On Controlling Yourself, with Braden

Five-year-old Braden is a wise young man. Here we discuss Dojo Kun number five: controlling yourself, and finish his Dojo Kun interviews. (Earlier, he talked about 1: trying to be good, 2: telling the truth, 3: not giving up and 4: being nice.)

J: Braden, what is Dojo Kun number five?

B: Cultivate per’verance or a will for striving.

J: What’s the easiest way to put that?

B: Control myself.

J: Why is controlling yourself important?

B: ‘Cause you are the only person who can. That’s your job. And if you’re not controlling yourself, you’ll be out of control.

J: That sounds like trouble.

B: Yes. Other people will try to control you and there will be a lot of trouble.

J: Is there a time when you don’t need to worry about controlling yourself?


B: Sometimes. Like when you are the only one on the trampoline and it has a safety net, you can just go crazy and get out of control.

J: I see.

B: But if my little brother is on there, or other kids, then I have to control myself.

J: How?

B: Well, I don’t jump on them. And I don’t just run around and smash into people. One time, when I was little, this other kid was going crazy on the trampoline, and he smashed his head into mine and it tore my ear a little.

J: Ouch.

B: Uh huh, it hurt really bad and it was bleeding.

J: Did you go to the doctor?

B: No. It got better.


J: Where is it important to use Dojo Kun number five?

B: At the dojo. At school. At dinner. ‘Specially if you go to a restaurant.

J: Tell me about controlling yourself at the dojo…

B: When we hit targets, I stand in a good stance and I do it. Instead of spinning around and falling down.

J: That’s good!

B: And when we line up, I stand still and I listen, even when Sensei is talking for a LONG time. Then it’s hard to just stand there. But I try my best.

J: How do you control yourself at school?

B: Well, if my friend is breaking crayons and wants me to break them, I don’t do it because I know it’s not a good thing to do.

J: Anything else?

B: I don’t talk when the teacher’s talking. Even if another kid’s talking to me.


J: Why do you need to control yourself at dinner?

B: I like to be silly and to make my little brother laugh. But my mom doesn’t like me to mess around with the food, or make him laugh and have food fall out of his mouth. Or milk out of his nose!

J: Yuck!

B: That happened once. And my parents want us to not get crazy when we’re eating because it can make a big mess.

J: True.

B: And it’s impolite. We have to eat nice and maybe, just, talk.

J: Especially if you go to a restaurant.

B: Yes, ‘cause if you’re not controlling yourself at a restaurant, that’s TROUBLE! I’ve seen a lot of time-outs at restaurants. And that’s mostly my brother. And me when I was little. And some kids at other tables.

J: That does happen.

B: But now I control myself, and now people say how well-behaved I am.

J: That’s a nice compliment.

B: And when we go to Grandma’s, she always says that.

J: It sounds like you work hard to use the Dojo Kuns everywhere you go.

B: Well, I make mistakes sometimes, but I try.

J: We martial artists just have to do the best we can with each new day. Do you have anything else to say about the Dojo Kun, or number five?

B: One last thing. About controlling yourself. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

J: Thank you, Braden, for taking the time to talk with me about the Dojo Kun.

B: You’re welcome.

Here’s a link to a printable version of the Dojo Kun meanings for young children on Twitter and another one in the comments here on Facebook.

By Jenifer Tull-Gauger

Controlling Yourself Kids Karate

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