I am a quiet, introverted, nice girl. Or at least I was before I started karate. Now when I look back, I would add timid to that list. But where’s the fun in that? Now, I go for my goals in life and I reach out of my comfort zone. That’s because I have learned an affirmative attitude through karate.
An Affirmative Attitude Grows from Confidence
All martial arts teach confidence, or at least, they should. When people are recognized and commended for mastering skills, they gain confidence. Our style of traditional karate teaches essential life skills like self defense, life protection, physical prowess, awareness, integrity, honesty, perseverance and respect. As I have learned these things, I have built my skill in all areas of life. That builds confidence as well.
Many people go through their day following along, not rocking the boat, and not participating fully. I have learned a more affirmative attitude through karate. Because of martial arts, I am better able to recognize helpful people and positive opportunities. And when those come along, I know how to say “yes,” and “awesome,” “let’s work together,” “great job,” and “thank you.” (“Awesome,” “let’s work together,” and “great job,” were not terms that I used before I started karate.)
Affirmative Attitudes Require Taking Chances
In karate, I have learned to take chances. Everyone makes mistakes, and that’s okay. I have seen people whom I respect make mistakes. When that happens, you move on and keep on trying. I have seen no reduction of my respect for those people, and learned that there’s no reason to lose respect for myself when I make a mistake. The important thing is to keep on going. We can learn from our mistakes.
I have learned so much from karate. I have learned to set goals, work on them, and achieve them. Now, I help others learn these things too.
I used to be a quiet, introverted, nice girl. Now I am assertive when I need to be. I push myself to be extroverted when the situation calls for it. If others come to me for advice, I am happy to coach, support and encourage them. When I see the chance to do the right thing, I take action. And I participate fully in constructive activities. I am a respectful person who promotes mutual respect. I am not a nice girl any more.
Jenifer Tull-Gauger knows what it’s like to be an “old soul” and a painfully quiet kid struggling to fit in. Her journey to 7th degree black belt is a testament of how she found inner strength through traditional karate. Now in leadership for the international U.R.K.A., she heads up a private dojo with her husband.
Jenifer combined her passions for art and writing, with what she’s learned from 23-plus years of teaching karate, to create a children’s character-building picture book series. The Dojo Kun Character Books help children to find their own power in their lives. JeniferTullGauger.com