Returning to the Dojo

One missed class can easily become three. Three classes becomes a month. Then six. Then a year. And then there’s a day when you open your cupboard and there is your gi, hanging up and gathering dust. Waiting. (And silently judging you.)

But Still. I’m So Sorry.

Karate has survived two world wars, Spanish flu, numerous recessions and the worst McDojos in the world. It will survive this. I’m not worried about karate – I am worried about you. The student. The instructor. The dojo parent. Wherever you land in the constellation of people that make up a dojo, I worry. I hope you are okay. I hope you have your health and your livelihood.

Why we wear white

It is the bane of every dojo parent’s existence – the white karate suit. Why dress children in white? Of all the colours, why choose the most unforgiving, most difficult to maintain, most revealing colour of all? Why something that will get dirty 20 minutes before a grading?

Tamashiwari: Boardbreaking

I remember a kid asking me once, “when do we learn to break boards?” and I responded with “when trees attack!”

(Shut up, I thought it was funny.)

For the most part, that usually settles the discussion, but tamashiwari (translated as ‘trial by wood’) keeps cropping up in my reading and research. 

Sensei Mom

Anyway, now I juggle two titles: Sensei, and Mom. And like all mothers before me, I am going to offer unsolicited wisdom, as revenge for all the unwanted advice I got from family, friends and complete strangers in the queue at Checkers (because nothing inspires condescending advice from randoms like a baby bump. The same f*ckers won’t offer you a chair to sit on, but they will ask about whether you plan to have natural birth or not. Rude.)

Karate in the Age of Instagram

I worked as a social media manager in my past life, before I ran away from corporate to become an instructor, and it was a constant battle of shiny, happy updates and vapid copy, my English degrees weeping on the wall while I used hashtags and SEO-friendly babble to sell books, or book launches.

Apps for Instructors

While the noble art of being an instructor goes back to the first time someone said “hey, let me show you how to do that better”, today we have incredible tools at our disposal. Sure, Sensei Youtube often causes more problems than it solves… But we are lucky to live in an age where we…

How to Balance Training and Studying

“No matter how you excel in the art of “Ti” (Okinawan precursor to Karate), and in your scholastic endeavours, nothing is more important than your behaviour and humanity as observed in daily life.” – Junsoku Uekata (Confucian scholar), written in 1683 We are always aware of the increasing demands on children’s time. As schools introduce more and more tests…

As Practical As You Make It

What do you do with a BA in English? What is my life going to be? Four years of college and plenty of knowledge Have earned me this useless degree I can’t pay the bills yet, ‘Cause I have no skills yet, The world is a big scary place. But somehow I can’t shake, The…

Don’t Save: Teach

“We rescue because it feels good,” Lahey says. Parents want to rescue their kids from everything, and so do instructors, sometimes. In this clear-eyed article about the gift of failure, we are reminded that “we seem to be more worried about raising happy children than competent or autonomous ones.” Go ask your instructor if failing…