!

Below you’ll find a great video from Tony Robbins about setting meaningful goals rather than resolutions which fail..

As you may know, I’m a huge fan of Tony Robbins.  I know that not everyone loves his style but the man gets incredible results and changes lives. I’ve attended five of his seminars now and he has hugely impacted my life for the better.

If that’s your kinda thing, why not take a few miutes to watch this from Tony, then download the workbook below and give yourself a great start to your BEST YEAR EVER.

Below you’ll find a link to a PDF workbook from Tony Robbin’s which is a great guide to goal setting.. This document actually dates back to 2006, but the date is irrelevant as it’s equally valid today.

I’ve been through this guide (along side some of the other Tony Robbins programs) several times over the past few years and it has made a massive difference to my life, so I highly recommend you work through it yourself. It will only take about an hour, and trust me, that might well be the best hour’s investment you could possibly make!

If you need any help or advice on goal setting or personal development, please feel free to get in touch. I’m available for personal coaching and happy to work with individuals whatever their background or current personal development goals.

If you had the opportunity to change in your life for the better, would you take it?

At first that seems like a really simple question, and the answer should be “of course!”, but then we get to the part where people think, “well yes, I suppose, but what will it entail? Will it be hard work? Will it mean I have to give up all the stuff I like?” etc etc…

This is the biggest problem we all face when trying to achieve our true potential is the social con- ditioning that to reach exceptional standards is beyond the reach of ‘normal’ people.

There is a saying which goes: “if you want something to change about your life, then you must first change something about your life.”

Ask yourself this question. Just how much to you need to change in your life to make a significant difference to you?

Most people assume that it is a lot, and that it will require a huge amount of effort on their part. I put it to you that there is something you can do right now, it will take no more time than it takes you to read this newsletter, and this one thing can make a huge difference to the rest of your life.

Have I got your attention now?

What if I made a suggestion that by changing one tiny thing, just by adding one word to your vocabulary you could turn your whole attitude around…

When faced with a challenge in your life, how do you approach it? If your usual response is to think “I can’t do that because…” then immediately you are focused on the negative. This will affect your whole attitude towards the situation in the future and your chances of success are greatly reduced.

So how about we change that one tiny thing… Lets simply change the “I can’t” to “How can I?”, for example, instead of thinking “I can’t kick head height because I’m not flexible enough..”, change it to “how can I increase my flexibility to achieve my goal of kicking head height?”.

The moment you make this important change in your thinking something amazing happens. Your subconcious starts to work on the problem, starts looking for a solution. Even if you are not actually thinking about it at the time your subconcious is...

Immediately you have made a very important distinction, to focus on the solution is a positive step, and this means that you have now categorised this challenge as a positive thing and that gives you a huge advantage from the start.

Never focus on the problem, always on the solution, you will be amazed at the difference it makes!

Sometimes life throws us a curve-ball and we have to miss a few classes.

“The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure”

When that happens it’s easy to feel a bit ‘out of the loop’ and though it really shouldn’t be a problem, sometimes our subconscious takes over and starts playing silly games with your confidence, and it seems to get harder and harder to get back in the dojang. If you’ve ever been in that position, I bet a few of these thoughts have gone through your head:

“I’ve not been for ages, I’m so unfit it’s going to hurt when I go back”

“I’ve forgotten everything!”

“Everyone else has learned a load of new stuff and I’ll look daft because I can’t do it”

“They’ll all think I’m useless for not training”

Trust me, we’ve all been there, and I’ve heard all these B.S. excuses a hundred times over the years.

The simple fact is thats just our silly subconscious talking. The same one that makes us procrastinate about all sorts of things.  Sure, you may need to take it steady for a couple of classes to ease back into a routine, but other than that you’ve got nothing to worry about.  Worried about what others are thinking?  Think about it, how much do you worry about other people’s training?  The simple fact is, we miss you when you’re not there, and the only thing we’re likely to be thinking is “hey I hope they’re ok and back training soon”.

There’s a very simple solution if you’ve missed some training and want to know how to get going again.  Take a top from Nike and JUST DO IT!  All you need to do is take that first step back into the dojang and you’ll soon realise that you had nothing to worry about.

We’re looking forward to seeing you soon!

.. that’s a pretty bold title I suppose, but it’s true. If there is one simple secret to success in the Martial Arts it’s this.

Perseverance is the key to Mastery

I’m sure we’ve all heard the saying that goes: “A black belt is a white belt that never quit”.That’s a great way to summarise a major key to success in the martial arts. Perseverance.

We all experience ups and downs in all aspects of our lives, and learning a new skill is no exception. To begin with, when you start training it’s all new and exciting, initially the reward you get far outweighs the effort you need to put in.

After a while the initial excitement will settle down and you reach the stage where you realise that in order to progress you need to actually put some real work in to succeed. In these days where we’re conditioned for instant gratification that can be a challenge to say the least!

Modern society has conditioned us, especially our children, to have an “I want it now” attitude. We are not willing to invest the time to achieve maximum results. Children are growing up with an entitlement mentality. I want it now, it is owed to me, everyone has one so I deserve one too. This is leading people into a dangerous future where they are simply not able to deal with challenges and the default answer is “I quit!”.

The real secret to mastery however is learning to recognise these dips and persevere, because when you push through the flat spot and come out the other side, the rewards are worth it.  You’ll often find your ability, your confidence and your motivation take a huge surge forward.

In addition to the obvious benefits to your martial arts training, by developing your perseverance like this you’re developing self-discipline which will benefit you in every area of your life..

It’s pretty much a certainty that every one of us will experience such a dip at some points, and it probably won’t be the only one, eventually you’ll find yourself facing another.  The key then is to remember the lessons learned before, and use that experience to build the certainty that you can push through it, onwards and upwards to greater progress.

This is one of the reasons it really helps to keep a journal to log your training progress, and to record the ‘magic moments’ that helped you through the challenges you’ve faced along the way.  If you hit a challenge in the future, you can look back and remind yourself how you worked through it and the rewards you got for doing so.

Learn from the experience of others

If you’re struggling to push yourself forward at times, remember that you’re not the first person to experience this! Talk to some of the senior students and I’m sure they’ll all be able to relate to how you feel. Just about all of the current black belts could give you examples of challenges, setbacks and ‘flat spots’ they’ve had in their own training. But they all share one common trait. They never gave up. They used that key black belt skill of perseverance and it helped shape them into the Black Belt they became.

Share your experiences with others.

For example, use the Academy forum to discuss your training, keep a journal and share motivational tips with your fellow students.

Parents – keep in touch, use our experience!

We know that sometimes you’ll find it tough when your child goes through one of these natural dips, and of course they don’t yet understand the benefit of perseverance that we as adults can appreciate.  It’s really important that we help them to learn this skill, and support and encourage them during those flat spots.

It’s tricky sometimes to stick to your guns, especially when I child says “I don’t want to go tonight” or worse still “I don’t want to go any more!” but the key thing is to remember the reasons you enrolled them in the first place, think of the ‘big picture’ benefits that we can understand.  After all, I’m sure they’ve said they don’t want to go to school a few times by now too, but we understand the benefits to be gained from a formal education.  In the martial arts we add in the many benefits of some really valuable life skills and character development too.

Here are some great examples: 10 reasons Martial Arts benefit kids

If you’re having a challenge with your child’s motivation, please let us know ASAP!  Having taught literally hundreds of children over the years we can almost always help.

Here are a couple of great articles which discuss this further:


“A black belt is a white belt that never quit”.

ALL GREAT BLACK BELTS LEARN THAT THE WORDS they use, especially when they are talking to “themselves,” make a HUGE impact on their lives and their success!

Using these NEGATIVE words limit you, and cause you to focus on what can’t be done, rather than what CAN be done!

Avoid using these negative words with others and ESPECIALLY yourself!

1. No: 

Instead of finding what you can’t do, it’s important for you to see the opportunity that is hiding in any challenge. If your instructor asked if you can kick “head high,” telling him or her “no” immediately makes your brain “give up”. If you answered “I’ll try,” your brain will give you the power to try!

2. Can’t: 

Winning Black Bets know that ANY limitation is temporary! If you “can’t” do something today, say a form, a kick, or 100 push ups, what if you practiced for a month? Instead of telling yourself you “can’t,” ask yourself “How can I?” This will put your brain to work figuring out how you can accomplish your goal!

3. Never: 

The best Black Belts know that with time, patience, and focus all things are possible! Of course there are physical limits of what a human can do, BUT, if you see another person who has accomplished something, that means that YOU CAN TOO!

4. Maybe: 

Maybe is what people say when they have no intention of accomplishing something, but don’t want to tell you directly! It’s a “cop out.” Don’t allow yourself to make this “excuse” to others, and especially to yourself!



(Original post courtesy of NAPMA)