From What I Know
The Musings of a Karate Guy
In my opinion, I lump self-defense seminars into the same group as:
- marriage seminars
- parenting seminars
- teaching seminars
- training seminars
- diet/nutrition seminars
Seminars don't work. Sure, they provide a ton of helpful resources and suggestions; practical tips and adjustments are shared, but seminars don't work. All they are, are presentations of material and ideas.
Don't get me wrong. I've been to some amazing seminars for all sorts of topics; and many have been incredibly helpful. Over a decade ago I went to a movement seminar with Michol Dalcourt that to this day informs the way I train/workout. I've been to teaching seminars with the likes of Ned Hallowell and Rick Lavoie, which continue to have a benefit on my classroom teaching and the way I interact with students. Those were GREAT seminars, but the magic was in ME.
No, I'm not going on an ego trip. You just have the realize and understand the phrase "It works if you work it". See, if I would have taken my notes from those seminars and tossed them on my desk, never to look at them again...I would have gained nothing. Rather, I would have lost out on time and money! Those seminars continue to have benefit to me, because I consistently revisit what I learned from those teachers/instructors. I am able to consistently practice an hone the skills that I picked up from them.
And that's why I don't do self-defense seminars. In fact, I think self-defense seminars are downright dangerous. Sure, there's benefit into learning more about conflict resolution, situational awareness, and the basics of escaping or engaging in a fight BUT without regular practice, regular training, those skills you learn over the course of a few hours will not serve you when you need them.
If you don't practice what you learn, the skills just wont "stick"; ESPECIALLY when it comes to situations where you need to defend yourself, or someone else.
Think of it this way. Most people have never been in a fight. You're not going to go from zero to pro in one seminar. You've got to train that part of you!
So...ditch the idea of signing up for a self-defense seminar and instead find yourself a good martial arts academy (I may know a really good one here in the DMV;-) and commit to scheduled, regular training!
No. That’s an easy one to answer AND I don’t even need to know your age. Our approach to Kyokushin karate makes training accessible to men and women of all ages and stages of life. Our conditioning is carefully planned out so that everyone is pushed to another level, regardless of their age as intensity is the usual goal, NOT a set number of repetitions.
In fact, more years under your belt has some tremendous advantages. The first that comes to mind is that you are much more in-tune and aware of your body and moving through space. This is something that, with a few exceptions, only comes with age due to neurological and biological developmental milestones.
Another advantage is that as we get older, our goals become more clearly defined. Want to become a champion fighter? I can definitely help you. Want to just become active and more fit? I can definitely help you. Want to be a part of a team/tribe? I can definitely help you!
One more bonus to beginning your training as an adult is that...well...it’s cheaper than therapy! While I might smile typing that, I am completely serious. The benefits of being part of a community of like-minded people who are all there working toward their goals...you just can’t put a price on the impact that can have. Research shows that regular physical exercise is beneficial for the body AND the mind.
So are you too old? Nope. You’re not.
By the way...the oldest member of our dojo is 70...and he works his ass off every single day. Oh, he also hits like a dump truck.
See you in the dojo.
Short answer; yes, twice.
I distinctly remember both of the conversations and they were tough, but necessary.
Our dojo has a code of conduct (reminder to self, review this with students periodically) which is read and signed during the enrollment process. This list of expectations is all built around the idea of protecting not just each individual student, but our class community as a whole. Protecting the spirit of and community of our group is one of my primary concerns and responsibilities. Without a strong community, learning becomes more difficult that it already is. Without being able to trust your partner(s) it's impossible to embrace the idea of taking a risk.
So yes, in order to protect the community of learning in our dojo, I have asked two students to leave in the last decade, after an unchanged pattern of behavior which which both individuals were unwilling to address from their end.
I get the question all the time. How young do you start [teaching kids in your dojo]? While there have been a couple of exceptions over the years, I generally believe that training can begin at 4 or 5 years old; and here's why:
1. Children at this age have LOADS of energy and, just like a puppy, if that energy isn't channeled, it can become...less than productive.
2. These kids are about to embark on a lot of significant changes; the most significant being starting school. Participating in a regular karate class can serve as an anchor, and provide a sense of security and community during times of change.
3. Karate training doesn't require a screen. Our culture is saturated with screens fighting for the attention of our children. Trust me, as good as winning a video game feels, seeing a student smash through a wooden board...it doesn't come close.
4. It's not a team sport. Sure, in the dojo we are all working on the same things; through the same lesson BUT we are there for different reasons. Some kids (or their parents) are looking for discipline. Others are looking to improve balance and coordination. Still others want to become strong and confident. Karate classes are a great way to address all of those goal; for kids AND adults.