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For a review copy or an author interview,

please contact Ian Hafner (734) 994-0333

Or khafner@provide.net


The Art of Building Rock-Solid Kids.

Karate Master and “Capable Kid Builder” Keith Hafner has written a compelling new book that provides a step-by-step plan helping parents get back to the basics.


Ann Arbor, MI (November 2001) —Here’s a quick quiz for parents. What is the most important resource our nation—indeed, our entire world—possesses? Did you answer energy? Food? Monetary wealth? Healthcare? Schools? Military might? Though all of these are important for any healthy society, the correct answer is much simpler, and it ultimately allows for the existence of everything else on the list. Children are our most precious resource. Now, ask yourself one more question: how are you raising yours?

We all want our children to grow up healthy, happy, and confident. Problem is, there are so many conflicting parenting theories out there that people are more than a little confused. Too many of us effectively throw up our hands and leave the job to schools, psychologists and medication. But Keith Hafner—author of the new book How To Build Rock-Solid Kids: 12 Proven Foundation Stones Every Kid Needs For A Rock-Solid Future—says every parent has what it takes to raise strong, successful children.

“Good parenting requires hard work, love and dedication, but it’s not rocket science,” he asserts. “In fact, it’s brilliantly simple. All you have to do is ignore the trends and get back to the basics. The best child-rearing strategies are universal and timeless. They worked 100 years ago, they’ll work 100 years from now. These strategies are not hypothetical. They are proven. I have used them all my life in my work with kids and have seen wonderful results.”

            Indeed, Hafner has worked with many, many kids. Besides being a father of two himself—not to mention a writer, consultant and lecturer—he is a Karate Master and owner of the #1 ranked martial arts school in the nation. Around 800 students are currently enrolled in Keith Hafner’s Karate, located in Ann Arbor, MI, and some 10,000 have attended the school during the past 22 years.  

            Known by countless pleased parents as “Keith, The Capable Kid Builder,” Hafner has established a curriculum that emphasizes character development as strongly as it does self-defense and physical fitness. It’s the “character” part of his mission that earned him his affectionate nickname—and that sparked the book that’s selling briskly, both inside and outside the Karate world.

How To Build Rock-Solid Kids is not a martial arts book, nor does it require that its readers have any knowledge of or interest in the subject. Rather, it is a guidebook for parents who want to take an active role in raising their children’s self-esteem. It details the twelve skills and values that must be instilled in kids if they are to grow up “rock solid. These 12 Foundation Stones are:

• Physical Fitness

• Self-Control

• Focus

• Respect

• Confidence

• Spiritual Development

• Honesty

• Courage

• Contribution

• Positive Outlook

• Responsibility

• Persistence

(Editor: See tip sheet for more information on the 12 Foundation Stones)

            Besides convincing essays on why each character trait is so critical, Hafner has included a “workbook” section at the end of each chapter. It offers a wealth of tips, tools and weekly exercises parents can use for the most important “construction project” of their lives. You’re encouraged to think deeply about your child’s strengths and weaknesses in each area, and to write down your observations. Then, after doing the exercises with your child (and often, rethinking the example you are setting), you can track his or her progress.


Parents who want to learn more about Hafner—both his Karate school and his philosophy for building healthy, happy, capable kids—can visit www.karateisgoodforyou.com. Once there, they may download a FREE REPORT that offers tips for helping kids develop three of the “Foundation Stones”: physical fitness, self-control and confidence. (This report is the first in a 4-part series that will be available during the upcoming year.)  

             All of Hafner’s advice—dispensed through his Web site, his book, his consulting career—reflects his sincere and lifelong desire to remind us how precious our kids really are, and how important it is to bring them up right.  

“As I reiterate throughout my book, you can’t not teach your child,” says Hafner. “He or she learns something from everything you do, and everything you don’t do. So please, make an effort to teach your kids what they really need to know! And by the way, these 12 foundation stones are especially important in times like these. America and the whole world need rock-solid citizens . . . nothing less than our future is at stake.”

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About the Author:

Keith Hafner owns and operates the #1 ranked martial-arts school in the nation. Every year, his school is visited by hundreds of martial arts teachers and owners, from coast to coast. Master Hafner’s system uses the martial arts to teach children real life skills, not just self defense. And not just teach about those skills, but a program that motivates the student to use those skills in daily living and for pursuing life goals.

Hafner publishes a biweekly newsletter called “The Rock Solid Kids Newsletter.” He offers consulting services and speaking engagements through his “Capable Kids Construction Company.”  For more information, call 734-999-0333 or visit www.karateisgoodforyou.com.




Twelve Foundation Stones For Building Rock-Solid Kids.

Excerpted from How To Build Rock-Solid Kids: 12 Proven Foundation Stones Every Kid Needs For A Rock-Solid Future, by Keith Hafner.

Foundation Stone One: Physical FitnessJump-start your child’s physical fitness efforts.

If you take care of your body, it should serve you for about 100 years. If you neglect your health, you will be a mess by age 30. Children must be taught that a fit, healthy lifestyle is the accumulation of good habits. There are three components to a physical fitness program: exercise, nutrition, and hygiene and grooming. All three areas must be addressed if your children are to have the fit, healthy lifestyle they deserve.

Foundation Stone Two: Self-ControlHow your child learns to “self-manage” his or her own actions.

            If you don’t establish boundaries, or if you establish boundaries and are not consistent in enforcing them, you make it very hard for your child to learn self control. Children get the idea that boundaries are flimsy or flexible. So when Mom and Dad say “no,” it really means “maybe yes.” As a result, parents end up teaching their children to disobey! And the next time they’re going to go a little bit farther. They’re going to push a little bit harder. And once that process starts, it is very difficult to stop.

• Foundation Stone Three: FocusTeach your child to pay attention and block out distractions.

            It is the long-term pursuit of a subject matter that is valuable. Many parents today want their kids to experience as many things as possible. They want their kids well-rounded. Problem is, the kids never pursue any one subject in depth. These children jump from activity to activity, never really scratching the surface, never finding the personal benefit that comes from focused study.

• Foundation Stone Four: RespectWho does your child respect, and why should he respect them?

            You earn respect in the same measure that you give respect. A disrespectful child hurts himself more than he hurts anybody. Because he gets no respect, he turns that attitude inward, toward himself. He starts to see himself as a person who doesn’t deserve respect. With low self-respect, a child will “sell” himself cheaply. He will never learn to hold himself to a high standard of conduct. He will tolerate all types of abusive treatment, because he has no sense of self-worth.

• Foundation Stone Five: ConfidenceEmpower your child with unstoppable self-confidence.

            One great way to develop your child’s confidence is to help her become an expert in a particular area. Everybody knows that if you are good at something, you become confident in that thing. Most people don’t know, however, that a child’s confidence in one area spills over into others. It doesn’t really matter which area of study you pick.

 It could be sports, a hobby, Martial Arts, music or scouts. What is important is that you guide your child into an extended commitment to a specific area.

• Foundation Stone Six: Spiritual DevelopmentHelp your child develop and maintain a real relationship with God.

            Today, most of us believe that absolutes—wrong and right—do not exist. Yet these absolutes, in fact, come with dire consequences. So our kids don’t know the price they pay when they choose to disobey these absolutes. With no absolutes, we end up teaching our kids about a “gray” area between black and white. They are free to define and choose their own sense of right and wrong. That may be. However, they are not free to choose the consequences of their choice. Now you know why God insists that we learn (and obey) the absolutes of correct moral behavior.

• Foundation Stone Seven: HonestyTeach your child trust building and emotional honesty.

            Honesty is more than simply avoiding lies. It includes a belief in, and a pursuit of, the truth. To develop a positive self-image, to have healthy relationships with other people, honesty must be present. Honesty is a sure sign of healthy self-esteem. Why? Because an honest person takes responsibility for his actions. He feels good about himself, and has no need to resort to deception.

• Foundation Stone Eight: CourageHelp your child move outside the “comfort zone.”

            If a person is constantly afraid, he feels less and less able to deal with his surroundings. Instead of experiencing growth, he shrinks. He moves from situation to situation inside an ever-shrinking comfort zone. The most important reason for your child to develop courage is that it determines how much freedom he or she will experience. Fear will hold your child back. It will prevent him from trying new things, from pursuing meaningful opportunities, and from living the life he was meant to live.

• Foundation Stone Nine: ContributionTeach your child the joy of giving.

            Teach your child the law of abundance, that there is enough for everybody. Enough time, love, opportunity, and resource. This important belief will make it easy for her to be a person who contributes. Life rewards you in direct proportion to your ability to contribute. It also requires that you contribute first. You must plant the seed before you can harvest the crop.

• Foundation Stone Ten: Positive OutlookPaint a bright future for your child.

            As parents, your words are very powerful. Your young child takes everything you say as truth. If you tell your three-year-old son that . . . he’s bad . . . he’ll not enjoy school . . . he’s not kind . . . he doesn’t have the skills to be popular . . . Guess what? He’ll grow up expecting these words to be true. On the other hand, if you tell him he is smart, good, and fun to be around, he will grow up expecting that to be true. And we build our own reality by what we expect.

• Foundation Stone Eleven: ResponsibilityEmpower your child to “pay her own way.”

            Teaching your child to be responsible takes time and attention from you. Every bit of responsibility you give your child has to come with a tremendous amount of instruction and supervision. You must be prepared to teach, remind and inspect —over and over, a zillion times. What’s more, you must be prepared to do this without becoming frustrated or resentful.

• Foundation Stone Twelve: PersistenceHelp your child develop the “I will persist until I succeed” attitude.

            Remember what Calvin Coolidge, President of the United States, said: “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common that unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

For more information on How To Build Rock-Solid Kids or to interview Capable Kid Builder, Keith Hafner, please contact Dottie DeHart at (828) 459-9637 or via e-mail at DSDeHart@aol.com

Free Report #1

Transform Your “Couch Potato” Into A Rock Solid, Confident Kid!—A New Year’s Resolution You and Your Child Can Work On Together!

By Keith Hafner

            Attention, parents of budding “couch potatoes!” It’s time to give some serious thought to your child’s physical fitness. Generally speaking, a strong spirit begins with a strong body. “Begins” is the operative word. Once your child has experienced the joy and freedom of vibrant physical health, he or she will be better equipped and motivated to develop all the character traits necessary for a “rock-solid” future. Isn’t that what we all want for our children?

            It’s with this mindset that I extend my first Free Report in a series of four, all based on the “12 Foundation Stones” discussed in my book How To Raise Rock-Solid Kids. I want to address the three qualities that I believe form the “foundation of the foundation,” so to speak: physical fitness, self-control and confidence. They all relate to

your child’s “physical” aspect—and with 2002 right around the corner, this is a great time to kick off the most worthwhile New Year’s Resolution of your life . . . building healthy, happy, confident kids!

Physical Fitness: Put the “back yard” back in your child!

            We are all physical beings. This is especially true of kids, who are born to run, jump, catch, throw, climb trees, and generally amaze the rest of us with their boundless energy! So why are so many of them vegetating in front of the TV, often with a bag of high-fat, nutrient-free chips on their ever-expanding laps? It’s time to get your little couch potato off the couch and into a fitness routine!

            Your child needs to exercise. This is true even if (or maybe especially if) he or she is uncomfortable in team sports. Don’t think of physical fitness as something reserved for “athletic” kids—even the quietest, most studious “bookworm” should be equipped with a healthy heart rate, good muscle tone and plenty of stamina!

            Help your child find an aerobic exercise that he or she will enjoy doing three times a week for 30 to 60 minutes. Walking, hiking, bike-riding, swimming—all are good options. Make these sessions a family priority! Yes, you may need to exercise with your child. Part of being a “rock-solid” parent is setting a good example.

            You must make this fitness session fun for your child if you want him or her to make it a lifelong habit. That means using positive reinforcement, not coming across as a drill sergeant. Kids always gravitate toward approval. Look for the one little glimmer of positive effort, every approximation of success, and pounce on it!

            It’s hard to start an exercise program and you can expect your child to resist. But if you start slowly, remain consistent and gradually increase the intensity of the exercise, you will soon see a payoff for your efforts—a fit, healthy child!

            Though I am no nutrition expert, I would be remiss in not mentioning the subject. Eating the right foods is just as important as exercise! And it’s really pretty simple. Here are the basics:

            • Make sure your child has a balance of the four basic food groups: proteins, carbohydrates, fats and sugars.

            • Consult a calorie chart to find the correct intake level based on your child’s age and weight. Stick to this limit in your meal preparation.

            • No more than 1/3 of your child’s calories should come from fat. Just read food labels to get this information.

            • Most kids (and adults) are seriously dehydrated. Eight to 10 glasses of water per day are necessary. Juice, soda, milk and other beverages don’t count!

            • Give your child a good-quality multiple vitamin every day to make up for any nutritional shortfalls.

            Don’t overhaul the whole family’s diet overnight. A slow transition is more conducive to success. Begin substituting low-fat, low calorie alternatives to the less-than-healthful foods you’re eating now. Gradually increase the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables in your family’s diet. And, oh yes—pack a good lunch for your child. School lunches are a nutritional nightmare!

Self-Control: Without this, you can forget about mastering any other skill.

            You may be wondering why I consider self-control a “physical” quality. The answer is simple: developing this Foundation Stone begins with the control of one’s own body. Every baby learns pretty much on her own to move her limbs, raise her head, roll over, crawl and finally, walk. Later, when it’s time for her to learn to control her actions and behaviors, her parents must take charge. But it all comes back to the body.

            I am going to give you a couple of exercises that you can use to help your child develop self-control. But first, I want to discuss why this quality is so important. Simply put, if your child does not learn self-control, she will have a very difficult time in adulthood. At best, she will spin her wheels and be unable to achieve anything of value. At worst, someone will move in and establish control over her.

            The three principles of instilling self-control in your child are: 1) establish clear rules and boundaries; 2) make sure there are natural, logical consequences for not respecting those boundaries; and 3) have consistent follow-up . . . a zillion, million times if that’s what it takes!

When you tell your child not to do something, mean it. If she steps across the boundary, immediately move her back inside. Do not think, I’ll let her get away with it just this once. If you do, you are teaching your child to disobey! Your child will test these boundaries, you can count on it. That’s what children do. It’s your job to enforce these boundaries, no matter how difficult, tiring and frustrating the process is.

Here are two exercises for helping kids learn self-control:

1)      The “Sit Still” Technique. Sit with your small child and say, “Megan, let’s work on your self-control. Let’s try to sit completely still for one minute.” Then, provide positive feedback. Do at least three sessions a week for at least a month, gradually increasing the “sitting still” time. This is a simple technique, but it works wonders. Once you’ve instilled this ability in your child, you can use it any time you see her in a situation in which she seems to be losing control. (See why self-control is physical in nature?)

2)      The “Expanding Boundaries” Technique. Pinpoint three rules or boundaries that you absolutely insist upon. Talk to your child about why these rules are important. Explain to him that if he stays inside these boundaries, they will expand. For instance, if curfew is 7:00 and your child respects that curfew, it will eventually be changed to 7:30. Thus, your child learns the benefits of self-control by experiencing them firsthand.

Confidence: Empower your child with unstoppable self-esteem!

            Here’s some good news: children are born with confidence. Have you ever asked a five-year-old what she wants to be when she grows up? Kids always want to be the most incredible things: astronauts, professional athletes, doctors, celebrities. But something happens over the next few years. Your child loses his confidence and scales back his expectations. Not surprising, when you consider the negative world we live in.

            So how can you restore the confidence that is your child’s birthright? I could write a book on this subject, but I will try to stick with a few basics! At its heart, confidence is a physical skill. The way a person holds his body, the way he walks, the way he speaks—all of these reveal his level of confidence. Conversely, practicing confident body language actually creates confidence! Did you know that 54% of how we feel comes from what we are doing with our bodies?

            Here are three ways your child can learn the “body language” of confidence:

• Stand up straight. Work with your child on maintaining an upright posture. Lift the sternum, pull the shoulders back, keep the head held high. Practice standing, walking and sitting with this posture of confidence.

• Make eye contact. Teach your child to squarely face people when speaking, and to make brief, but direct eye contact. Have him start practicing this with you, then move on to making eye contact with other people he meets. It may be uncomfortable for him at first, but it’s a huge part of self-confidence!

• Speak up! Teach your child that when speaking, he should use deep breathing, and speak from deep within his chest (rather than from high in the throat). He should keep a lot of air in his lungs. Some kids also need to slow a little when speaking.

Of course, body language  isn’t the entire solution. Teaching your child confidence also requires that he move outside his comfort zone. You must be the one to challenge him with new experiences, so that his comfort zone will expand. Here’s how:

1). A child’s lack of confidence will usually manifest itself most clearly in one or two areas. Try to isolate the situations that make your child uncomfortable. Does he get involved in physical activity? Academic pursuits? Social situations?

2). Define what a small step would be. For example, your child might lack confidence in social situations. To develop his confidence, a small step might be to introduce himself to a person he doesn’t know very well. If you are focusing on athletics, it might be to take part in a soccer game during recess.

3).  Make a plan. Decide what needs to be done. Practice, role play, and rehearse at home—before your child actually tries to perform these skills in a real situation. Do this as often as it takes for your child to feel comfortable.

4). Execute the plan. Provide all the encouragement and support you can.

5). Review what happened and adjust accordingly. If he gets great results, move onto the next challenge. If he has a setback, that’s okay! Just re-train, and start again.

Now, parents, can you see how these three qualities—physical fitness, self-control and self-confidence—work together? Help your child master them and he or she will be well on the way to a happy, healthy, confident life. Of course, there are still nine other Foundation Stones to discuss, and we will get to them later. Just check back here periodically for my next Free Report. Meanwhile, I wish you the best of luck in getting 2002 off to a rock-solid start!

Keith Hafner

Rock Solid Kid Builder