Why Karate isn't just a sport:
Why are we Martial Artists?
How often do you reflect on WHY you train in martial arts? How many times have you heard people refer to it as just a sport - like gymnastics or soccer or hockey? Well, those who train in martial arts for any amount of time know that it's different, but do we consider how?
The nice thing about martial arts, unlike a team activity, is that you're not trying to keep up with anybody else. You move through each level at your own pace. Martial arts provides a tremendous amount of success, skill and ability to each student on an incremental basis. Every student is an individual and has distinct needs and talents.
But most importantly, we all need to appreciate that our dojo is a school, rather than a recreational activity. It's an important distinction. Just as if you enrolled in Harvard, you're not going to be deciding from semester to semester, whether you're going to follow-through and actually graduate. In a martial arts school, graduation is black belt and beyond.
MasterShintani and Shihan Reid
A black belt is more than competency at a set of skills. It’s a metaphor for the results of your training. The end result is confidence, respect, discipline and ultimate focus. The outcome is a high level of physical athletic skill, a high level of physical fitness, as well as having the ability to defend yourself against attackers should the need ever arise. The outcome is also a successful, goal-oriented person with authority who will "never give up" at anything they do. Black belts are respected as leaders in the community, at school, at home and in the workplace.
So, the next time you think of your martial arts training as a workout - keep in mind that in truth, it is a lifetime training of your body, mind and spirit that will give back to you more and more every year....
In martial arts, there's a curriculum that unfolds. It's a developmental process. There's a high level of physical, emotional and mental accomplishment that comes with it, but that accomplishment comes over a period of time. It's not all of a sudden, or overnight. It takes time to develop such a high skill level - mentally and physically.
As parents, we appreciate that every time our child is in class, they have a lot of fun while learning priceless life skills. As an adult, every time you're at the dojo, you have a lot of fun and feel GREAT after each and every class.
Master Shintani displaying strength