Movement, mindfullness through meditation taught to kids in martial arts program

Friday, March 6, 2015
Kids get lesson in meditation through martial arts training
One local black belt expert is teaching his students to meditate to achieve the full understanding of martial arts.

VALENCIA, Calif. (KABC) -- At Ekata Training Center in Valencia, a massive mural of martial artist Bruce Lee reinforces the power of marital arts.

Ironically, the main theme taught here is peace.

"If you look at the warrior perspective of the Samurai, it was to maintain the sense of peacefulness in the eye of the storm," said owner Ed Monaghan.

Multi-black belt instructor Monaghan doesn't allow TV or magazines while at the gym, and adds meditation as a requirement in his classes, especially for kids.

"The idea is no TVs, it's meant to be something where you're really in your body, fully present, as your performing the activities, said Monaghan.

The kids spend 10 minutes meditating, then onto fitness.

Some consider meditation "new age" and yet it's very "old school," and these kids are learning the lesson of their life. Something they take well beyond this classroom.

"We teach them this principle of mindfulness and being fully present and aware in the moment, but at the same time in a non-judgmental sense," said Monaghan.

The children embrace it.

"It makes me feel calm," said 7-year-old Christopher Thompson.

"It helps you defend yourself and makes you feel safe," said 13-year-old Ronnie Jones.

After five years training, Ronnie's mom loves the changes in her daughter.

"She said to me the other day, she said, 'You know what mom, I look around at what's going on and I'm really glad I've made a decision to kind of slow down and think about what I'm doing rather than just overreact to everything,'" said Candas Jones.

Four years ago John Locke was 20 pounds heavier and diabetic.

"Before I was actually maxed out on oral medications, I was about to go on insulin," said Locke.

Meditation helps him at work too.

"I work for a global company, so on a daily basis I speak to people in seven different time zones. When I meditate I feel about three layers of tension release," said Locke.

Monaghan said with 50,000 thoughts running through the human brain daily, meditation helps no matter what your age.

"We know that increasing immune function through the reduction of stress is extraordinarily important," said Monaghan.