Questions and Comments

 

For all student: I highly recommend that you purchase the book “Black Belt Test Guide”, which can be purchased at the dojo or on-line at: Uechi-ryu Store

 

3 Responses to Blog

  • George says:

    Uechi Ryu Information

    The following will cover Uechi-Ryu as understood at Tiger Martial Arts, from history and lineage to forms and
    kata, all technique practiced, including conditioning and exercises, kumite and bunkai, as well as common
    terminology and basic info. Should you have any further questions, seek the guidance of your Sensei.

    Dojo Etiquette
    A Dojo, literally meaning “Way Place”, is the place where one trains and, as such, a student is expected to pay
    the proper respect to it, and their teacher while on the mat.
    · Bowing is done from the waist with your hands by your side. Bowing is a sign of respect, a greeting and
    an acknowledgement. We believe it is also a promise to do your best in whatever you are about to do. When
    bowing with a class, for an exercise, in a greeting or for kata, eyes are cast downward.
    When bowing to a partner for kumite exercise or sparring eyes are on your partner. It is a fighting gesture, as
    you can never assume you know what is about to happen.
    · Bowing onto and off of the dojo floor is always done facing the pictures of the founders at the head of
    the dojo. When entering the dojo to train please make sure your uniform and feet are clean. You always want
    to make sure that you have your finger and toe nails clipped short so you do not scratch your partners.
    Jewelry is not allowed to be worn during class – make sure it is put away safely or left at home. You may wear
    a white t-shirt under your uniform.
    Always tie your belt facing away from the front of the dojo, or facing away from your sensei.

    WHAT IS KARATE?
    Karate is the martial art native to the island of Okinawa. A great deal of trade was done between Okinawa and
    China, including knowledge of various Kung Fu systems, parts of which were eventually combined with the
    native Okinawan martial art at the time, simply called Te (“Hand”), to make what we now know as Karate.
    · FACT – The island known as Okinawa, as well as islands around it, used to be called the Ryukyu
    Kingdom, until the 1800’s when Japan made it officially part of the nation.
    · FACT – The capitol of Okinawa is Naha city.
    Karate is a word that means “Empty Hand”, referring to an unarmed form of self-defense. Karate-Do means
    “The way of the empty hand”, referring to Karate as a way of life. Indeed, the martial arts are known for
    instilling many virtues in its practitioners. These include Awareness, calmness, mental stamina, physical
    strength, and of course confidence.
    Karate was first introduced and taught outside of China by an Okinawan man named Gichin Funakoshi who,
    like our founder Kanbun, also went to China, learned a system of Chinese boxing, and taught it to his people.
    His style of Karate is called Shotokan, and is one of the main systems of Karate today.
    · FACT – Before the nineteenth century, the written character for Karate, while still written the same way,
    was pronounced as Kodite, meaning Chinese Hand. It wasn’t until Japan made Okinawa a part of the nation
    that the pronunciation changed to Karate, and the meaning changed to Empty Hand.

    WHAT IS UECHI-RYU?
    Uechi-Ryu Karate is a classical Okinawan adapted system of Chinese boxing, or Kung-Fu. It was originally
    taught as Pangainoon, meaning “Half hard and half soft”, the idea being to have a hard exterior that can take
    a blow and have strong defense, while at the same time having a soft interior that can move and breathe and
    is still flexible. This is a defining characteristic of Uechi-Ryu, something it still stands for today.

    Our founder Kanbun Uechi (1877 – 1948) Kanbun’s teacher Shushiwa (1874 – 1926)

    Our founder Kanbun Uechi learned Pangainoon from a Chinese man named Zhou Zi He, or Shushiwa. Before
    teaching Pangainoon, Shushiwa is believed to have studied the styles, Shaolin fist, Iron palm, and Tiger
    fist. Pangainoon is believed to be a combination of these styles.
    · FACT – Kanbun studied briefly at a karate school in a migrant Okinawan community in Fuchou, but a
    senior ranking student eventually drove him to leave by making fun of him for having a speech impediment.
    Soon after, he met Shushiwa.
    An account of Kanbun’s acceptance into Shushiwa’s school, as told by Seiko Toyama and Kanei Uechi is as
    follows. One day, Shushiwa was stricken with a massive headache. His alarmed students called upon Kanbun
    to use his knowledge of medicine to alleviate Shushiwa’s suffering, which he did, using herbal mixtures. After
    which, Kanbun was accepted into Shushiwa’s school in a secret ceremony called Pai Soo.
    After Kanbun learned Pangainoon, he brought it to Japan, and eventually back to Okinawa and taught it to his
    countrymen, more or less as he had been taught himself. Before he died, his students would re-name the style
    from, then Pangainoon-Ryu, to Uechi-Ryu in his honor, as well as naming Kanbun as grandmaster.
    · FACT – Kanbun’s favorite pastimes were cockfighting (A game that pits two roosters against each other
    in a fight to the death while spectators bet on which will win), and playing a stringed Japanese instrument
    called the Samisen.
    · FACT – Kanbun’s favorite saying is “All is in Sanchin”, referring to his belief that everything one needs
    for self deffense lies in Sanchin kata.
    Uechi-Ryu is based on the movements of three animals, the tiger, the dragon, and the crane. From the
    tiger, we find strength, ferocity, and determination. From the dragon, we find speed, flexibility, and breathing.
    From the crane, we find balance, and our classic circular blocking motions. There are also particular strikes
    and techniques that come directly from the movements of a given animal. For example, the Kanushiken is also
    known as the crane beak strike, and the Hiraken Fist is also known as the tiger paw.
    · NOTE – Removed from the style are the snake and the panther. These were removed because the
    techniques they brought to the style were so dangerous that many students were getting maimed from
    practicing them.

    Notable Students of Kanbun Uechi
    · Ryuyu Tomoyose, the man responsible for persuading Kanbun to continue teaching. His son, Ryuko
    Tomoyose would study Karate under Kanbun’s son Kanei.
    · Seiryo Shinjo, a man who joined Kanbun’s dojo in Wakayama, Japan, shortly after it opened. All of
    Seiryo’s sons and grandsons would continue studying Uechi-Ryu after him. The current generations of Shinjo
    men are some of the leading authorities on Uechi-Ryu today.
    · Seiko Toyama, who moved with his family to Wakayama, Japan, at the age of 5. His father was so
    impressed with Uechi-Ryu, after seeing a demonstration at Kanbun’s dojo, that he put Seiko’s Karate training
    in Kanbun’s hands immediately.

    Words you will hear around the dojo

    Counting in Japanese: #1 – Ichi, #2 – Ni, #3 – San, #4 – Shi, #5 – Go, #6 – Roku, #7 – Shichi, #8 – Hachi,
    #9 – Kyu, #10 – Ju
    Common Terms
    · Dojo – Name for the training hall one studies in, literally means “Way place”
    · Gi – Training uniform Obi – Belt
    · Shomen – Front · Ushiro – Back
    · Yoko – Side Tsuki – Strike
    · Uchi – Strike
    · Geri – Kick – when paired with a directional, i.e. Shomen Geri (Front Kick), Yoko Geri (Side Kick).
    · Karate – “Empty Hand”, referring to a weaponless form of fighting
    · Karate-Do – The way of the empty hand
    · Karate-Ka – A dedicated karate practitioner or student, one who is committed to practicing.
    · Kyu – Beginner, referring to rank Dan – Advanced, referring to rank
    · Ryu – Style
    · Uechi-Ryu – Uechi style karate, a classical Okinawan adapted form of Chinese boxing
    · Pangainoon – The original Chinese name for the style of Karate we study,
    literally meaning “half hard and half soft”.
    · Kiotsuke – Attention · Rei – Bow
    · Yooi – Ready · Kamaete – Post position
    · Hajime – Begin · Yame – Stop
    · Ganbarimasu – To do ones best · Migi ashimae – Right foot forward
    · Hidari ashimae – Left foot forward · Yudansha – A person of black belt rank
    · Mudansha – A person currently below black belt rank
    · Ki – spirit, spirit energy · Kiai – spirit shout, often done on strikes
    · Domo arigato – Thank you · Domo Arigato gozaimas – Formal, more polite thank you
    · Dozo – Please · Do Itasi-Mashita – You’re Welcome
    · Hai – Yes, or acknowledging what one has said
    · Mushin – No-Mindedness, to clear one’s mind of all distractions
    · Min-chin-chu-ryu – A phrase used by Kanbun Uechi to describe Pangainoon,
    meaning “glare in the eyes with fast hands”.
    ·
    Beginning and Secondary Exercises
    Practiced in the beginning of every class is Junbi-Undo. “Junbi” in Japanese means beginning, or preparatory,
    Undo meaning exercise. Junbi-Undo is concerned with loosening the body, and warming it up for practicing
    technique.
    There are ten sets of exercise in Junbi-Undo
    · Heel Pivot Exercise – Ashi Saki o Agero Undo
    · Heel Lift Exercise – Kakato Agero Undo
    · Knee Ankle Rotation Exercise – Ashikubi O Mawasu Undo
    · Knee Circle Exercise – Hizo Mawasu Undo
    · Leg Lift and Turn Exercise – Ashi o Mae Yoko Ni Nobasu Undo
    · Straight Leg Kicking Exercise – Ashi o Mae Uchi Naname No Agero Undo
    · Waist Scooping Exercise – Tai o Mae Ni Taosu Undo
    · Trunk Stretching Exercise – Koshi No Nenten Undo
    · Double Hand Striking Exercise – Ude o Mae Yoko Nobosu Undo
    · Neck Rotation Exercise – Kubi o Mawasu Undo

    Hojo-Undo is secondary exercises and consists of all the actual technique of Uechi. Not all techniques are
    present here, particularly some kicks are left out, but nearly all technique found in the Uechi kata are practiced
    here so it is a good way for one to become familiar with those techniques. Required knowledge for Black Belt
    Rank.
    There are fourteen exercises in Hojo-Undo
    · Side Snap Kick – Sukoto Geri
    · Front Kick – Shomen Geri
    · Roundhouse Punch – Mawashi Tsuki
    · High Block Tiger Fist Punch – Hajiki Uke Hiraken Tsuki
    · Front Punch – Shomen Tsuki
    · Bladed Hand Strike Back fist One Knuckle Punch – Shuto uchi Uraken Shoken Tsuki
    · Elbow Strike – Hiji Tsuki
    · Front Snapping Finger Strike – Shomen Hajiki
    · Up Down Out In Wrist Strike – Koi No Shippo Tate Uchi
    · Side To Side Wrist Strike – Koi No Shippo Yoko Uchi
    · Side Stepping Front Legged Kick – Tenshin Zen Soko Geri
    · Side Stepping Rear Legged Kick – Tenshin Ko Soko Geri
    · Side Stepping One Knuckle Punch – Tenshin Shoken Tsuki
    · Deep Breathing Exercise – Shinko Kyu

    Formally Practiced technique of Uechi-Ryu
    Closed Fist Strikes
    · Proper or Front Punch – Seiken or Shomen Tsuki
    · Four knuckle or “Tiger Fist” Strike – Hiraken Tsuki
    · Hammer fist strike – Tetsui Uchi
    · Back fist strike – Uraken Tsuki
    · One knuckle punch (phoenix eye or tiger tooth)- Shoken Tsuki
    Open Handed Strikes
    · Bladed Hand Strike – Shuto Uchi
    · Thumb Knuckle or Palm Heel Strike – Boshiken
    · Ridge Hand Strike – Haito
    · Cupped Hand Strike – Koken Tsuki
    · Crane Beak Strike – Kanushiken
    · Spear Hand Strike – Nukite
    · Spear handed front punch – Sanchin Strike
    Other Strikes
    · Hiji Tsuki – Elbow Strike
    · Koi no Shippo Uchi – Wrist Strike
    Blocks
    · Snapping Block – Hajiki Uke
    · Low Block – Gedan Barai Uke
    · Circle Block – Hirate Mawashi Uke
    Kicks
    · Front Kick – Shomen Geri
    · Roundhouse Kick – Mawashi Geri
    · Side Snap Kick – Sukoto Geri
    · Side Thrust Kick – Yoko Geri
    · Knee strike – Hiza Geri
    · Back kick – Ushiro Geri
    · Jumping kick – Tobi Geri
    · Toe kick – Suksen Geri
    General Directional References
    · Jodan – High area. example: Jodan Mawashi Geri (High roundhouse kick)
    · Chudan – Middle area. example: Chudan shomen tsuki (mid front punch)
    · Gedan – Low area. example: Gedan suksen geri (low toe kick)

    When Kanbun brought his knowledge of Pangainoon back from China, all he taught were the three original
    forms (Sanchin, Seisan, and Sanseiryu), Kotekitae or body conditioning drills, and Jiyu Kumite or free
    sparring. When a new student joined under Kanbun’s teaching, they would do Sanchin Kata for the first two
    years of training.

    Master Kanei Uechi (1911 – 1991)
    Kanei Uechi, firstborn son of Kanbun Uechi and grandmaster of the style after his father died. Kanei is largely
    responsible for popularizing Uechi-Ryu, and preserving the interest of new students by making it more
    available to a general public, while still preserving the hardness and authenticity of Pangainoon. Kanei is
    responsible for adding 5 new kata to the style, for use as stepping stones between the original 3, and two new
    sets of pre-arranged partner sparring drills, Kyu Kumite (beginner sparring), and Dan Kumite (advanced
    sparring).
    The 5 kata in between the originals are known as “Bridge Kata”. They are Kanshiwa, Kanchu, Seichin, Seiryu,
    and Kanchin. Though Kanei officially added all of them to the style, he actually only designed 3 of them,
    Kanshiwa, Seiryu, and Kanchin. Kanchu kata was designed by Seiki Itokazu, and Seichin kata was designed
    by Saburo Uehara, two senior black belt students of Kanei at the time.

    There are 8 total Kata in Uechi-Ryu
    1 – Sanchin
    · Meaning – Three Conflicts: Mind, Body, and Spirit
    · Origin – The first of the three original forms from Pangainoon, brought back from China by Kanbun
    2 – Kanshiwa
    · Meaning – The combination of two names, Kanbun and Shushiwa
    · Origin – “Bridge” kata, designed by Kanei Uechi. Kata originally called Kanshabu, due to mistranslation
    of Shushiwa’s name, originally thought to be Shashabu
    3 – Kanchu
    · Meaning – The combination of two names, Kanbun and Shushiwa
    · Origin – “Bridge” kata, designed by Seiki Itokazu, a Dan ranking student of Kanei Uechi. Kata is also
    referred to as Dani Seisan, meaning “little Seisan”
    4 – Seichin
    · Meaning – The combination of two names of kata, Sanchin and Seisan
    · Origin – “Bridge” kata, designed by Saburo Uehara, a dan ranking student of Kanei Uechi
    5 – Seisan
    · Meaning – 13 positions of attack and defense
    · Origin – The second of the three original forms from Pangainoon, brought back from China by Kanbun
    6 – Seiryu
    · Meaning – 16 positions of attack and deffense
    · Origin – “Bridge” kata, designed by Kanei Uechi
    7 – Kanchin
    · Meaning – The combination of the name Kanbun, and the name of the kata Sanchin
    · Origin – “Bridge” kata, designed by Kanei Uechi
    8 – Sanseiryu
    · Meaning – 36 positions of attack and deffense
    · Origin – The third of the three original forms from Pangainoon, brought back from China by Kanbun
    Bunkai – application or study of a kata.

    Kumite – “crossing hands”, referring to exchanging attacks and blocks with a partner. ,
    Jiyu-Kumite – free sparring.
    Yakusoku-Kumite – prearranged sets of attacks and defense preformed by two partners.
    Kyu-Kumite – beginner partner sparring, consisting of five sets of prearranged attacks and defense.
    Dan-Kumite, – advanced partner sparring, consisting of six sets of exchanges.
    Kotekitae – refers to body conditioning exercise involving rubbing or pounding arms with a partner. The
    “Kote” in Kotekitae means “forearm” in Japanese. Thus, Kotekitae refers chiefly to arm conditioning. Also
    practiced in Uechi is Ashikitae, “Ashi” meaning foot, in which two partners exchange kicks to toughen the legs
    and feet.
    · FACT – Because of the body conditioning exercises used, Uechi-Ryu is considered a “Hard Style” of
    Karate.

    Ranks of Uechi-Ryu
    The ranking system in Uechi-Ryu serves two main purposes. One, so that students can readily identify a
    practitioners of greater experience, so they know where they might have questions answered, or to seek
    advice, and two, to motivate students to continue their own training, to keep coming back and earn the next
    rank. The color of each belt is also symbolic of the level of experience that practitioner has. As a newcomer,
    ones belt is white. Gradually, it becomes stained by the grass and turns green. With time after, the grass that
    stained it may wear away and the belt will take the color of the dirt below and turn brown. As those stains grow
    darker, it eventually turns black. Then, with time, the layer of fabric that turned black will grow thread-bear and
    start wearing away, and turn white again, to signify a return to the beginning. This is believed to be a reminder
    that we are all students in one way or another.
    While adult ranks are typically the traditional four colors, white, green, brown, and black, children’s ranks are
    known to have many more colors, blue, purple, orange, yellow, red, etc. to provide a broader range of ranks to
    achieve, so motivation is increased.

    Children’s program ranks:
    Beginning – White Belt – 1 yellow stripe, 2 yellow stripes, 3 yellow stripes
    Yellow Belt – 1 orange stripe, 2 orange stripes, 3 orange stripes
    Orange Belt – 1 blue stripe, 2 blue stripes, 3 blue stripes
    Blue Belt – 1 red stripe, 2 red stripes, 3 red stripes
    Red Belt
    Jr. Shodan (Jr. Black Belt)
    Adult Ranks
    Kyu (Beginner) Ranks, arranged in descending order as they are issued
    · 10 – Jukyu – White belt with no stripes
    · 9 – kyukyu – White belt with one green stripe
    · 8 – hachikyu – White belt with two green stripes
    · 7 – sichikyu – White belt with three green stripes
    · 6 – rokkyu – Green Belt
    · 5 – gokyu – Green belt with one brown stripe
    · 4 – yonkyu – Green belt with two brown stripes
    · 3 – sankyu – Brown Belt
    · 2 – nikyu – Brown belt with one black stripe
    · 1 – ikkyu – Brown belt with two black stripes
    Dan (Advanced) ranks, arranged in ascending order as they are issued
    · 1 – Shodan
    · 2 – Nidan
    · 3 – Sandan
    · 4 – Yondan
    · 5 – Godan
    · 6 – Rokudan
    · 7 – Sichidan
    · 8 – Hachidan
    · 9 – Kyudan
    · 10 – Judan

    NOTE – Fourth degree black belt was changed from Shidan to Yondan because “Shi” means “Death” in
    Japanese, so it was changed to avoid it being known as a “Death Rank”.
    NOTE – First degree black belt is called Shodan instead of Ichidan, simply because “Sho” in Japanese means
    “little”, and first degree black belt is largely considered to be only the beginning of one’s journey in the martial
    arts.
    As a black belt, the belt you receive is the belt you will keep regardless of further promotion until you become
    eligible for a teachers title at the rank of 6th degree black belt, or Roku-Dan, at which point one would receive
    a new black belt with one gold bar on the very end. A new bar is added for each new title received. The titles
    are recognized as teacher’s ranks. They have more to do with what you’ve accomplished as a teacher, and
    what you’ve added to the Uechi community.
    Teacher’s titles do not automatically come with a rank. One could be a 6th degree black belt, but hold no
    teachers title. One could also be a 9th degree black belt and only then receive a title. Assuming, however, that
    one earned a teachers title right at Roku-Dan and continued to be awarded a new title with each promotion,
    the order they would be issued in is as follows.
    · Renshi
    · Kyoshi
    · Hanshi
    · Hanshi
    · Hanshi-Sei

    History of Uechi-Ryu, from its creation to being taught at Tiger Martial Arts

    May 5, 1877 – Kanbun Uechi is born in Izumi, a mountain village on the Motobu peninsula of Okinawa. His
    parents are Kantoku and Tsuru, who were farmers of daikon radishes. In his youth, Kanbun would enjoy
    learning the Bo staff, which he taught other youth of the area, and performed demonstrations at holiday
    festivals.
    March 1897 – the Japanese military orders a conscription, or military draft, of the Okinawan people. Kanbun’s
    parents were wealthy enough that they could facilitate his fleeing to China. Kanbun lands in Fuzhou city,
    Fukien province of mainland China, where he meets Shushiwa and begins his study of Pangainoon. He would
    stay at the Ryukyukan Jueneki (Okinawan Fellowship hall) temporarily, while he studied. He arrived not
    knowing a single word of Chinese and had to pass himself off as a Chinese man in order to blend in. He
    accomplished this, as well as learning to speak Chinese.
    1904 – After seven years of study, Kanbun earns his certificate to teach Kempo.
    1907 – Kanbun begins teaching in Nansoe, China
    1910 – In February of this year, a dispute over land irrigation would cause a student of Kanbun to kill his
    attacker with a fatal strike. Due to public scorn, and shame for the attack, Kanbun returns to Okinawa at the
    age of 33.
    May 1910 – Kanbun marries Gozei Toyama.
    June 26, 1911 – Kanei Uechi, Kanbun’s eldest son, is born.
    Soon after, Kanbun would father his first daughter, Tsuru, who would unfortunately die at the age of 3,
    followed by his second daughter Kame, his third daughter, also named Tsuru, and finally his second son
    Kansei.
    While back in Okinawa, Kanbun is constantly pleaded with to teach his Karate, as rumors spread of his
    expertise. He refuses all requests. Once a year, the Motobu police department hosts a festival including
    demonstrations from Karate, Kendo, and Judo. Kanbun attends, and is asked to perform by the mayor himself,
    to which he was finally unable to refuse. Still reluctant to demonstrate, he is playfully pushed on stage, and
    demonstrates Seisan kata, his favorite at the time. He impressed everyone so much that none wished to go on
    stage after him, and the karate portion of the demonstration promptly ended. This is the only time Kanbun
    demonstrated his Karate before travelling to Japan.
    1924 – Kanbun travels to Wakayama, Japan, to work as a janitor in a cotton mill. Here, he meets Ryuyu
    Tomoyose, a co-worker, who tricks him into showing him self-defense techniques, and eventually convinces
    him to teach his Karate. This is the first time Pangainoon is taught outside of China.
    1926 – Kanbun opens his first school, the Shataku Dojo, located in the back of the Wakayama cotton mill in
    Japan.
    1927 – Kanei begins his studies at the Shataku Dojo.
    1932 – In April of this month, Kanbun opens his first official school at Wakayama-shi, Tebira, a migrant
    Okinawan community, and teaches Pangainoon-Ryu.
    1937 – Kanei Uechi earns his certificate to teach Kempo, and would open his first school.
    1939 – Kanei marries Nakahara Shige
    1940 – Pangainoon officially renamed to Uechi-Ryu, and Kanbun at age 63 is named Grandmaster of the style.
    May 10 1941 – Kanmei Uechi, eldest son of Kanei Uechi, is born
    1942 – When his students were called into military service, Kanei Uechi returns to Okinawa, and begins
    teaching Uechi-Ryu in Nago, Okinawa. This is the first time Uechi-Ryu is taught in Okinawa.
    1946 – Kanbun Uechi returns to Okinawa with students Seiryo, and Seiyu Shinjo, leaving his school in the care
    of Ryuyu Tomoyose.
    1948 – November 25th of this year, Kanbun Uechi dies of Nephritis, or inflation of the kidneys.
    1956 – George Mattson begins his study of Uechi-Ryu under Ryuko Tomoyose sensei.
    1957 – Kanei Uechi combines the Futenma dojo and the Kanzatobaru dojo. The new Futenma dojo would be
    open to the public, including American servicemen
    1958 – As a Shodan, George Mattson begins teaching Uechi-Ryu at the YMCA in Boston, Massachusetts. This
    is the first time Uechi-Ryu is taught in America.
    1967 – Kanei Uechi is promoted to Judan
    Feb 24, 1991 – of this year, Master Kanei Uechi dies.

  • George says:

    Focus – One of the most important lessons you can learn:
    FOCUS
    Instructor Handout
    Focus: To pay attention.
    Overview: Focus means to pay attention. The four elements of optimal focus are, “Eyes,
    Ears, Mind and Body”. By definition that means, “Look with your eyes, listen with your
    ears, think with your mind and do the right thing with your body.” Any act or action involves these four elements. For example, when you ride a bike, you have to look where
    you are going, listen for traffic noise, think about balancing, steering and pedaling, and
    make sure your body executes those tasks optimally.
    Focus is the single most important life skill because it is the foundation of other life skills
    such as balance, discipline and control.
    The foundation of focus, first and foremost, begins with good eye contact. Studies have
    proven that if you look with your eyes, you will hear better, understand better and retain
    information longer.
    Instructor: Focus plays a key role in the mindset of a student. Children have a limited attention span. Our goal is to increase their attention span so that they may learn, understand and retain information better. Focus will enhance their learning experience and they
    will be better learners.
    Share with your students that no one is born smart. You become smart by being a good
    learner and the key to being a good learner is great focus. A group of focused students
    makes for a more dynamic and appealing class environment.
    Eye contact is the foundation of focus. Promote this by praising the students who always
    look at you when instructing. For those not looking at you will do so when they hear you
    praising the students who do because everyone likes attention.
    It is always a quick fix for the instructor to say, “Look at me when I am talking.” This
    does not teach a student to focus. You may offer the instruction, “What should you be doing right now?” This simple suggestion gets them to make the good choice to focus and
    look at you. If you always give your students a choice, they will make the right one when
    you praise and encourage them.
    Focus is probably the single most important life skill because it is the foundation of other
    life skills such as balance, discipline and control. Parents will often say my child lacks control or discipline. In truth, the challenge is they may need to develop better focus.
    Encourage your students to always make good eye contact when speaking or being spoken to. Share with them that this act of focus demonstrates respect and good manners.