Training My Son – Lessons From 7 Years Ago

This was written 7 years ago when my son Te Aio was 10 years old. He will be 18 years soon. Still relevant for today

Training for Mountains and Life
[Written March 2011]

This short report is about some of the life skills training and resources that I used to teach my 10 year old son Te Aio. He will not stay young for much longer and will soon grow up. Like all parents, I hope that he will grow into a fine, responsible adult and share what he has learnt with others.

I share this with you so that you may share it with your children.

This short report covers. 1. Training experiences. 2. Survival kit for school bag. 3. Breathing patterns.

I believe Te Aio should have experiences, memories and affirmations that he can use to give himself confidence, hope and courage and difficult situations in later life. To help build a strong mind inside his little body. Before he grows up too soon and becomes to set in the ways of modern technology and play-station generation. Going out into nature where the mountains, rivers, forests and opens spaces become the teachers. Be among the elemental elders.


I have taken him into the ancestral mountains of the East Coast as shown above. So he can absorb the power of being in the mountains. To learn basic camping, tracking and finding food and water. Observing the animals to find water. Practicing taiaha martial art movements on the mountain. Teaching him prayer. He might not continue with these things as he grows older. At least he has had an experience of the mountains while still a boy.

I train father to son in a range of skills. I trained him in mainly in Maori martial arts to develop his character, Maori culture and self-defence. He practices with me his father. we start slow. Go through the drills. Keep it simple. Then increase speed and intensity. He knows where to strike his father such that he can disable me quickly and efficiently whether I am striking unarmed or with edged weapon. Yet he’s still a 10 year old boy and so we must keep it fun and not too serious. Reminding him to be responsible. To help others when in need. His name is Te Aio which means peaceful so these practices are in the pursuit of peace. Also he must learn to heal what he has hurt. He participated in a self-defence demonstration to a visiting Italian group and earned $250 which pleased him very much [Note: I gave him half the $500 fee I charged the tour guide]

Te Aio Survival Kit for his School Bag.


Te Aio says.

“This is my survival kit that goes in my school bag. My dad made it for me. He got a pencil case from $2 Shop and put stuff in it. A torch, some plaster, a pen and paper to write a note. Some black tape like if you cut yourself and you have no plasters, you can put clean cloth or kawakawa leaf over the cut and tape it. A tool with gadgets. Phone numbers of mum and dad. Our home address. A muesli bar…”


Dad says.

“Every parent should make a survival kit for their kids. Put it in the bottom of their school pack. It does not cost much. There are other things that could be added to Te Aio kit. A small aluminium survival sheet. A whistle. A laminated card with these instructions. CPR and other emergency drills. Still working on this. You need to check its contents regularly.. The muesli bar can get eaten. Emergency money can get spent on after-school snacks. Having a survival kit is all part of his character building and martial arts training. He has to learn real life skills. Not just stances and blocks.”

Breathing Patterns.


Te Aio says.

“My dad drew these patterns to help my nerves and calm my breathing  when I get wheezy. Also to help me concentrate. They come from the old Maori taiaha which uses a lot of spirals and circle movements. This is from the koru fern frond spiral. It is also same shape as the snail shell.


Dad says.

“Trace over the single spiral picture using a finger starting from the outer point while breathing in towards the centre. Hold at the centre for short time then breathe out by tracing the spiral outwards to where you started. It is the basis for the name taiaha –  the spiralling Breath of Life. Be like a snail. Slow down your breathing each time. Do 3 breaths. Inhale for 3 Count. Hold. Exhale for 3 Count.  Repeat 3 times. Breathe in good energy. Breathe out bad feelings. You can draw a spiral in the air. In the clouds. In water. In sand. On the earth. Get a stick or just use your mind to create the spiral. Parents should practice as well. Make it fun. Make the kids curious. Create your own spirals. Add two spirals together. Watch a snail cross a path. Be patient. Slow down the mind and breath….

Remember….Calm Breath1 + Calm Breath2 + Calm Breath3  = CALM MIND

Note To Self dated 29 December 2016.
I wrote this back in March 2011 when son was still 10 years old. He is now 16 years old and all this training has given him a quiet confidence in his school life and outdoor expeditions.

Note To Self dated 16 February 2018.
Te Aio is now 17 years old. Nearly 18 years soon. Finished High School end of 2017. Passed all his Grades. He also achieved his Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award. The first in our family. He will go to an Award Ceremony at Governor-General’s Residence later this year. He also starred as Enjolas, the Leader of the French Revolution in Les Miserables. He enjoys performance and acting. Hmmm. Hopefully he is available to help me on some this KOA training as he has gone through much of the outdoor training.


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