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“Karate is hard . . . that is why it is so good.”

Hello Parents,

Like anything worth doing in our lives the rewards are almost always relative to the amount of effort and dedication it took to earn it. In other words the most rewarding things in life almost always require the hardest work, sacrifice, and dedication.

There is no such thing as a free lunch…You want the rewards….be prepared to do the work!!!

I really did not understand the significance of this statement until many many years after my schooling when I started training in karate, then ultimately when I began to build this dream I call “Keiko Dojo” Little did I know……Karate, growing a successful business, learning discipline, and building resilience, and character are all some of the most difficult things we will ever do...But very worthwhile!

Like many profound lessons we learn in life we do not fully understand the lesson until much later.

This week's testing, and this past weekend’s grading and graduations of our students are a good example. We asked our instructors, our students, and our parents to do something very hard.

For our instructors:

I know that one of the unique and valuable things we can do here is place your children under stress. The good stresses of fear, hardship, boredom and failure. Children today do not get nearly enough of each of these mainly due to technology and parents unknowingly over-protecting their children. We can create this stress in an intentional, intense but safe manner. Courage cannot be developed without the presence of fear. Likewise character, grit and hard work cannot be developed without hardship, boredom and failure.

One of the many powerful tools we have in our hands is the belt stripe testing, and on a higher level our graduations and gradings. We could do this the easy way by spending a lot of time making sure every student has plenty of time and attention. We purposely create good pressure and stress on the students by putting them on the spot in a very controlled and intense situation…. But that is life. Life rarely tests you when you are ready!

So why is this hard on our instructors? Each of our instructors genuinely wants your child to succeed, however, they realize some of the best lessons in life are the hardest ones, and the ones that create a little short term pain. They genuinely care for your child, and have a soft a spot in their hearts. In this day of “everyone gets a medal for showing up” we, realize this doesn’t do your child or you any service.

For our students:

Is this tough on our students? Yes! But I wish I could make it even harder. It might be tough to see a student shed a tear and hold back crying but we know the more emotional an experience we can create the stronger the lesson. I have seen many a child hold themselves together then totally lose it when they get to their car. Is this hard? Just know that the harder they cry the better it is for them. Like I told everyone this past weekend mental toughness is far superior to physical toughness, and I believe our children need more struggle hardship and failure to build discipline resilience, courage and grit.

Parents may I suggest you use this as a talking point with your child on the drive home. When something gets really hard or you fail, people will generally have one of two reactions. One is where they get crushed and shutdown. Often you will see them revert to making excuses and blaming. They also become jealous of others success. The other reaction some have is to be driven even harder by the failure. They get knocked down then immediately get up wanting to prove us wrong. They are the ones who say “Bring it on” and want more. They will say “I want to re-test right now!” So, which one are you? Which one is your child? This belt stripe test and our gradings, and graduations, are a safe environment for your child to test themselves, so you can answer this question, then decide which person you and they will be!

For our parents:

I save our parents for last because this may well be the hardest on you. I take the responsibility of helping our parents develop character in their children very seriously. No parent wants to see their child fail. No parent wants to see their child hurt and crying. We know many of you have really good, high performing kids. They walk on water. You are not used to seeing your kids do anything other than succeeding and excelling at everything. If this is the case, the more your child needs to experience hardship and failure. Just change your perspective a little so you can help them. “Hardship and failure is good. Every time your child encounters it and powers through it they get stronger!”.

Definitely do not make excuses for them or help them blame their failure on something or someone. You do not need to rescue them. Let them feel and learn from the failure. The pain is good…It is an excellent teacher! Embrace the failure and they will too. I know this is hard for you. Often the half stripe is harder on the parent than the child.

Have an amazing week


Keiko Karate – “Actually we do make Ninjas and Superheroes here………………we turn kids into Ninjas and we turn their parents into their superheroes!”


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