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.
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?
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.
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.)
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.
“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…
“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…
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.
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.
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…