Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Magic Attitude in Martial Arts

As a karate instructor, I can tell you we spend a lot of time in confrontation that can not be avoided, without remembering who you are and what you do.

1) Confrontation with Expectations; One of the hardest things to teach a martial arts student is to wait.  Waiting is against our nature and especially in the modern world; no time seems better than now.  You have to have Self Respect before you can respect others, including the traditions and processes of the martial arts.  So we are constantly in confrontation with a student or their family, over expectations.  They want it now, but if they had self respect, they would want it when they are ready.  When they are ready is obvious once you are a black belt.  Excepting that is the Key to the doorway of black belt.

2) Confrontation with Customers: In the modern world, our students are not just our students but they are also our customers.  Many of those I know in the art have picked sides.  Some refuse to admit that if they are being paid, in money or some other method, they have customers.  Some laugh at those who maintain tradition because they look down at them for refusing to admit they are a business, and business is business.  We have discovered that customers are not a bad thing, they just make us feel bad at times.  We have also discovered that the voiced complaint, right or wrong, can be addressed.  The un-addressed complaint ends in a student training somewhere else, and as we all know, the majority of the time that leads to not training at all. So even complaints from customers are a good thing.

3) Confrontation with Purpose: At times, we argue with each other about what is right in the martial arts.  Is it art or is it martial.  Again many come down on one side or the other.  I have been fortunate in that my first two instructors were artist in traditional arts and at the same time lived in the real world.  One was a state police officer and the other owned a bar. I have been raised to see both sides of the issue.  Even so, when I train under an ideologue on one side or the other, I have learned something I have never known before.  It's all good, if humility can guide you.

So this is the point.  As I heard in a movie about baseball a long time ago, "We Get to Do Karate."  Everyday.  We improve ourselves.  We improve our students and their families.  We make a difference and change the world around us.  Every day.

We are Karate Instructors and we get to teach. Be Thankful for that.

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