Happy Constitution Day!

Yes, September 17th is Constitution Day. I kept meaning to mention it at some point today (during spirit training or at the potluck) but it slipped my mind. So I’ll mention it here.

We are all blessed to live in a land where there is still relative freedom. I mean relative to the rest of the world. We can easily forget that we are unique in the world for the liberty we have – to pursue what we want to pursue; to live where we want to live; to read what we want to read. These are basic freedoms we should not take for granted.

As long as we adhere to the Constitution of the United States (which granted, our country has not always done) we can count on rule of law to ensure our liberty.

So what does this have to do with karate?

I believe we are all better off when we know exactly what to expect – when we know what the rules are – when there ARE rules.

Some may get very frustrated at the minute details of Okinawan Goju Ryu kata. Just like the rules of law in our state and country – the “rules” or details are there for a reason. Every particular movement or detail is teaching us something specific about what to do in a self defense situation.

Rules in the dojo and rules in tournaments are there to keep everyone safe.

Yes, we train in karate to be able to defend ourselves if necessary.

But the truth is, that each and every one of us would far rather have every person we meet following rules that would keep us safe so that we would not be required to defend ourselves. And we all benefit from a constitution that guarantees our liberty to pursue our passion and purpose in life.

Have you read the Constitution lately? It is really fairly short – I encourage you to do so and find out exactly what’s in there!

I am blessed

I am blessed to be part of the Warriors of Grace Karate family! Thank you all!

What an awesome Warrior Week we had and it was topped off with a great potluck!!

Thank you to all those who graded this week and gave it their all!

Thank you to all who showed up for their shiai and had super good attitudes! Really, everyone was just fantastic at all the shiai this week.

And thank you so much for all the wonderful food and friendship today at the potluck!

For those who weren’t able to join us today, we really hope you’ll be able to join us in the future. It will be a different focus every time, but we will endeavor to always make it fun and worthwhile.

Today we let the parents get a feel for how challenging karate is. Each student got to teach their parent karate! Then we watched as all the students gave a demonstration together. Gradually students sat down as the kata advanced beyond their level. We feel it is always good for all the students to see where they are headed.

Then we went back to the traditional way of beginning to train in karate and demonstrated hojo undo (supplemental training with weighted implements) and Sanchin kata. Sanchin means three battles and the three battles can be interpreted in different ways.  Mind, body, spirit:  mind, breath and muscles are all united in complete focus. There is the internal armor that is being developed as well as the external power that can be used as a weapon, while complete self-control is also being developed. This kata is practiced for a lifetime without achieving perfection.  Because of its more internal, focused nature, there is much opportunity for personal growth while practicing Sanchin.  Because all kata can always be improved and no one achieves perfection, there is great opportunity to learn humility in karate.

In years past you would train for a year with only hojo undo and Sanchin to develop all the muscles, both internal and external, large and small, to be ready for karate. This period of intense training would also prove whether a student had the character required to continue to learn the highly effective self-defense skills that are in karate.

Karate does require persistence, endurance, grit; whatever you want to call it. That is why we emphasize that this is not an “activity” to choose amongst many other activities. Karate is a life changing practice which supports all other activities. It’s main goal is to develop people of character. We want you to understand that when the karate student does not want to go to karate, that is an OPPORTUNITY!  It is an opportunity to push through and do something you didn’t want to do, but afterwards are really glad you did! For children, especially, they need to experience overcoming their own impulse to quit or give up. That’s why the saying “A black belt is a white belt who never gave up” is so true and instructive. It has nothing to do with personal gifts, talents, or capability. Anyone who perseveres can succeed.

As a teaser to those who weren’t able to join us this time – be sure to come on time next time (noon) for a game that we will repeat.  THANK YOU to everyone who came on time!!!! This was truly the best turnout yet!!

There will be other games next time as well! In fact, mark your calendars now: Saturday, December 10 will be the next potluck!

(Adult Spirit Training and the potluck with kick off Warrior Week in December – Warrior Week will be December 10 – 16.)

Happy New Year!

Say what??

This week we are continuing with our theme of “I Love School!” as the kids are still in the start of the new school year!

Black belts finish strong, but they start even stronger!

Is there anything standing in the way of your being at the top of your game right now? Have you started school with the best attitude and highest effort you can? There is NOTHING in your life right now as important as school. School is the first “life test” you have. You succeed in school, you will succeed in everything else you choose!

For the adults out there – Labor Day marks the end of the summer and while it’s not officially a new year we often treat it as if it is. Even when you don’t have kids in school to remind you of the school year calendar, we often get ready to buckle down and work hard after the long summer of trying squeeze in extra time to do fun things outside. Even outside of the work force, we often feel it’s time to turn to indoor projects around the house. So wherever you are in your life right now, chances are there is an opportunity to start strong!

So much of whether we “start strong” or “stay strong” or “finish strong” has everything to do with the habits we have. You can start new habits any day – or every day! Even if you have to restart  30 times – keep trying. Once it’s a habit you won’t have to think about it again!

For the kids we ask the following: Are you getting enough sleep? Do you have a set time to do your homework (or read each day if you don’t have homework)? Are you in the habit of sitting up straight, with your eyes on the teacher when he/she is talking? Are you a good listener in school and then DO what your teacher asks you to do……..and do it FAST and with a GOOD ATTITUDE?

For the adults: I’m sure you can come up with the best place for YOU to start! Start the “new year” strong!