A short and simple feedback will do

One of the most common things I hear from parents in the dojo is that they don`t really know if their child is making true progress. And because of this, many get disappointed, anxious, and even frustrated. This is perfectly understandable if we take into account that most parents are not karatekas and that in many cases the parents cannot stay to watch their child during the class.

How-To-Build-A-Solid-Parent-Teacher-RelationshipThe question is: what can we do? The answer is pretty simple, inform the parents periodically of their child`s progress, strengths and weaknesses, just as a regular school does. That`s it.

I´m a firm believer that the feedback in Karate is generally too slow. A parent’s key performance indicators (KPI) is the belt test and a competition. The time between belts varies from style to style, but in most cases is between 3 to 9 months. This is way too long!

Now, I`m not saying that we should speed up the tests or competitions, I`m just saying that communicating with the parents is fundamental for a child`s education. The Instructor can be many things, but one of them is definitely not a magician. If a child is not behaving properly, or has a special condition, or maybe even has a low self esteem, these things should be addressed beyond the dojo, and the only way we can achieve that is by working as a team with the parents.

Parents are used to this system because schools generally work this way. That means that this is the bar we should be comparing ourselves with. A short and simple feedback will have a huge impact in the service that is being provided, and in the long run it will add a very strong value to the dojo.

Whenever you start hearing from a mother or father that their child is not participating in an activity because they were not aware of it or the information was sent too late, then that raises a red flag. A dojo needs happy parents, because a happy parent will participate more actively in their child`s martial arts education.

This type of customer service is not seen often in martials arts schools, so differentiate yourself. Dare to give a better service by improving the feedback!

Is anything a point now in Kumite?

It is often said that competition Kumite in recent years has distorted the true core of the martial art. In other words, we often see techniques that are far from being well executed but they are fast and on target, and hence effective in the point system. This fact proposes a very interesting question, in competition which is more important: to reach the target regardless of the trajectory of the technique, or is the trajectory as important as reaching the target itself.

This is a complex and tricky question, because when you think about it, by weighing the trajectory vs the target, we´re leaving out very important issues on the judgement system. However, many competitors and referees think this way, it doesn´t matter how well or bad you kick or punch, if it’s on target, then it’s a point.

escorpion

I disagree with that statement. I truly believe to my core that with that mindset, the kumite we´ll see in competition in ten years is going to be a soulless karate, in other words and to make a more graphic example, it will be like eating without being able to flavor anything.

I have often said that I´ve been lucky to train with many great instructors. But when that great instructor writes something you should pay special attention because that doesn´t happen often.  So this time I want to share a concept that of the Japanese Archery called Yaiki. I first came around this word in 2011 in Tokyo, but just recently my Sensei Hitoshi Kasuya wrote about it and it´s worth reading it. It illustrates and adds to the discussion. This word basically summarizes the entire point.

 

There is a word “YAIKI” in Japanese Archery. It means the moment of arrows. Even if an arrow hits the target, we can see if the way of hitting it is bad or not. You might think that if the arrow hits the target, the way of hitting is not so important. However, if the arrow has bad “YAIKI , the arrow can hit the target, but cannot go through an armour or board.

This can be applied to the techniques of KARATE. First class Karate Player’s techniques make people shudder by their speed, power, and control. Immature players can play with speed, but lack something.  Though they might get points, not to improve their techniques with thorough going practices. This is same as bad YAIKI, which lacks something essential in martial arts.
In sports, getting points tends to be considered important. Actually, many Karate instructors teach players how to “win” the match. However, although Karate has an aspect of Sports, It is yet based on the concept of BUDO, martial arts.

Karate is not about winning, the way of winning and the process of challenging a match is most important. In this process, players learn many things, not only technique but also mental toughness. Doping issues and illegal acts by judges and players in Olympic games are a warped aspect of the doctrine of winning.

Sottaku Doji: What it means and how it relates to education within the Dojo.

The literal translation of this expression is: “Simultaneous pecking from the inside out”. It refers to the action that occurs between the chick that is about to be born and its mother, so that together they can break the shell of the egg.
When this action occurs simultaneously, something special happens, the chick opens its eyes to the world. However, if the mother decides to break the egg prematurely, the chick will basically die. And on the other hand, the chick will never be able to get out by itself just for more pecks that he tries.
This analogy also occurs in Karate or in any martial art. A few years ago my Master Hitoshi Kasuya at a seminar in Tokyo told us about this expression and its relationship in the dojo.

 

A student may be very keen to learn something specific, for example a technique for kumite or a jump from a kata, but if his Sensei does not identify that need or does not dedicate quality of time, then the student will not be able to advance technically.

It also happens that a Sensei can have all the disposition, time and desire to teach, but if his student does not pay attention to him, if he is not conscious at that moment, then neither will the student be able to improve and deepen his technique.

That’s why the moment of Sottaku Doji inside the Dojo is so special. When that moment occurs, when the student’s thirst to learn equals the Instructor’s willingness to teach, then there are no limits to what both can achieve.
Now, if we go to the dynamics of a class in a traditional dojo, we can realize that reaching or identifying this level of synergy between student-Instructor is complex, among other things because of the number of simultaneous students that are

in the class. That is why it is always advisable, regardless of the number of students you have, to take the time to listen to each one. Evaluate it separately, identify the real need of each person.
Only then can we give as Instructors that key advice or correction that will change the direction of our student.

Welcome!

DojoFi is a place to experience Karate beyond the Dojo. Is a way to live your passion with a 360° view.

Dojo = place where one embarks in search of the way

Fi = faithful/loyalty in Latin.

My name is Tomas Hernandez and I´m from Venezuela. I started practicing Karate when I was 3 years old, and now, 30 years later, my motivation is proportional to my many questions. I´m a 4th Dan (4th Degree Black Belt) of the World Shotokan Karate – Do Federation (WSKF), a telecommunications engineer and I have a master’s degree in political science with a specialization in communications.

My mission is professionalize Karate on and off the tatami with a holistic view of the martial art. I´m going to take my experience as an Instructor, Competitor, Entrepreneur and Engineer and share that information with all my readers.

I truly believe that content is vital in the digital age, hence what you´re going to read here is:

  • High performance physical and technical training
  • Mind Training
  • Dojo Management
  • Education for children
  • Budo and philosophy of Karate Do

 

With all that said, it´s time to get to work.  Thank you and enjoy!

PS: I´m going to be writing both in English and Spanish.