Goal-Setting with Karate

Goal-setting was unknown to me as a child and youth. I had dreams, hopes and standards. But I did not have the tool of writing down smart goals for a roadmap to help me accomplish what I wanted. As a young adult I learned how to set well-crafted goals from my karate instructor, Michael Newland Sensei. That has impacted my life greatly.


Martial Arts in general use the concept of setting goals, breaking them down into smaller steps, and acknowledging and celebrating accomplishments. That is what the belt ranking system is all about. Even if a teacher doesn’t have students take the time to write down their goals, even if they don’t know what goal-setting is, they are still promoting the concepts as students train and move through the belt system. Learning to break down big goals into smaller steps is one way that martial arts helps students succeed in life.


I am appreciative of Newland Sensei for introducing formal goal-setting to us. He took the time and effort to bother with having all karate kids and adults sit down in classes at the end of each year to write our goals. He taught the importance of making them specific and measurable. Newland Sensei also stressed the value of having a deadline for each objective. He had us create short term, intermediate and long term goals. We also brainstormed things we could do to help us achieve them, with Sensei beside us lending positive support. Later I learned the craft of wording each goal in a positive tone and putting the focus on your objective.


Parents of martial artists recognize the value of their child learning goal-setting and attainment. They see how these skills will help their offspring succeed in life’s accomplishments. These are lessons that can be put to use in childhood. But moreover, they can be used to great success as karate kids become adults. They won’t necessarily help every practitioner become a real estate mogul or CEO, but they can help them lead more fulfilling lives. Goal-setting gives a person power over their own life, even at a young age.


As mentioned, I didn’t learn goal-setting until I was a young adult karateka. But that skill has allowed me to continuously examine my life and my actions and aims. It has helped me to have direction and create my own purpose, based on my values. It has helped me accomplish projects, improve fitness, work on relationships, eat healthier, and become a published writer. And the magic I have noticed is how ALIVE I feel when I work toward my favorite goals.


You too can learn how to set goals similar to the way we do it at the dojo. Here is an article from Damian Pros that gives a lot of tips on goal-setting.

By Jenifer Tull-Gauger    goal-setting

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