The number one most important thing for a child to learn in my dojo is focus. And the best way to grab a child’s focus is to stare them in the eye.

This not only allows you to keep their attention, but they begin learning at this young age how to look into someone else’s eye. This simple skill is one of the greatest they’ll ever acquire. I can remember learning at the age of four how to shake a hand and look someone in the eye from my grandfather, a six-foot-six two star rear admiral. He was teaching me lessons that I would use for the rest of my life.

Here you see me holding a three-year-old’s eye. It may appear as if he’s being scolded, but he’s not. He is learning to see me, and beginning to learn how to learn from an elder. He is still and he is focused.

He is too young to know why he is looking me in the eye, but he knows that he is interested in me for some reason. At Urban Kempo, this is where the learning, development and progress begins. Without this connection, I’ll assert with honesty, not much can be accomplished.

These moments occur in the semi-private setting, and this picture portrays the two primary differences between Urban Kempo and its alternatives–the semi-private lesson, and of course, me!

In all seriousness, this is an important moment that could change the trajectory of this child’s life in extraordinary ways. Thank you mom (who shall remain anonymous) for capturing this moment with your iPhone!

Best,

Sensei

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