On Not Giving Up, With Braden

Last time, Braden and I discussed Dojo Kun number two. Today, we’ll discuss not giving up and Dojo Kun number three.

J: Braden, what’s Dojo Kun number three?

B: Cultivate perseverance or a will for striving.

J: What do those big words mean?

B: It means don’t give up.

J: Don’t give up… and what should we do?

B: Keep on trying. Like if something is hard and you tried to do it, but it didn’t work, then you keep trying and one day you’ll get it.

J: Why is that important?

B: ‘Cause if we just give up the first time something doesn’t work, then nothing will get done.


J: How can you keep on trying at the dojo?

B: If you say “I can’t” those are bad words at the dojo. So don’t say “I can’t”, just say, “okay” and try your best. Or if someone says “I’m tired” in class everyone has to do push-ups so we get stronger.

J: Can you do as many push-ups as your Sensei?

B: I don’t think so, but I keep on trying and keep on working at it. One day I’ll be able to do that many good push-ups.


J: Have you used Dojo Kun number three at the dojo recently?

B: Yes. We played a game where we jumped over the foam bo. Sensei held it low to the ground first, and it was easy to jump over. Every time I jumped over, it got higher. Then it was so high, I didn’t think I could jump over it because I’ve never jumped that high.

J: What did you do?

B: I tried to jump, but I was thinking that I couldn’t do it.

J: You doubted yourself?

B: And I hit the bo and didn’t get over it, and I fell down.

J: Then what?

B: Nobody laughed at me and I was glad, because they’re not supposed to laugh at you in karate. Everybody falls down sometimes.

J: And?

B: I remembered to keep on trying and so I tried to jump again, and I tripped on the bo again, and this time I rolled on the mat when I fell.

J: Good job.

B: That’s what Sensei said, “Good roll.” Then the next time, I thought, “I can do it. I can do it.” And you know what?

J: What?

B: I did it! I jumped over!

J: Nice!


J: Is there another place where it’s important to not give up?

B: At school.

J: Why?

B: You go to school to learn, and you have to listen to the teacher and pay attention. Sometimes that’s hard.

J: You mean sitting down and learning?

B: Yes, and writing words. Mrs. Apple makes us write in our journals. If I didn’t know how to spell a word, I used to just stop and not write anything. Then I got in trouble for not finishing my sentences.

J: Has that changed?

B: Now, I use my Dojo Kun. I remember to not give up. Even if I don’t know how to write a word, I will try to write it, and I will keep on writing until the time is up. Now Mrs. Apple puts happy faces in my journal.

J: Are you willing to talk about Dojo Kun number four next time?

B: We only have two left. No reason to give up now.

J: Well said.

By Jenifer Tull-Gauger

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