Character Chats

What is Focus?

What is focus?

Here at True Balance Karate, we have a social emotional learning program called True Character. I’m Master H., Owner and Chief Instructor here at the studio. I have two master’s degrees in education and we’ve developed this program to best meet the needs of our youngest students, who are four, and our oldest student, who is 84.

And this month we are talking about focus. Specifically since we’re introducing the topic, what is focus? Here at the studio, we like to talk about focus from the standpoint of, what does it look like? We’ll have the kids focus their eyes, meaning, where should you be looking? You should be looking at the teacher or you should be looking at the person giving the example, or you should be looking at where you are going.

Laws of Concentration

Focus your eyes. Where should your eyes be looking so that your eyes are paying attention in that space? We’ll also say, “Focus your ears”, meaning, are they open? Can you hear me? Are you talking to your neighbor or are you listening to what the instructor has to say? Then we talk about focus your mind, meaning, is your brain focused? Is your mind on the task at hand? Are you thinking about the fact that we’re doing karate right now and not about the fact that you’re going to have mac and cheese for dinner later? And then we talk about focus your body. Not spinning in circles, doing the skill that we’ve asked you to do, paying attention with your body and not bumping into people around you, that kind of spatial awareness, if you will.

As we’re talking about focus here at the studio, we’re talking about it from the idea of the whole person, your eyes, your ears, your mind, your body so that, that is completely focused, paying attention, being aware of everything going on around you. And having that focus, having that ability to concentrate is what helps us be successful in other areas of our lives.

Why We Need Focus

If you’re a young student learning how to ride your bike and showing that focus and concentration to get there, if you’re starting to learn how to cook, maybe you’re in junior high, beginning of high school, you’re learning how to do those types of things like scrambled eggs or grilled cheese, now you have to be focused and concentrate because now you might burn something. It’s a safety issue, if you will.

As an adult, we’re driving. We’re picking up our own kids. We’re taking our kids other places. We have work responsibilities and projects that are due that way. So we have to show our focus and pay attention to the world around us in that way. And so as we’re going through this month and as we’re talking about focus, I would challenge all of us to take a moment, especially when we’re doing something important, and make sure our eyes are focused on the task at hand. Make sure our ears are open, listening, aware, really paying attention to what’s being said. Make sure our mind is focused and not distracted by other things. Maybe the TV on in the background or a side conversation because we’re trying to multitask. And making sure our body’s focused. For right now, I’m sitting here in front of the computer instead of being on the mat doing karate.

I need to have my body focused, and that means that I’m not going to be twisting and turning and moving a lot, because it would be a distraction for myself as well as all of you watching. Why is she moving so much?

Improving Our Focus

So as we’re talking about focus, we want to make sure that throughout this month we push ourselves to be a little bit better, pay attention a little bit deeper, use our concentration a little bit more so that we can pick up new information and new ideas as we’re going along.

And as we go through the month, we’ll also be talking about it from the idea of what do we do when we’re distracted? We’ll be talking about it from the idea of, what’s the benefits and the consequences of focus, and we’ll be talking about it like, how do we focus in different places and different spaces as we go through the month as well?

So thanks and I’ll see you on the mat!


True Balance Karate was founded in 2012 by Master Sue and Paul Helsdon.

We offer kids karate lessons for pre-school children ages 3-6 and elementary age kids ages 7 and up. These lessons are designed to develop the critical building blocks kids need — specialized for their age group — for school excellence and later success in life.

Our adult martial arts training is a complete adult fitness and conditioning program for adults who want to lose weight, get (and stay) in shape, or learn self-defense in a supportive environment.

Instructors can answer questions or be contacted 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week at 630-663-2000. You can also contact us here