By Jenifer Tull-Gauger Renshi

My blogs and newsletter articles often cover the importance of attending class regularly and the etiquette to use when attending.  Let’s take that a step further.  I recently learned how helpful a pre-class routine can be.

Putting specific habits to use before you even leave for the dojo is particularly useful for karate parents and kids and for us time-challenged individuals.  The gem of knowledge about a pre-class routine can help any student of any age.

The purpose of the pre-class routine is to prepare mentally and physically for karate class, while also supporting the aim of timely arrival.  In the past, I have figured something like: I need to be at the dojo by 5:45, so I need to be out the door by 5:15 at the latest.  If kids were going with me, I’d tell them at 5:10 that we had to leave in five minutes.  But a good pre-class routine will take into account that we need to make sure we are nourishing our bodies with energy and hydration, using the restroom, and before any of that, allowing us (and our kids) to finish up whatever we were doing.

Parents may think that when children play they can finish on the drop of a dime.  But play is important to kids.  Allowing them time—say 15 minutes—to finish what they were doing, before getting ready for karate, makes the transition from one activity to another much smoother and easier.

Something like a 30-minute buffer for a pre-class routine allows us to finish our activity, have a light snack and/or drink, use the restroom, change, and be ready to go on time.  We are all coming from different activities such as work or dinner, and this routine can be amended as needed.  But pre-planning to allow time for wrapping up the former project and being ready for the dojo both physically and mentally, will allow the trip to the dojo to be easier and more enjoyable.

Play is important to kids.

Play is important to kids.

Here is a great resource on the family routine.