Last night was the first class of the New Year for our dojo. I always like to say something inspirational to the students. So one of the things I said last night was the following:
"If you like Karate, good. We (the instructors) will try our very best to teach you. However, if you do not like Karate, you should quit and find what it is that you really like to do. Life is too short to do things that make you unhappy. Also, if you do not like Karate, you should make room for people who do."OK, maybe this was not the most inspirational thing to say, but I am just trying to keep it real. You cannot become skilled at Karate by practicing half-heartedly. It takes real commitment.
We have students who really enjoy Karate. It is a joy to teach them. I am not suggesting that every student who enjoys Karate is physically gifted or in the best shape. That does not matter -- a student who enjoys Karate is a joy to teach. But even an Olympic athlete who does not like Karate would be a pain to teach.
Life really is short. If you are doing Karate and do not enjoy it, you could be doing something else that might make you really happy and help to define you. You might be a great artist or writer or something. Most of us who practice Karate for decades really enjoy it. Why else do it... to punish ourselves?
Well, that is interesting. If you think that people are basically bad, then training to punish yourself does make some sense. I do not happen to think this way. I do not think that Karate training should be a punishment at all, and try my best to teach in a way that is enjoyable and challenging.
If you really enjoy Karate, love Karate, then you will be able to move mountains in order to train. If, on the other hand, you do not love Karate, then no amount of urging will help. Students should not practice because they are forced to do so (or because of shame/guilt).
Find what you enjoy doing (provided it is worthwhile) and do it.
And for my students, welcome back to class in 2010! Let's all train our very best and help each other to become more skilled this year! Let's enjoy training together!
Charles C. Goodin