Newsletter 31

Newsletter 31

Hello all and welcome. The world as we know it has changed and most of us are living in a state of emergency. At times like this everyone must come together and help where ever they can. In many cases that means social distancing, self isolation or staying in quarantine and in so doing you may save a life. There are many people who are called to action, the front line workers, they are the hero’s and heroines of this global pandemic. Thank you – to all of you front line workers – you are all awesome.

1. Reading books to your children at this time of social distancing and self isolation is very important. If you want to know how it’s done or pass the job on to others, check out actor Chris O’Dowd reading Arnie the Doughnut, a fun kids book. You can also have a look at me reading my book, Samba on a Snowy Day. 

2. I love sailing and sometimes I check out youtube for information on sailing around the world, a dream of mine, something at the bottom of the bucket list. In one of the videos, I watched as the vessel sailed into the Chagos Archipelago, a group of islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The skipper provided a little history on the island chain and a recommendation to watch the educational documentary, “Stealing A Nation” (John Pilger, 2004). I highly recommend the documentary.

For anyone interested in home schooling, some specials by my favourite documentary movie theatre, Hot Docs. Some wonderful children’s documentary’s  a dynamic lineup of free films to help inform, engage and soothe the anxieties of the present moment. Curated by the popular “Docs for Schools” program, these family-friendly, education picks cover multiple subject areas and age levels.

3. Some great musicians passed away this week. Kenny Rogers (1938 – 2020) left us at the age of 81, he was an award winning pop/country music singer, songwriter, musician and actor. I liked some of his songs, especially The Gambler. Rest In Peace Kenny Rogers. Also late this week, Manu Dibango (1933-2020), Afro-funk saxophonist based in France, a victim of Covid-19 – age 86. RIP Manu. One of my favourite percussionist’s, Ray Mantilla passed on March 21, he was 86, read what my friends at Latin Jazz Network had to say about Ray’s accomplishments. 

There are lots of free concerts available from artists self isolating, I particularly like following Chick Corea as he practices or workshops during his self-isolation.

4. Let’s face it, most kids want to be active. For the younger ones try to set up some fun scavenger hunts. There are lots of ideas online for indoor and outdoor treasure hunts. If your kids are into martial arts make sure they practice. No excuses – many great martial arts teachers are offering free classes online, including my friend and teacher Scott Langley sensei. This is especially for my students, continuing to learn Heian Shodan, there are many free videos here, phenomenal karate value. And for some cool agility ladder drills, check out Seamus O’Dowd sensei. 

5. “But people of the deepest understanding look within, distracted by nothing. Since a clear mind is the Budha, they attain the understanding of a Budha without using the mind.” — Bodhidharma


Courtesy Asian Art Museum

Stay safe, stay well, stay home if you can and stay strong. Don’t take chances with your health or the health of loved ones. Remember to stay connected through social media, telephone folks, face time, be with the ones you love but can’t be with. Write letters, find pen and paper and try some old fashioned style of communication. We will get through this together. 

Love and Light

Thanks for reading, if you think someone you know would like my newsletter please share it with them. If you’re looking for a great children’s book, Samba on a Snowy Day is available at Check out my blog, follow the link, sign in. Get the weekly newsletter in your inbox, no spam I promise.

Copyright © 2020 Paul Yanuziello, All rights reserved.

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Newsletter 27

Newsletter 27

Hello and welcome, in this weeks newsletter I think about my time training in Florida. It was just around this time, when a break from winters grip was most welcoming. I contemplate this while digging out from another massive snowstorm. My promotion for Samba on a Snowy Day is still happening, get your free e-book for a limited time (see point no.3 in the newsletter). I took in the hit show “Come From Away” and I let you know about a few other points of interest that you may find interesting too.

1. SMK– Sunday Morning Keiko, or as I like to call it my non-organization, it’s very dear to my heart. SMK is a non-exclusive karate/budo community advancing a spiritual as well as physical approach to the study of karate/budo. Two of my favourite karate masters, Rick Hotton and Scott Langley will be leading seminars at the SMK 5th Annual Winter Keiko in Sarasota, Florida.

I’ll be missing it, again, I work weekends now. I attended the 3rd one though, way back in 2018. It changed my life, or at least confirmed my life changing decision. You can read my thoughts on that 2018 Winter Keiko entitled, A letter Home.
I spent the previous winter 2017 in Sarasota, that was one of the best times I’ve had in Florida. I stayed a month and I got to train with the SMK folks every Sunday, Sarasota became like home.

2. Winter won’t go away!

Another major snowfall, looks pretty, even magical but I would rather be in Costa Rica.

I stayed in Tamarindo, Costa Rica for two months in 2017, I did lots of writing and reading. Books I like reading when near the ocean, are books about the ocean. A local used book store in Tamarindo had a few of Clive Cussler thrillers.  Cussler studied the oceans and then wrote fantastic stories.
RIP Clive Cussler (1931 – 2020)

3. I have a confirmation on a book reading engagement. One of the schools I teach karate at wants me to read my book to their students. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes. I am really looking forward to entertaining the children with my story.
As mentioned in a previous newsletter I have joined a group of bestselling authors and we are gifting our E-Books, yes, for free. Check the link, Children’s Book Give Away

And if you feel inclined afterward, please leave a review! on o r

4. And I received more good news this week. A notification from Library and Archives Canada that Samba on a Snowy Day, softcover and hardcover books are now registered and archived.
Samba on a Snowy Day may be coming to a library near you. I have submitted the details to the powers that be and I’m feeling confident my book will make it on to the shelves.

5. This week I finally got around to seeing the hit show “Come From Away” at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto. Come from Away is a Canadian musical with book, music and lyrics by Irene Sankoff and David Hein. It is set in the week following the 9 / 11 attacks in the USA. A fantastic show about a community coming together to help others in the spirit of true selflessness.

Thanks for reading. If you like what you’ve read forward this to someone you think will enjoy it. Remember to check out my book, Samba on a Snowy Day available at your favourite book store. A fun children’s book for children to read to adults or the other way around. Check out my blog, follow the link, sign in. Get the weekly newsletter in your inbox, no spam I promise.

Copyright © 2020 Paul Yanuziello, All rights reserved.

Please subscribe to my newsletter below. Just enter your email address and you're in! Join 2500+ other subscribers who get my news, my writing, and interesting links delivered to their inboxes every Friday:


Children Children Activities Coaching Reading

Discipline, Martial Arts, Karate

Active children - karate fun

Martial Arts Discipline

Old school martial arts training, is all about discipline, repetition and listening to commands and doing what you’re told. And did I say, repetition? Doing it repeatedly until it looks perfect. When I started as an assistant children’s karate teacher, I remember my first instructor session vividly.

I watched the chief instructor gather the children in rows in front of him; The kids were sitting down, listening intently, while sensei explained the rules of the school. Sensei was on his knees, in seiza and beside him was a shinai, the kendo weapon, a bamboo sword. The last statement of his speech really sticks with me, “Your parents have signed a form that says I can hit you if you don’t do what I tell you to do.” he then picked up the shinai and hit it into his hand three times. As I looked out at the children, I saw faces of fear. I felt sure they would remember this speech for a long time.

When I taught some classes myself, if ever there were issues with children not listening or getting too wild, I would just have to mention sensei’s name and everything was calm and under control once again. If that didn’t work asking them to go visit sensei in his office would surly do the trick.

Parents have different reasons for sending children to martial arts training and one of them is definitely about discipline. It leaves the level of discipline up to the head instructor. The old school style was martial discipline. Or at least putting the fear of being physically punished into the children so they would do what we commanded.

Many years passed, and I followed the same method of teaching, repetition and rigid discipline. When I had my dojo, I refused to teach children. For me martial arts is a way of life, a serious endeavour and I did not want to force or coarse children into training.

A few years ago I worked for a local community centre and taught children karate. The facility required that I take a course on teaching children, created by the parks and recreation department of Toronto. With an open mind, I took up for the challenge and registered for the course. Principles of Healthy Child Development, also known as High Five, based on five principles that children require for healthy development in recreational activities. Those principles are; A caring adult, play, friends, inclusion and mastery.

Now applying what I had learnt in that course to karate was a challenge for me.  Learning karate is all about learning new skills and mastering them so the mastery part was easy. The caring adult was possible as I really have high hopes for children taking part in martial arts and I will support them completely. Making friends and inclusion are all things that could easily be added to the karate program. The main challenge for me was the play part. How do you make karate about play and fun? I spoke to  professional martial artist, friend and karate master, Scott Langley, author of best-selling books on karate life, Karate Stupid, Karate Clever and Shu-Ha-Ri. He provided me with some great tips that I have incorporated into my style of teaching children.

Creating teams and setting up team challenges that may or may not be karate inspired are one thing that Scott shared with me. Another idea he shared and that I use consistently is teaching two or three techniques in a class. I have found other reference material to add to my teaching, and I have asked other karate teachers to share activities they incorporate in their children’s classes. Ideas like, Samurai’s and Ninjas, or here, there and everywhere and the always popular, team relay races. I have a list of approximately fifty different activities to choose from, some work and some don’t. The key is to keep it flowing and to keep it fun. 

Most parents who witness my karate classes get what I’m doing. They understand that children require play, that is a kids number one job. To play and to have fun. I am happy that I have retention in my classes, the same students are coming back session after session. My hope is that karate will be something they can do for life. Karate – the path to a way of life that is rewarding and fulfilling. And fun.

Copyright © 2019 Paul Yanuziello, All rights reserved.