So often the beginning of the year sparks within us an urgency to take a step toward a better tomorrow. Some will make resolutions, others will just start a new journey; in either case, the goals we set now will determine what our life will become later.
Karate is a unique vehicle to apply to this method of goal setting. Within the karate system is a complete fabric of goals, comprehensive approaches, and detailed learning to get us off on the right foot. Your karate training comes complete with instructors that are not only knowledgeable about the path you're taking, but also care deeply about you and your success toward the goals you have set.
Learning karate isn't just about fighting skills. Karate is meant to be a journey toward self-improvement over time. It's about accepting that although we may not know how to do karate right now, or physically be strong enough to achieve the end goal at this moment in time we can dedicate ourselves to the pursuit of that very honorable goal. Learning is the oldest endeavor, and it all starts with your first class.
Respect, honor, self-discipline, and strength of body and mind all fold into the equation. When combined with the right guidance a person learns that they can achieve much more than they originally thought, they can strengthen their mind and body to overcome challenges and adversity, and they can learn to grow as a result of failures as well as success. The karate journey can encompass all of this and more, for those who are willing to take the step and trust that their sensei can get them to their goals if they are willing to work hard to achieve it.
Children can especially benefit from karate because within the martial arts system is a built in goal ladder, known as the ranking system. This 10 step belt system teaches children that although they might have set a large goal (black belt) achieving it means breaking that goal down into smaller more manageable pieces. Children gain confidence as they progress through the belts, and they gain proficiency as well.
One of the most admirable parts of the karate journey is that your sensei has been exactly where you are now. They know what it feels like to be a beginner, yet they also know how good it feels to accomplish the goals that karate will set forth, and they have a unique knowledge of what it takes to get there. That's why karate is such a great endeavor for children as well as adults.
Martial artists have the added benefit of joining an instructor team, or a competitive team to help enhance the journey with additional benefits and challenges; and martial arts can be (and should be) done year-round rather than as a seasonal sport. It truly is the all-encompassing vehicle for helping a person improve their mental and physical well-being.
If you're currently on your journey in karate, keep up the great work because you are strengthening your body and mind for overall better health, stress reduction, mental acuity and focus, and achieving admirable goals; as well as making great lasting friendships along the way. If you haven't yet taken that step, there's no better time than now; when the world is all in agreement that now is a great time to learn something new, to improve something in our lives, or to strengthen ourselves for a better future.
~Sensei Jen Davenport