by Jenifer Tull-Gauger

Traditional martial arts can have a huge positive life-impact on a growing child.  It can do the same for a full-grown adult.  The longer a person is actively involved in traditional karate, the more they will develop confidence, perseverance, respect (for self and others), discipline, good moral character, positive attitude, strength, agility, fitness, and life protection skills.  It doesn’t stop there; the learning and benefits can expand to many more areas like teamwork, support and commitment, just to name a few.

As martial artists (and their families) go through different stages, it can at times be difficult for students to continue in their training.  But later in their lives, those who did not quit or take a break are so glad they didn’t.

I’d like to share the knowledge so students can benefit from my own training and experience at East Valley Martial Arts – Kenshin Kan.  This is also based on what I have learned from the experiences of others.  Here are some things that can empower you &/or your karate kids:

Trust is a Must: Trust your head instructors with your training.  There must be a large degree of trust in a relationship between karate teacher and student.  It develops over time.  You should not be second-guessing your teacher.

Walk the Line: We have been given many time-tested rules and policies.  Others were developed in-house based on experience, practicality, and input.  Know & follow your dojo rules, policies and etiquette.  This makes it easier on you and everyone at the dojo.

Work Hard: Do your best in class & attend classes regularly.   Average at least two empty-hand karate classes per week.

Play Hard: Attend fun events with your dojo family & friends (at least several a year).  Swim parties, potlucks and fun nights are important for making connections and making your training more meaningful.  Join in and get to know your dojo family outside of classes.

Support your Dojo: Doing the above supports your dojo, so does helping with A-frame signs, recommending classes to potential students, purchasing retail from your dojo, helping with cleaning, and volunteering where you see help is needed.

Vary your Experience: Challenge yourself & use your karate skills in different areas.  This could be a demonstration, tournament, special seminar or camp, etc.  (Talk to a head instructor before going to another dojo.  We are happy to give advice or insight on martial arts events.)

Ask: Communicate.  Ask high ranks to help you review material before or after classes.  If you give the teacher a request before class, we’ll do our best to work it in.

Sakagawa Was Onto Something: He wrote the Dojo Kun so his students could put their karate lessons into use every day.  Use the Dojo Kun values in your every day life.  It will help you to improve many different areas of your life.

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