After the first rule of "be there" has slowly sunk in, a more palatable rule comes next...
Rule number 2. Have Fun.
What? Have fun? Karate isn't about having fun. It's about discipline and kicking someone's behind should one really really have to.
I don't see it. If I never had fun during lessons and teaching lessons I know I would have given in a long long time ago. Truth is, having fun is a fundamental part of sticking at something for long periods of time. A lot depends on your attitude towards "fun".
A lot of enjoyment is found in making progress. It's fun to work your way through a system and to achieve a standing within a group. That's what the coloured belt system is about. You have a grade within the class to show where you are within a given system. It's fun to get a higher ranking and it's fun teaching you, and watching you make progress.
Fulfillment can come from helping others. I was told a long time ago that helping others always makes you better. A good black belt is always ready to help out. Often students become black belts way before they grade for it, because they understand this concept. Helping others is fun, it makes us good people.
"The ultimate aim of karate lies not in victory or defeat, but in the perfection of the character of its participants" - Gichin Funakoshi.
Every kata you perform releases lovely happy endorphins into the body. Natural chemicals to make you feel alive. Every sweaty second in the dojo provides gorgeous amounts of stress release. Even the act of movement can be related to joy. I have never met a kid that didn't want to move around, usually I'm telling them not to spin around etc., but it is what it is. People like to move. They like to have fun.
Sometimes doing the same thing over and over can get tiresome. It is however, necessary to complete the same move 000's of times to develop the muscle memory needed to creates skills. During this journey, fun is often overlooked. Fun should be in my rules of business. And it is.
I was told once that if you don't tap out, feel the burn or feel drained at least once in every lesson then you are in the wrong lesson. I believe that. I'd also add that if you don't laugh out loud, feel proud of your achievements or make someone else feel good about themselves (make them laugh too), then you are also in the wrong lesson.
Here's my objective in karate....have fun, make progress and become a better person. Easy peasy.
For a while now I’ve been saying “be there”. It’s my first rule of business.
I picked up this idea from a customer service video that was popular in the 90’s called the “fish philosophy”. It looks a little dated now but the idea stuck with me.
I have had real tough issues at work over the past 10 years and this is one thing that has really helped me. “Be there” is much more than simply turning up. It’s a mental thing as well as physical.
Just before your instructor says “Hajime” you better “be there”. So it’s not just you, it’s your thoughts and your recent practice that you bring to the show. If you perform well, great, carry on. If not, then something is missing.
If you’re doing well, you are ticking these boxes.
That’s all there is to it. I want everyone to do well. So everyone please make sure you’re doing this.
Turn up, concentrate, understand and practice. You cannot fail as long as you follow these rules.
Always Be There……
The other Fish Philosophy rules are Have Fun, Choose Your Attitude and Make My Day. Which I’ll cover in some future Blogydoodahs.