I'm a karate nerd...always looking for ways to improve in my own training and in the way that I teach others. In my reading the other day, I came across an interesting article from karatebyjesse.com. In his recent post, he gave a list of "59 Signs Your Dojo is Awesome". I've narrowed his list down to an essential 44 signs. Take a look and give me your feedback. Does one jump out at you as a "YES! That's us!" Leave a comment or send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org!
1. The sensei actively trains - every day.
2. You always leave class feeling a sense of joy, exhaustion and accomplishment.
3. Students don’t compete with each other – they empower each other.
4. The sensei puts your health before his wealth.
5. Traditional concepts/ideas are blended with modern training methods.
6. The students are humble and willing to learn.
7. The sensei is humble and willing to teach.
8. You are not just “another student”. You have a name, and you are seen.
9. You are judged not only on your technique or physique, but also on your spirit, grit, attitude and character.
10. Male, female and all other genders allowed. No machismo exists.
11. Kids classes exist, but it’s not a kindergarten. The kids are well-disciplined and hard working in a way that’s beyond their years.
12. The purpose of each exercise is clearly understood by everyone. Nothing is done because “that’s the way we’ve always done it”.
13. You regularly use training gear like kicking shields, focus pads, boxing bags or makiwara for impact training. Not just punching and kicking in the air.
14. Strength training is always included, in some form.
15. Mobility training is always included, in some form.
16. Flexibility training is always included, in some form.
17. It doesn’t matter if you practice Karate for health, self-defense or sport. Everyone’s reason for practicing is equally valid.
18. The sensei teaches you what you need. Not what you want.
19. The sensei never screams to instill discipline.
20. Training is hard, but everyone smiles – because they enjoy it.
21. The sensei inspires students through being a living example and embodying his teachings 110% – not only in the dojo, but also in his everyday life.
22. The sensei may very well be a “she”.
23. Your belt level isn’t as important as your effort level.
24. Questioning is highly encouraged…but everyone knows when to shut up and train.
25. Training is in accordance with nature. (Both Mother Nature and your nature.)
26. Respect is shown to sensei and other students, and it’s always mutual.
27. Wooden floor is a good thing, not a bad thing.
28. Mistakes are proof that you’re trying.
29. Quality over quantity. Depth over breadth.
30. Creativity and open-mindedness is encouraged.
31. You always sweat, cry or bleed. Sometimes all three.
32. Failing is OK. Giving up is NOT.
33. Age is just a number. 20-year-olds are as welcome as 50-year-olds.
34. The sensei wants his students to become better than him.
35. The explanations of techniques are always based on universal principles (i.e. biomechanical or combative principles), not random opinions.
36. You are taught the complete history, culture and philosophy of Karate – not just its technical aspects.
37. If you’re sick or injured, the sensei tells you to recover – not “go harder”.
38. The atmosphere is welcoming.
39. You’re not in the dojo to prove something, but to improve something.
40. Mental training and visualization is practiced.
41. You don’t only learn lessons for the dojo, but lessons for life.
42. You can quit whenever you want. No contracts or pre-payments.
43. The sensei gives everyone equal attention, not just the talents.
44. Students are friends outside of the dojo too.