This is a good time to commit to consistent attendance and practice so you/your child can achieve your goals. Often, I ask students in class to identify, in one word, their main goal in karate training. You would be surprised to hear many young students say they want to “be a black belt” or “be a sensei”, “protect myself from bullies”, or “have self- esteem”. I am amazed so many students have concrete ideas of what they want to achieve in their martial arts training, yet their parents haven’t heard of their child’s intrinsic goals.
Progress in karate can only take place with consistent participation in prescribed classes, along with personal practice outside the dojo. Additionally, preparing for and taking part in karate testing and tournaments, which are typically outside your/your child’s comfort zone, enhances development and motivates students to practice.
Twice a year, we conduct tournaments to provide opportunities for our students to compete. The fall tournament is normally in early November. The spring tournament is two weeks before or after Easter depending on the availability of the venue. While we view our twice yearly tournaments as mandatory events for all dojo members, some students don’t participate, most commonly due to fear of failure.
Unfortunately, when a student or parent(s) declines tournament participation for reasons such as ‘not feeling ready’ or ‘wanting to try when they are more prepared’, that athlete will eventually enter tournaments at a bigger disadvantage. Students, with the same time in training, who didn’t ‘wait until next time’ have more competitive experience. Our divisions are categorized by time in training, not experience in competition, i.e. beginner = less than 1 year, novice = between 1 and 2 yrs, intermediate = between 2 yrs and 47 months, and advanced = 4+ yrs training.
Another block to motivation is when students, invited to participate in testing, do not attempt to test. We check several basic minimum requirements that must be met before we invite a student to test for rank. These areas are: consistent attendance, attainment of skills for their rank as demonstrated in classes, and a positive attitude. Some students do not feel ready to perform, but opting out of testing prevents the student from the possibility of promotion. Lack of promotion feeds into fear of failure, which eventually becomes a reality. Lastly, I notice high ranking students who are invited to move up into advanced classes be unwilling or unable to make schedule adjustments. In my experience, students who remain in lower classes ultimately lose their desire to attend because they are under-challenged. Progress is once again delayed, and so is the sense of gratification from working hard toward achieving something worthwhile.
I encourage you to reach out to me directly (206-228-2392 or firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions or concerns about you/your child’s progress. There are times when you/your student may want or need to discuss strategies to improve motivation or overcome obstacles that hinder development.
Shihan Joni Sharrah, Owner/Chief Instructor
Upcoming Dojo Closures
9/1-4 Labor Day Holiday
10/31 Happy Halloween!
11/10-11 Veterans Day Holiday
11/23 Thanksgiving Day
Download the Fall 2017 back to school newsletter.