Oxford Languages defines and organization as, “an organized body of people with a particular purpose, especially a business, society, association, etc.” There are also many charitable organizations, or charities. So from that, we know that many different organizations can have many different purposes. They can have a beautiful, dedicated fancy facility, or a cheap and humble gathering place. An organization’s locations can change regularly, or they can have no gathering place at all, and operate virtually online. But they all have one thing in common. And that is, the people are the strength of an organization.
Our dojo is and always has been a very special type of organization. It is a business that exists to help and inspire people. It proactively helps people learn to protect themselves and others. It inspires people to attain goals and improve themselves, in a positive way.
Over the last couple of decades I have been a part of this organization, and witnessed many changes of location. When I first joined, it had a dedicated retail space. Since then it has made its home in the aerobics room of a gym, a community center, various dance studio spaces, another retail space, a commercial suite, a backyard, and a park. The location makes no difference to an organization’s strength; people are the strength of an organization.
My First Lesson in People being the Strength of an Organization
It saddened me when our dojo moved from the dedicated retail suite into sharing an aerobics room in the early 2000s. I likened it to moving from a single family home into an apartment. But that was my first lesson that an organization first and foremost is a group of people. It doesn’t need to make a difference where said people gather.
Since then, I have had the lesson ingrained in me over and over. Not only is an organization first and foremost a group of people, but people are the strength of an organization. We have had dojo students and families donate time, money and other resources which they saw were needed. That always strengthens our ability to serve our purpose.
Students have Proven that People are the Strength of an Organization
One adult student had a newer, nice car which she adored. We held a carwash fundraiser to help our students (mostly youth) travel to test at Karate Summer Camp. When that adult student heard about the carwash, she said, “I’ll pay you not to wash my car.” And she made a nice donation to the cause. That is a good example of someone providing their personal strength to an organization.
Many people in her shoes would have thought, I don’t want kids washing my beautiful car’s paint job. And that would end their fundraiser interest. But she focused on the big picture of the dojo facilitating the students’ testing at camp. Even though she didn’t want to participate as invited, (she didn’t want her car getting an amateur wash) she figured out how to lend her strength and she followed through on it. Thus, she helped the students get to their black belt test, furthering their abilities and knowledge. And that in turn helped our whole dojo organization become stronger.
One of our oldest students always lent his strength by signing up for our various dojo events such as demos and fundraisers. He knew that the demos helped promote traditional karate locally. He also gave moral support, commenting on and encouraging my blogs and newsletter articles. Additionally, when we recited the Guiding Principles in class, he would conscientiously say them loudly, clearly, and slowly. He knew that the main purpose of reciting the principles was so that young ranks could learn them. And he lent his strength to support the organization (and the teacher) in that endeavor.
An organization can pride itself in its regulations. They often have rules that are followed either strictly or more as suggestions. Some have wonderful, elaborate locations to use and take responsibility for. Some have great leadership. Others get mired down in politics. But regardless of any of that, people are the strength of every organization. Even though one person can make a difference to any group, every group is much bigger than just one person. And every organization would do well to appreciate and take care of its people, and to support its strongest asset.
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