self control

The 5 School Principles

Martial arts training is much more than the fighting techniques practiced on the mat. In an authentic martial arts curriculum, the students are developing themselves both on and off the mat. Below you will find five principles described in the FILKENJUTSU manual that we want our students at Progressive Martial Arts Academy to take to heart. 

We are not entirely sure where these began but suspect the origin is in Okinawa and they have been passed down from teacher to student over the years. 

Check out this 1971 "GI Joe Adventure Team Karate Manual" below that lists the "5 main rules of a karate student." The text for this manual was prepared by George Pesare, one of my father's teachers!


Practitioners of FILKENJUTSU should strive to work as hard as possible - not just some days, but throughout life.

Remember that consistency beats natural talent, so dedicate yourself to the art and show up repeatedly. You'll look back ten years from now and have acquired an incredible skillset due to your effort.


Train for real! If you train just for rank, you will never truly learn the art and philosophy of FILKENJUTSU.

Honestly give your best every class. Be honest first and foremost with yourself. Martial arts is about self-discovery. Then take this honesty into all aspects of your life. 


Be honest and forthright - both in your training and to all with whom you com in contact. 

Develop character through your disciplined training. Show up to class day after day and perfect your technique - this builds the confidence needed to handle potentially threatening situations. You cannot imagine the inner strength and peace that you will gain from this trust in your technique. This confidence is one of the clearest examples of how something you do on the mat will affect your life off of the mat.


We help our fellow students learn. There is no pride in defeating your fellow student in the dojo - remember, we train for defense outside the dojo. Salute your partner before and after they help you in class.

A good martial arts class always begins and ends with etiquette. 

Perfect your character by treating others the way you would want to be treated. That is the true meaning of respect. Treat all you come into contact with this way - your training partners, your loved ones, complete strangers, law enforcement officers, and even rude individuals!


The fist is like a treasure in the pocket. A kind demeanor can stop most conflicts. Don't take the initiative to start an argument or a fight. 

Self-control means controlling your actions, despite your emotions. Demonstrate self-control in all aspects of your life, so that you have strengthened that muscle for the most difficult situations.

Fitting Down the Chimney Is Overrated Anyway

In the midst of the holidays, temptation is everywhere.  Decadent desserts like pumpkin or pecan pies, fruit cake (yuck), king cake, and cookies of every kind.  Holiday treats like figgy pudding (again, yuck), candy canes, and hot wassail.  Traditional favorites such as honey ham, bread everyway it can be kneaded, baked, and buttered, and potatoes – mashed, baked, fried, au gratin, julienne, sweet, and boiled.  Stockings full of candies and chocolates.   Mugs overflowing with hot cocoa and marshmallows (why have one without the other).  Frosty glasses of holiday punch.  Like I said, temptation is everywhere.

So what can be done this holiday season to avoid the scrumptious delicacies peeking out from every store window and hiding in every relative’s kitchen corner?

The answer is simple (at least to me).  Nothing.

You don’t need to go back and re-read that last line.  You read it right the first time.  I don’t want you to avoid the delicious and decidedly un-nutritious holiday treats we all love so much (because where’s the fun in that).  Instead, I want you to enjoy those holiday treats…I just want you to be smart about it.

Don’t worry; this isn’t a trick.  I’m serious.  Like many of you, I’m only human, and I enjoy every chestnut and cherry cordial I pop in my mouth between Black Friday and New Years.  I have no intention of giving up the satisfying warmth of a peppermint mocha on a cold day to spare a few pounds in the long run.

I am more than a number on a scale.  I am a daughter who loves baking and eating Christmas cookies with my family – hands covered in powder, hearts full of love.  I am a friend who enjoys nothing more than a marshmallow eating contest at a holiday party – cheeks full to bursting with puffs of pure sugar.

I am more than a size on a pair of jeans.  I am a memory maker, and I am going to enjoy every minute of this life that I live even if it means wearing my stretchy pants from Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day.

That being said, I want to share with you three tricks of the trade to help slow the gaining of those very thoughtful holiday pounds that keep us warm every winter.  They’re easy and painless, I promise.  Are you ready?

1. Have a little self-control.

Do not refrain from eating a piece of fully loaded pecan pie complete with ice cream and whipped cream.  Instead, refrain from eating the entire pie.

Enjoy, thoroughly, one large piece with all of the fixings, but don’t go back for seconds…or thirds…or fifths.  You can still enjoy all of your favorite foods while making good (or at least good-ish) choices.

2. Eat until you’re sluggish, but don’t actually be sluggish.

Get up and get going.  Don’t neglect your physical fitness during the holidays.  Spend at least fifteen minutes a day getting your heart rate up.

This isn’t as hard as you might think.  With all that time spent with family, get them up and moving with you.  Go outside (in a coat) and throw a football around with your brother.  Give a piggyback ride to your niece or crawl around the floor with your newest nephew.

This next one is my favorite.

3. Don’t drink your calories.

I’m not telling you to cut back on your holiday beverage of choice (remember, I’m a peppermint mocha kind of girl).  I’m simply suggesting that you limit yourself to one cup of Irish Cream at the party.  Try replacing soft drinks with water.  Use fresh juice in your holiday punch.  Make your cocoa with skim milk.

We can easily cut out a few calories and a few buckets of sugar by changing what we drink this holiday season.

This year, as you sit down with friends and family, in your extra stretchy yoga pants, to stuff your face with your favorite Christmas goodies, remember these simple tips.  Enjoy!