Sensei Mamma-Wu and the Dojo

My son loves ninjas. All dang day long it is ninja this and ninja that. We have an arsenal of shurikens, nunchucks, katanas, sai….

Truthfully, he is probably a bit ADHD. Well, ok. Maybe a LOT ADHD. He comes by it honestly, though. So I thought I would teach him some meditation to help focus his mind.

Ninjas meditate. In their dojos. I will be Sensei Mamma-Wu!

Interestingly, I undertook this task without ever having done a single lick of meditation myself. But hey, I’ve seen it in movies, right? So how hard can it be to teach a five year old kid with ADHD? You just sit crossed legged in the floor with your eyes closed and clear your mind…

Except that I don’t clear my mind. Ever. A common quote from residency was, “Nature abhors a vacuum.” Bad things fill those empty spaces. Fill them up with things of your own choosing so the negative never has a chance. So I do.

Our first few attempts went ok. 60 seconds, that was my starting point with him. It was the novelty of it being part of his ninja training that drew him in.

Novelty did not last long, however. Before I destroyed it for him, I stopped pushing it.

Back to the drawing board. I decided maybe I needed to focus on myself for a bit before I attempted trying to help him. The whole trying to pick a speck out of your neighbor’s eye when there is a plank in your own, thing. Ah, parenting!

I downloaded an app, don’t laugh, and have been using that for a couple of weeks. I look forward to it, which surprises me. My biggest problem is finding my brain chasing after post topics and resisting the urge to hit pause while I jot down notes.

Next up? Trying the app with the kiddo! The Dojo is BACK!


68 thoughts on “Sensei Mamma-Wu and the Dojo

  1. Gwahahaha! So, so funny… and relatable! I do not meditate Eastern style… My form of meditation is thinking deeply on past events, relating them to present events or ideas, and working out the best way to go forward. Works like a charm. And yes. Bad things fill empty spaces!

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  2. Just finding the time to sit is difficult. I have a couple of images I use: a mountain meadow, Ward Lake in Alaska, St. David’s in Wales. When I drift off, I bring back one of those images. I love how I feel after sitting. Of course, it helps to empty your mind if there isn’t much in it in the first place.

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  3. My parents had that problem with my sister πŸ˜€ excactly the same one! Dad then found a karate-club for kids and they obviously started and ended every training with meditation. In between they did really exhausting stuff, so when my sister was back home she’d just fall asleep. After some weeks she started to calm down at home and I was super-thankful that this worked out because we shared a room hahaha

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  4. (You must imagine a very wise, very old, Chinese accent.) Ahh Grasshopper! One must always remember to never meditate before supper. To empty mind, on an empty stomach, is too much emptiness. You risk implosion, one little poof, and no more Doctor. (Sorry, it must have been all that talk about empty spaces, it chased all the sensibility from within my brain.)

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      • Shoot, that’s nothing. Some meditators go much longer than that. I think Buddhist monks spend about half their waking hours at formal meditation. There’s a form of mindfulness called “Every-minute meditation.” It’s an informal style of meditation that I’ve practiced for over 20 years. You try to remain aware of what’s going on in your mind, and all around you, every minute of the day. Of course your mind wanders. Mine wanders like a monkey. But every time I catch it wandering, I just bring it back to present awareness.

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  5. My fifteen minute nap at lunch is the closest I get to meditation. When I make the conscious effort to meditate my mind either fills with words or I fall asleep…I have no in between. I hope it works for your mommy dojo. πŸ™‚

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  6. I tried to teach my 8-year old daughter a simple breath meditation to practice while lying in bed in the evening. It’s supposed to help her fall asleep. What a cacophony inside her head! It hasn’t taken root yet. I’ll keep badgering her. Because that’s sure to make her appreciate it, right?

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  7. I don’t know whether all that meditation and yoga gurus all started out with racing thoughts unable to sit still and just be but meditation in the traditional sense simply is not me. I need something more active. I need to be looking at something and then I can focus on that and before I know it I’m very mellow and relaxed. I find looking at the water either still or surf is fabulous for a meditation drop out like myself. I also do a lot of photography and that focuses your mind as well. I also play violin. That’s actually excellent because you are closing your body and the bowing movement is similar to Tai chi. You’ve read my about to know I have a swag of medical issues and I would seriously recommend violin or at least an instrument. My son quite likes the jimbay (please excuse phonetic spelling). drums.
    The other thing to do is seriously look at diet. Both my kids react to colours badly. It’s late at night and I’m tired and can’t think of all the right terms but fruits can also set kids off as well. The Mum who runs our local fruit shop was having a lot of trouble with her daughter and she was trying to sell everyone a bag of grapes as they passed through the check out so I asked her if her daughter was eating lots of grapes…bingo!!
    The book is called Fed Up and it’s by Sue Dengate and here’s her web page:
    I’ve always been quite sceptical about the whole diet thing but not long after I attended a seminar about the book, I was eating freckles (sprinkles on chocolate) and I started fidgeting like crazy. The colours affected me.
    That;s right it was the salicylates in the grapes which caused the reaction.
    Anyway, the diet side of things is just a thought.
    xx Rowena

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  9. Hilarious! And good luck. I second the karate idea. But you have to find the right sensei, which can be difficult. Obviously, recommendations help, but look for a non-contact dojo. That means that locks are practiced with full contact but not strikes. There are a lot of lousy dojos where full contact is permitted. Those that teach good technique regularly put their white and yellow belts in the hospital. Those who teach bad technique do no harm in the dojo but give their karetkas a false sense of security. One thing to look for is a spiritual sensei who thinks of katas as moving meditation. I was very lucky to find the right dojo :). It’s awesome for hyperactive kids and adults. I recommend a dojo where you can both go together. Again. Good luck. And feel free to ask questions as you search, either on my website ( or on Facebook at David Goorevitch.


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