The Ultimate Cure for the Winter Blues

There’s something I do when I’m feeling down that works every time to bring me out of my funk.  It’s a tried and true method that many professionals employ as well with patients in chronic depression.  And I have many friends who can testify to the power of this one simple action to snap them back into a good mood when nothing else will: Helping out others in need.

I know there are certainly loads of people doing hurtful actions every day, but I also feel that at the core, most – and I mean the wide and vast majority of people – want to help others.  I have found that even the most seemingly self-centered person finds that they deeply enjoy making someone else’s life better in a concrete way.  Perhaps this is why Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’”  I don’t think people can be happy for long if they are only looking out for themselves.

This morning, we taught a playshop at my daughter’s school about how to handle it when someone excludes you or hurts your feelings.  One thing we said to them is, “I know most kids do something hurtful every now and then and that no one is perfect. But I also know that each of you in your core is kind and caring.  You don’t really want anyone to feel hurt.” Then we did a series of awesome role plays that helped them learn how to get the things they are wanting without hurting others – even if they feel the other had hurt them first!

I love how quickly and readily kids soak up tools that help them feel powerful, safe and happy without controlling or manipulating others.  Every time we teach a workshop, I get a renewed faith in humanity. Whether it’s a group of kids, teens, or adults, seeing people work on skills to empower themselves always reminds me of the deep goodness that lives inside us.  

We humans are vulnerable, and many people are very scared of that vulnerability.  And I think that is where most negative and harmful action comes from. But when we re-orient and see the vulnerability in others, we let our own guard down too, and we begin to live in a more connected way with those around us.

This week, our theme is Teamwork.  While martial arts can sometimes be a solitary sport where students learn to compete with each other, at Budo Mountain we teach in a very team-oriented way.  Partners learn to challenge each other as a way to help us all be better.  We’ll be weaving this concept into the following techniques this week:

Martial Arts
Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri
Ukemi Koho Ukemi Koho Kaiten
Technique 1 “What Just Happened?” Game(someone does ukemi and others try to guess what the attack was)
Technique 2 Kusari Fundo Blocks and Strikes (BB just do blocks with nothing or with a piece of yarn from after school)
Technique 3 Musha Dori Shadowbox Musha Dori Shadowbox andhigher ranks with partners.
  • Rooftop Jumps Game
  • Sideways break falls
  • Handstands from hoko and ichimonji no kamae
  • Side Kicks
  • Rolling/Dive Rolling over pole – stride across mats – cartwheel
  • Side Roll – Jump over pole – Side Vault
  • Cartwheels
  • Tornado Kicks


Speaking of helping others, we are still accepting nominations for our Scholarship board!  If you have interest in helping choose the scholarship applications for our character-building after school program, please head here to learn more!

Thanks for reading!

See you in the dojo,

~Sensei Nesta

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