Life Skills Programs with Philotimo


Parents often bring children to martial arts in order to change behaviours they are struggling with. It may be standing up to bullies, or being more confident. It may be learning how to stand still and listen, or focus on a task.

The problem for most children is continuing to work on those behaviours away from the dojo. Habits are formed over a lifetime, and cannot be fixed with one hour a week in class. It needs a whole-family approach to help a child who is grappling with re-learning a new skill, or learning a skill for the first time.

As a result our head instructor, Sensei Smith, wrote a series of books focusing on the skills children and families need to have happy, strong and respectful interactions with eachother. Often, it is busy and over-worked parents who need a gentle reminder about how to set boundaries, raise expectations of behaviour, and require participation of their children in chores and living in community with family. Teaching and enforcing consequences both good and bad for children is one of the most loving things parents can do. Sensei calls this “Reality Discipline” and learning consequences for behaviour teaches children healthy emotional, physical and mental resilience, enables delayed gratification (no more tantrums when parents say “no”) and encourages acts of empathy and kindness towards others.

Every term, students work through one of our many programs alongside their normal martial arts skills.

– Manners for the Modern Warrior levels 1 + 2

– Manners for the Modern Warrior High School Edition

– Secret Ninja’s Business ; learning how to be a good friend

– Secret Ninja’s Fitness ; a book on fitness, nutrition, sleep and personal hygiene

– The Modern Warrior’s Anti-Bullying Guide

– The Modern Warrior’s Safety Guide ; a book on child protective behaviours every family should know

– Winning the Homework War ; stopping the fights over homework, chores and time management dramas.

Each week of the term parents and children are expected to read a chapter (only one page long generally) and fill out the worksheet. Worksheets are collected in class and stamped, when completed children receive their medal, patch or certificate depending on the program.