The path to black belt is littered with tens of thousands of kids who started karate and quit. Most of them in the first six months, but some make it all the way to brown belt, just to abandon ship just when the coveted black belt is so close.
This article is going to cover the reasons why kids quit, and look at how we can keep kids in the dojo, and some of the advice applies to adult students as well.
She never, ever rolled her eyes because I had put my hand up (again, and again and again), and always knew when to take me aside and ask if I was okay. She only ever despaired at my abysmal handwriting (which finally got better when I started hand-lettering karate certificates – I’m sorry she never got to see it).
Karate tries to teach discipline, respect for self and others, humility and compassion – chores overlap beautifully with this. And so I decided to see if the kind of parents who sign up their kids for karate are also the kind that make them do chores. I think you will find the results fascinating.
At least this is a quick way to find out if they will even be decent students: if they cannot exercise basic courtesy on whatsapp, then they absolutely won’t do it in the dojo. I have a message that automatically pops up saying something along the lines of “I am enjoying family time, I will get back to you during business hours” and yet there is the audacity again to send me voice note after voice note, or worse, the passive-aggressive “???”when I don’t answer.
Action helps us feel more in control. Doing good things creates a ripple effect. I’ve seen a couple of images of people helping, but I also wanted to compile a guide for how citizens can make a difference.
So what makes a good black belt? Talent? Time? Effort? The ability to fight off multiple attackers while wearing sunglasses? There should absolutely be a level of technical ability, and especially maturity. The black belt is cheapened when it is given to seven year olds in American dojos.
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You can only hope that the best of what you said made it through, and they take it with them. You hope that they remember how much you believed in them, and wanted the best for them, and that some of the lessons stick with them. If you do your job right, they might not stay with you in the dojo, but maybe a little part of you stays with them.