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…

Lessons From My Students

There’s a lot to be said for the wise Sensei motif, but any teacher worth their classroom will tell you that the exchange of knowledge goes both ways. I have heard wisdom from the mouths of toddlers, and utter tedium from boring-ass grown-ups. This list is open to future edits as my teaching career continues….

A Day in the Life of a Sensei

A Sensei is many things – janitor, nurse, counsellor, accountant, career guidance coach, wailing wall, mentor, caterer, event manager, teacher and role model. Even when we don’t want to be, we are always in a gi.

Should I Watch My Child Train?

One of the questions we get asked most is: Can I watch my child train? 

Usually, this is a great thing, because it shows interest in the student’s progress and maybe the art itself. However, it is important for an instructor to decide how valuable it will be.

Late Bloomers Welcome

I got an email from a possible student the other day, asking if we offered adult classes, or if we would be willing to accommodate a 45 year old. I get messages like this all the time – parents and grandparents who want to either join their kid on the mat, or find something to…

The Launch of Martial Heart

It is with this in mind that I finally started an initiative that I have been thinking about for a long time. It is a small start, but I hope it will grow over time.

Real Futureproofing

We get it, parents: you are trying to make sure your child, the centre of your universe, your precious genetic legacy, is going to handle whatever the future can throw at them. We see it in the extra classes they do, the vast number of extra-curricular activities. We see it in their burdensome homework schedules,…

Vygotsky and the Sempai

Lev Vygotsky offers a way for us to understand the value of peer teaching, which appears in all good dojos around the world: the sempai-kouhai relationship.

How to look after your gi

They say the suit maketh the man, and while that’s a bit narrow, it is helpful to paraphrase it as the gi maketh the warrior. A clean gi (or do-gi) is a sign of respect, not only for oneself but towards one’s dojo and fellow training partners. To arrive in a dirty, untidy gi is to show…

Courage in Karate: The Role of Vulnerability

“Vulnerability is not weakness, and the uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure we face every day are not optional. Our only choice is a question of engagement. Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose; the level to which we protect ourselves from…

Shu-Ha-Ri – The Martial Recipe

In studying, practising and teaching karate, I have come across the concept of Shu Ha Ri a few times. Of course my mind latched right on to it, because it is a neat way to explain vast concepts. Anything that offers an elegant shorthand is basically catnip to the instructor-in-training. Of course, Karate by Jesse…