The common sentiment is that 2019 is a year that most would rather forget. To say that there have been challenges would be, literally, the understatement of the decade.
As a dojo, we've grown in so many ways. From a numbers perspective, I've been encouraged by how many parents have sought out training for their children. Honestly, as a dad, I smile after every training session with our Kids Kyokushin class as the youngest students embrace the challenges of our practice together.
For our Teen Kyokushin class, I continue to be impressed by the fact the the first class of each month is one of our best attended on a regular basis. This inspires me because it's the first class of the month where we have our 7 Minutes of Burpees Challenge. Think of it...one of the more physically demanding classes of the month has the highest attendance. Again, as a dad, this brings me so much joy to see teenagers embracing physical, mental, and spiritual challenges.
As a dojo, 2019 saw a significant change as we transitioned from the Phoenix Karate-do Association to Kyokushin-kan. This change, though difficult, has brought such a rich challenge to all of us as we seek to fully embrace the traditional, budo teachings of Kyokushin karate. With that said, all of our classes (but our adult class especially) has embraced the weapons training, the prescribed kata bunkai, the formalities, and the Kan philosophy in general.
Promoting students to new ranks, attending seminars with Kancho Royama (Kyokushin-kan), Kancho Soller (Phoenix Karate-do), and Shihan Satoshi (a dormitory instructor for Oyama's Young Lions) were awesome training highlights for me, but the real joy...I've already hinted at. The real highlights were the day in and day out challenges that students overcame. The real blessing, as an instructor, was watching boys and girls; men and women come in regularly knowing that whatever the class had in store, it was going to be a challenge.
2019 was a challenge...no doubt! However, the amount of growth that we've experienced from the challenge has been well worth it. Cannot wait to see what 2020 has in store for Forge Dojo!