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

Onegaishimasu Parents,

The Keiko TEAM and I, take very seriously the responsibility of helping you develop character in your children. We know that one of the unique and most valuable things we can do here is place your children under stress. The "good" stresses of fear, hardship, boredom and failure.  Like anything worth doing in our lives, the rewards are usually relative to the  amount of effort or dedication it took to get there. In other words, the most rewarding things in life almost always require the hardest work, sacrifice, and dedication. Karate, building discipline, resilience, and character are all great examples…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 even more so when I began to build this dream I call “Keiko Dojo” Little did I know, like many profound lessons we learn in life, we do not fully understand the lesson until much later. This past weekend’s grading and graduations are a good example. We asked our students, and our parents to do something very hard. We asked them to face their fears, take a risk, and push themselves harder than most have ever pushed before!

Karate, and our dojo, provides one of the best environments to develop these essential success skills in your child in a safe and nurturing manner.

Children today do not get nearly enough of each of these "good" stresses mainly due to technology, and parents unknowingly over-protecting their children.  Our gradings, graduations, and monthly stripe testing are designed to do just that, in an intentional, intense, yet 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 are 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 could easily make sure we do not test until everyone is 100% ready.  We could easily set the standard so that everyone passes.  Instead 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! (By the way, our beginners are graded on attitude and effort, while at the more senior belts we turn up the pressure incrementally by emphasizing a little more on technique and performance.) I can assure you though, respect, grit, attitude and effort are still the number 1 test.

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 each of their students 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. Our Keiko Team mantra….”Preparing the child for the road ahead not the road for the child”

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 we mentioned this past weekend, you can’t become physically strong before your develop mental toughness, and I believe our children need more of the good stresses; struggle hardship, boredom, 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.  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.

Often the half stripe can be 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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