March 18 -24, 2012: Issue 50




Copyright Hoshin Australia, 2012. All Rights Reserved. Images Copyright Kellie LaFranchi, 2012. All Rights Reserved.

by Hoshin Australia.

Something strange is happening in homes with teenagers across the Pittwater area. Social media like FaceBook, Twitter, Tumblr and more are being voluntarily switched off and left off ......for SIX WEEKS! 

Mobile phones are being switched off and handed to parents at 8pm nightly and not given back until 7am the next morning! 

Junk food has been deleted from teenage diets, video games packed away, popular music switched off, violent action movies avoided and bad language shut down until the 27th of April!

No, Aliens have not abducted our teenage children; students from Hoshin Jutsu Australia are participating in the 2012 Red Belt Challenge!

The Red Belt Challenge, now in its 16th Year, is participated in by Dojos (Martial arts schools) all over the world. It was started back in 1996 as a way of assisting at-risk teenagers of giving up anti social behaviours. Now it is used as a very effective tool for teaching mindfulness.

Instead of looking at all the rules imposed by the challenge as "restrictions for six weeks", students are asked to think about each rule as an opportunity to remind themselves "ah, yes, I am working on improving myself through participation in the challenge" - essentially learning to become mindful of what and why they are doing a particular action and what the triggers are around certain behaviours they are currently modifying or controlling.

During the challenge, participants also choose two areas of their life they would like to improve. This could be as simple as improving at maths or school work, or learning not to fight with a sibling, or being more helpful around the house for Mum and Dad.

Students train twice a week as part of their commitment and journal their experiences as a way of being able to look back on their challenge and see how their thinking, feeling and behaviour has changed.

There is no failure of the challenge, if students do not adhere to the rules, the entire dojo simply gets "punished" (2k run, 100 pushups, horse stance for 30 minutes.... the instructors can be very inventive) and the challenge is  lengthened for another week for each serious transgression. Serious infractions mean that ALL the dojos participating do a "punishment" in solidarity. This keeps the different martial arts schools very alert, as nobody wants to be the Dojo to inflict a 5k run on everyone else!

As a group the dojo works together to ensure that everyone is successful and almost all students are open and forthcoming about their hits and misses when the group sits together once a week to discuss how their part in the challenge is going.

It is not too late to join the challenge and Hoshin Australia invites other Dojos to feel free to join in. It costs absolutely nothing.

Adults and teenagers who would like to improve an area of their lives are also welcome to come and join the Avalon dojo while the challenge is on, and learn some valuable self defence skills while they work on their personal goals... and one great side effect of the Red Belt Challenge is everyone always gets fit and loses some weight!!!

If you would like to know more about the Red Belt Challenge, visit or contact us through our website for more information.