J: Braden agreed to talk with us about Dojo Kun number one: being good. He is five, and Braden has enjoyed karate for over a year now.
B: Well, sometimes I don’t enjoy it so much like when it’s time for class and I don’t wanna go because I’m building an awesome lego skyscraper or when I get push-ups for not listening to Sensei.
J: When you get push-ups like that, it helps you learn accountability. Do you know what that means?
B: Yes, like Dojo Kun number one.
J: I guess so. Do you know Dojo Kun number one? The long way?
B: Strive for a good moral character.
J: Great job! And can you put that into easy words?
B: Try to be a good person.
Being Good at the Dojo
J: Can you think of some ways that you can use Dojo Kun number one and try hard to be a good person at karate?
B: Yes, like when Sensei gives me push-ups for not listening in class. I won’t cry and I won’t pout. I just say, “okay,” and I do them and that’s done.
J: So then you let it go?
B: Uh huh, then I just think about doing my best and then the game at the end of class. Hopefully. I like when we get to do a game.
J: Any other ways you can try to be a good person in class?
J: What if there’s a new kid in class, what can you do?
B: I’d say “hi” to them, you know, be friendly.
J: Anything else?
B: Well, Sensei, always makes a big deal about doing our best work to set a good example for new kids. Or young kids. Or wild kids. So I’ll do my best in class to be a good person.
Good Behavior at Home
J: What about at home? How can you try to be a good person there?
B: I know how karate has helped me with being good at home. I don’t hit my little brother any more. I’m nice to him, but sometimes he hits me. Because he doesn’t know any better. I used to hit him back. But now that I’m a karate kid, I’m tough. And it doesn’t even hurt when he hits me. Sometimes I’ll block. But I don’t hit him. He’s just a little kid.
J: Any other ways Dojo Kun number one has helped you at home?
B: I do what my parents say. Mostly the first time. I don’t just ignore them and act like, “Huh? I didn’t hear you…”
A Good Person at School
J: Your mom told me about the crayon incident at school. Do you mind sharing that with us?
B: My best friend at school was coloring with me. First she broke a crayon and it was an accident. Then she broke the blue one on purpose. She wanted me to laugh, but I just kept coloring. Then she broke the green, and said, “It makes a nice snap, Braden, try it, break it.” She held out the pink one, in my face. When I didn’t break it, she did. I told her not to break any more. But she kept breaking and breaking them. I told her I was going to tell the teacher. She was like going crazy breaking them. So I told on her.
J: That was very strong of you.
B: At first Mrs. Apple didn’t seem to care, but when she looked in the box and saw most of the crayons broken, she got mad. I’m not mentioning any names here, but our teacher told my friend’s parents and made my friend pay to replace the crayons.
J: Did your friend get mad at you?
B: A little, but then I told her I’d help her do some chores to earn crayon money, then she got happy with me.
J: Sounds like you are trying hard to be a good person at school.
B: Just like Dojo Kun number one says.
J: Good job, Braden.
By Jenifer Tull-Gauger